Some applicants may ramble on about themselves in a manner that may appear self-indulgent and not very appealing to the committee. Remember, this is an application essay, not an autobiography. Conversely, some applicants tend to say too little, perhaps hesitating to promote themselves too explicitly or not knowing what about themselves would be interesting to people whom they don't know. In such cases, perhaps focusing more on what you want to do than on what you have already done (let your record speak for itself) may help in getting beyond self-inhibition.
Your test scores and grades may be good, but so are those of many other applicants. In fact, the average scores at many of the top institutions in the nation are remarkably high. Because of that, plus the fact that some colleges no longer even require standardized test scores, the admissions landscape has changed drastically for college applicants in the past decade. Today, college application essays have become the most influential component of the application process in many ways. Your college admissions essays are your best opportunity to communicate directly with the admissions officials, who look to college essays to find reasons to select one candidate over another. When you’re reviewing files from two candidates with equally impressive scores and grades, and you only have room for one, you have to use something to make your decision. That’s where essays come in.
Dr. Derek Shepherd : I bared my soul to you last night.
Dr. Meredith Grey : It's not enough.
Dr. Derek Shepherd: How can that not be enough?
Dr. Meredith Grey : When you waited two months to tell me, and I had to find out by her showing up, all leggy and fabulous, and telling me herself, you pulled the plug. I'm a sink with an open drain. Anything you say, runs right out. There is no enough. [leaves]
Dr. George O'Malley : She probably could've picked a better metaphor .
Dr. Izzie Stevens : Give her a break. She has a hangover.
(Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo, and Katherine Heigl in "Enough Is Enough." Grey's Anatomy , 2005)