As co-founder, current board member, and past president of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) as well as founder of Accepted, I have worked hard to maintain ethical and professional standards in the admissions consulting industry.
So why has Accepted.com posted sample essays on its site since 1996? Am I talking out of both sides of my mouth? On one side, blasting those who write essays for others or who plagiarize essays, and on the other, providing material for plagiarism?
No. I recognize the merit of seeing real examples that real applicants wrote and that contributed to their acceptances at top schools. These essays won't have the slickest jargon and they may not be as perfect or glossy as you would expect. The value of reviewing them lies in seeing their variety and hearing authentic voices in the different essays.
And that's why we post them. Here is a list of our sample essay pages, each of which links to a special report that tells you how to use the samples to effectively tell your own story in your own voice:
There is no value in using these sample essays as templates and certainly none in copying them even in part. Either abuse of the sample essays could cause your rejection. No questions asked.
Realize that many of the sample essays have been on our site for years so copying them is incredibly foolish. Admissions committee members are familiar with them, and at one point Jonathan Fuller, Senior Associate Director of Admissions at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, even tweeted: "I swear I read Linda's exact sample essay a few times in R1." What do you think about the authors' chance of acceptance?
FYI: Accepted.com will cease work with clients who copy and refuse to write their own essays when confronted with the plagiarism. Unfortunately we have had to do this in the past.
So learn from the sample essays provided on our site. That's what they're there for. But please write your own.
_By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com._