"What admissions officers look for most in an application is authenticity. An authentic voice is very clearly recognized by an experienced staff member who reads hundreds of applications each year. The problem, however, is that we find far fewer authentic voices now, probably because so many applications have been coached to be something that others think the college desires, to be something other than who they really are. Admissions officers everywhere tell students to be themselves in the application–and we really mean it because we have a tendency to eschew the overly packaged candidate. Parents often do not realize that when they get overly involved in their child's application–when they help write the essays, for example, or dictate how their son or daughter should answer the questions–they can actually contaminate their child's authentic voice. Admissions officers may not see the match if the application reflects a mixture of the student and other adults pretending to be the student."
Former Dean of Admissions, MIT