College Essays should be about life’s smaller slices

It's good to see that the press still taps the well of admissions wisdom from the former dean of admissions at the University of Chicago, Ted O'Neil.

From US News and World Report's The Right Way to Pitch Yourself to Schools


In truth, he says, what you write about "doesn't have to be a week in Africa. It can be you were a clerk at Safeway for the summer and that changed the way you view race relations or the environment." Adds Ted O'Neill, the former dean of admissions at the University of Chicago: "Turning points in their lives are kind of premature for kids of this age…We're looking for a thoughtful, earnest presentation that shows complicated interests and thinking…This can be achieved in stories reflecting on life's smaller slices—why you like helping your dad fix up old cars on the weekend, being the only boy in a family of seven girls, why you like to write birthday limericks."