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Admissions Essay Peer Review

Page history last edited by Russell 9 years, 8 months ago

Admissions Essay Peer Review Guide


YOU NEED: A pen/pencil, notebook paper, and your own admissions essay

FIRST: Number the lines on your admissions essay in the left margin. Start at one and go until you finish.


READING ONE – Reading for overall structure and flow








Mark probs with **

Engages me right away, leads me comfortably into the body and I am eager to read on

I follow the opening easily into the body of the episode you’re telling; no probs, but not compelling

The opening does not engage me fully – something’s not working



Mark probs with <>

I feel I can totally relate to your story, and am affected by your writing; the episode sounds honest and style sounds like you, but formal

I relate, and feel you are writing with honesty, while sometimes you seem to try too hard to be “fancy”

Either it’s trying too hard to tell of a person or episode and misses out on you OR there’s no strong “voice” of you behind the writing – it’s bland


Mark probs with {}

Flows smoothly with good pacing; I know just what you’re trying to say, and you say it

Flows smoothly, but some places I have to slow down to “get it”; I have to re-read or slow down b/c it’s choppy

I have trouble b/c the writing does not flow naturally; there are “Englishy” problems that should not exist


Mark probs with ~~

Strong closing keeps the same pace as the body and helps leave no issues unresolved

Good closing, but somehow it feels strained; it works, but it’s kind of typical; I’ve seen it

At the closing I still have lingering questions, so it didn’t wrap up well ~~


READING TWO – Assessing examples and “personality”



Descriptions create detailed, imagery-strong pictures in my mind such that I can truly “see” who/what you’re talking about

Description is there, yet you’re more reporting what happened (boring) than creating a vision for the reader (interesting)

Description is full of general statements, so there’s really not much meaningful description at all that tells about you OR you need to back off b/c you’ve got just too much & it gets in the way


As I read I feel I’m learning about what kind of person you are; I learn strongly what is important to you

I learn about you, but sometimes you get lost and other information seems to get in the way

I hear general information that doesn’t really give specifics about YOU; nothing here sets you apart


READING THREE – Showing how you grow


Some components should ALWAYS be in an admissions essay. For each component below, identify whether it is present or missing from the essay, and if it is present, what line numbers you see it in.


  1. Attention-getter opening
  2. What type of thing(s) influence/impact you
  3. Unique personality trait about you
  4. A goal you have for yourself
  5. Explanation of what college will do for you
  6. Explanation of what you can bring to the college


PART FOUR – Being honest


Please write “HONESTY” below your other notes on the response sheet. It is now time to be honest. This means we are kind by telling exactly what we think is working (and why/how) and what is missing or not working (and why/how).


Be as specific as you can to help your peer. Tell them at least one thing you think is fun or original (and good) about the topic they’ve chosen, and at least two things that need their attention.

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