The Ultimate Guide to Writing Admission Papers

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Admission Papers

Writing admission papers is a crucial part of the college application process. These papers not only provide an opportunity for you to present yourself to the admissions committee but also play a significant role in determining your admission to the desired institution. In this guide, we will explore the importance of admission papers, the key elements of a successful paper, the art of storytelling, how to structure your paper effectively, and the importance of polishing your work.

Understanding the Importance of Admission Papers

The process of applying to colleges requires careful consideration and preparation. One of the most critical components of this process is the admission paper. Through this document, you can convey your personality, potential, and aspirations to the admissions committee, allowing them to understand you beyond your academic achievements.

When it comes to college applications, the competition is fierce. Thousands of students with impressive grades and test scores are vying for a limited number of spots. In such a competitive landscape, admission papers play a crucial role in setting you apart from the rest. They provide you with an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities and experiences, giving the admissions committee a deeper understanding of who you are as an individual.

The Role of Admission Papers in College Applications

Admission papers provide the admissions committee with valuable insights into your character, experiences, and passion. They help the committee assess your suitability for their institution and your potential to contribute positively to the campus community. It is through your admission paper that you can leave a lasting impression and stand out among the other applicants.

Imagine being a member of the admissions committee, reading through countless applications. As you flip through the pages, you come across an admission paper that captivates your attention. It is well-written, engaging, and offers a glimpse into the applicant’s unique perspective. This paper not only showcases the applicant’s accomplishments but also reveals their determination, resilience, and ability to overcome challenges. Such a paper leaves a lasting impression on the committee, making it more likely for the applicant to be remembered and considered favorably.

How Admission Papers Reflect Your Personality and Potential

Your admission paper serves as a reflection of your personality and potential. It allows you to showcase your unique qualities, such as leadership skills, creativity, and resilience, which may not be evident from transcripts and test scores alone. By sharing personal anecdotes and expressing your genuine motivations, you can demonstrate your authenticity and convince the admissions committee of your suitability for their institution.

Consider an applicant who has excelled academically throughout high school but lacks extracurricular involvement. Their admission paper becomes a platform to explain their passion for community service and how it has shaped their character. Through vivid storytelling, they can convey the impact of volunteering at a local shelter, the lessons learned from organizing fundraisers, and the joy of making a difference in the lives of others. This admission paper not only showcases the applicant’s potential for leadership and empathy but also gives the admissions committee a glimpse into the kind of positive impact they can bring to the college community.

Admission papers are not just about listing achievements and accolades; they are an opportunity for self-reflection and introspection. They allow you to delve into your motivations, goals, and aspirations, providing the admissions committee with a holistic view of your character and potential. By crafting a compelling admission paper, you can leave a lasting impression and increase your chances of being accepted into your dream college.

Key Elements of a Successful Admission Paper

Creating a successful admission paper entails carefully crafting each section to effectively convey your message. Here are some key elements that can elevate your paper and increase its impact:

Crafting a Compelling Introduction

The introduction of your admission paper sets the tone for the rest of the document. It should grab the reader’s attention and introduce your main theme or narrative. Consider starting with a captivating anecdote, a thought-provoking question, or a powerful statement that resonates with your experiences and aspirations.

For example, imagine beginning your admission paper with a vivid anecdote about a transformative experience you had while volunteering in a remote village. This story could illustrate your passion for community service and your commitment to making a difference in the world. By starting with such a compelling introduction, you immediately engage the reader and make them eager to learn more about your journey and motivations.

Highlighting Your Strengths and Achievements

One of the main objectives of the admission paper is to showcase your strengths and achievements. Take this opportunity to describe your accomplishments and how they have shaped your character and goals. Remember to provide specific examples and evidence to support your claims, allowing the admissions committee to understand the depth of your achievements.

For instance, if you are applying to a business school, you could highlight your leadership skills by discussing a time when you successfully led a team to achieve a challenging goal. Describe the strategies you implemented, the obstacles you overcame, and the positive outcomes that resulted from your efforts. By providing concrete examples, you demonstrate your ability to apply your skills and make a meaningful impact.

Addressing Weaknesses or Challenges

While it’s essential to highlight your strengths, it is equally crucial to address any weaknesses or challenges you have encountered. This shows self-awareness, resilience, and a willingness to grow. Discuss how you have learned from these experiences and how they have contributed to your personal and academic growth.

For example, if you struggled with time management during your first year of college, you could explain how you developed effective strategies to overcome this challenge. Discuss the steps you took to improve your organizational skills, such as creating a detailed schedule or seeking guidance from a mentor. By acknowledging and addressing your weaknesses, you demonstrate your ability to learn from your mistakes and continuously strive for self-improvement.

Furthermore, reflecting on your weaknesses and challenges can also provide insights into your character and resilience. Admissions committees appreciate applicants who can demonstrate their ability to overcome obstacles and grow from adversity.

The Art of Storytelling in Admission Papers

Storytelling is a powerful tool that can bring your admission paper to life and make it memorable to the reader. By incorporating carefully chosen anecdotes, you can provide a vivid illustration of your experiences and the values you hold dear. Storytelling can help you engage the admissions committee and create a lasting impression.

Using Anecdotes to Illustrate Points

Anecdotes are powerful storytelling devices that can add depth and emotional resonance to your admission paper. Select anecdotes that highlight your character, challenges you have faced, or meaningful experiences that have shaped your aspirations. Ensure that these anecdotes are relevant and support the overall theme of your paper.

Maintaining Authenticity and Originality

When crafting your admission paper, it is essential to maintain authenticity and originality. Avoid using clichés or generic statements that could make your paper blend in with others. Instead, be true to yourself and express your unique voice throughout the document. Show the admissions committee why you are different and deserving of their attention.

Structuring Your Admission Paper

How you structure your admission paper is crucial to its readability and impact. Here are some tips to help you create a well-organized and engaging structure:

Organizing Your Thoughts and Ideas

Prior to writing your admission paper, spend time organizing your thoughts and ideas. Create an outline that outlines the main points you want to cover, ensuring a logical flow between sections. This will help you maintain clarity and coherence throughout your document.

Ensuring Logical Flow and Coherence

As you write your admission paper, ensure that each paragraph flows smoothly into the next. Use transitional words and phrases to create coherence and guide the reader through your ideas. Avoid jumping abruptly between topics, as this can disrupt the flow of your paper and make it harder for the admissions committee to follow your thoughts.

Polishing Your Admission Paper

After completing the initial draft of your admission paper, it is crucial to dedicate time to polishing and refining your work. Pay attention to the following aspects to ensure your paper is professional and error-free:

Importance of Proofreading and Editing

Proofreading and editing are essential steps in the writing process. Thoroughly review your admission paper for grammatical errors, typos, and awkward phrasing. Ensure that your ideas are presented clearly and concisely. Additionally, consider seeking help from trusted individuals, such as teachers or mentors, who can provide constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Seeking Feedback and Making Revisions

After proofreading your paper, seek feedback from others. Different perspectives can help you identify areas that may need further improvement. Consider their suggestions and make revisions accordingly. Remember, multiple rounds of revision can significantly enhance the quality and impact of your admission paper.

Writing admission papers can be a challenging task, but with careful planning and execution, you can create a compelling document that showcases your unique qualities and aspirations. By understanding the importance of admission papers, incorporating storytelling techniques , structuring your paper effectively, and polishing it through proofreading and revision, you can increase your chances of standing out in the college application process. Use this ultimate guide to create a powerful admission paper that leaves a lasting impression on the admissions committee.

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Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Paper Types / How to Write a College Admissions Essay

How to Write a College Admissions Essay

Nothing has the power to intimidate even the most diligent student quite like the college admissions essay. How to choose the right topic and steer clear of clichés while showing admissions committees that you’re a great fit?

Never fear! We’ve got a list of tips to help you make a great impression with a stellar essay.

Guide Overview

  • Read the prompt a few times before starting
  • Be yourself
  • Use active verbs
  • Organize your essay
  • Mix up your sentence structures
  • Paint a picture
  • Proofread, then ask someone else to

1. Read the prompt a few times before starting

While most admissions essays fall in the “personal statement” category, they usually involve some specific prompt or question. Now, imagine yourself in the admissions officers’ shoes: what are they trying to learn from you? Diving right into the essay is tempting, but it’s better to take the time at the beginning.

2. Be yourself

It’s a natural instinct is to think that an admissions committee wants to see you at your most formal. While you definitely must use complete sentences and avoid slang or silliness, you can also let your personality shine through! It is a “personal” statement after all. Showing your genuine self goes a long way and will make you more memorable.

3. Use active verbs

Chances are, some sort of personal narrative will be in your essay. Action verbs are your best friend: use them to tell a story that engages the reader. Focus on actions that show how you learned, changed, or grew. Also, expand your vocabulary so that you don’t repeat the same two or three verbs over and over.

4. Organize your essay

All those high school English essays are about to pay off, even if this one doesn’t require you to quote books or cite MLA or APA citations . Once you know your overall ideas, sketch out an outline to make the essay flow logically from introduction to main body to conclusion. It also helps to map out what you want to address in each section or where you want to use each example for maximum effect.

5. Mix up your sentence structures

An admissions essay shouldn’t just answer the prompt—it should demonstrate why you’re ready to be an excellent college student. One of the easiest ways to make your writing more sophisticated is to alternate between different sentence structures. Connect two related ideas into a compound sentence or start with the relative clause instead of the main one. The key is to avoid a long string of sentences that are all structured identically.

6. Paint a picture

When telling your story, select vivid words and details to give the anecdote some texture. If other people appear in the narrative, call them by name so that readers can follow along and feel a little more invested in and connected to your story. Great books and movies draw us into their world – the same applies to these essays!

7. Proofread, then ask someone else to

Before submitting, always proofread for spelling, grammar, and mechanics! You can check it yourself, use an online tool to run a grammar check , or both. It also may help to have a trusted person take a second look at your essay—sometimes they’ll catch something you didn’t see.

In general, admissions essays should be concise, clear, grammatically correct, and genuine. Follow these tips, and you can’t go wrong!

Looking for more great resources? Read our other articles on  how to do an annotated bibliography in MLA , what is an  MLA works cited page,  or our grammar guides on various parts of speech. Best of all, they are all free to read!

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The Common Application

When Applying to College, Here's What You Need to Know about the Common App

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During the 2020-21 admissions cycle, The Common Application is used for undergraduate admissions by nearly 900 colleges and universities . The Common Application is an electronic college application system that collects a wide range of information: personal data, educational data, standardized test scores, family information, academic honors, extracurricular activities, work experience, a personal essay, and criminal history. Financial aid information needs to be handled on the FAFSA .

Fast Facts: The Common Application

  • Accepted by nearly 900 colleges and universities
  • Makes it easy to apply to multiple schools with a single application
  • Used by all Ivy League schools and most top colleges and universities
  • Provides seven personal essay options including a "topic of your choice"

The Reasoning Behind the Common Application

The Common Application had modest beginnings in the 1970s when a few colleges and universities decided to make the application process easier for applicants by allowing them to create one application, photocopy it, and then mail it to multiple schools. As the application process moved online, this basic idea of making the application process easier for students has remained. If you are applying to 10 schools, you will need to type in all of your personal information, test score data, family information, and even your application essay just once. 

Other similar single-application options have emerged more recently, such as the Cappex Application and the Universal College Application , although these options are not as widely accepted yet. 

The Reality of the Common Application

The seeming ease of using one application to apply to multiple schools certainly sounds appealing if you are a college applicant. The reality, however, is that the Common Application isn't, in fact, "common" for all schools, especially the more selective member institutions. While, the Common Application will save you time entering all that personal information, test score data, and details of your extracurricular involvement, individual schools often want to get school-specific information from you. The Common Application has evolved to allow all member institutions to request supplemental essays and other materials from applicants. In the original ideal of the Common App, applicants would write just a single essay when applying to college. Today, if an applicant were to apply to all eight of the Ivy League schools, that student would need to write over thirty essays in addition to the "common" one in the main application. Moreover, applicants are now allowed to create more than one Common Application, so you can, in fact, send different applications to different schools.

Like many businesses, the Common Application had to choose between its ideal of being "common" and its desire to be a widely used application. To achieve the latter, it had to bend to the whims of potential member colleges and universities, and this meant making the application customizable, an obvious move away from being "common."

What Types of Colleges Use the Common Application?

Originally, only schools that evaluated applications holistically  were allowed to use the Common Application; that is, the original philosophy behind the Common Application was that students should be evaluated as whole individuals, not just as a collection of numerical data such as class rank, standardized test scores, and grades. Every member institution needed to take into consideration non-numerical information derived from things such as letters of recommendation , an  application essay , and extracurricular activities . If a college based admission solely on GPA and test scores, they could not be a member of the Common Application.

Today this is not the case. Here again, as the Common Application continues to try and grow its number of member institutions, it has abandoned those original ideals. More colleges and universities do not have holistic admissions than those that do (for the simple reason that a holistic admission process is much more labor intensive than a data-driven process). So in order to open the door to the majority of institutions in the country, the Common Application now allows schools that do not have holistic admissions to become members. This change quickly resulted in the membership of many public institutions that base admission decisions largely on numerical criteria.

Because the Common Application keeps shifting to be inclusive of a wide range of colleges and universities, the membership is quite diverse. It includes nearly all top colleges and top universities , but also some schools that are not selective at all. Both public and private institutions use the Common App, as do several historical Black colleges and universities. 

The Most Recent Common Application

Starting in 2013 with CA4, the newest version of the Common Application, the paper version of the application has been phased out and all applications are now submitted electronically through the Common Application website . The online application allows you to create different versions of the application for different schools, and the website will also keep track of the different application requirements for the different schools to which you are applying. The roll-out of the current version of the application was fraught with problems, but current applicants should have a relatively trouble-free application process.

Many schools will ask for one or more supplemental essays to complement the essay you write on one of the seven personal essay options provided on the Common Application. Many colleges will also ask for a short answer essay on one of your extracurricular or work experiences. These supplements will be submitted through the Common Application website with the rest of your application.

Issues Related to the Common Application

The Common Application is most likely here to stay, and the benefits it provides applicants certainly outweigh the negatives. The application is, however, a bit of a challenge for many colleges. Because it is so easy to apply to multiple schools using the Common App, many colleges are finding that the number of applications they are receiving is going up, but the number of students they are matriculating is not. The Common Application makes it more challenging for colleges to predict the yield from their applicant pools, and as a result, many schools are forced to rely more heavily on waitlists . This uncertainly can come back to bite students who find themselves placed in waitlist limbo because colleges simply can't predict how many students will accept their offers of admission.

  • The Universal College Application vs the Common Application
  • The 2021-22 Common Application Essay Prompts
  • The 6 Most Common Blunders of College Applicants
  • How to Get Into an Ivy League School
  • Common Application Essay Option 2 Tips: Learning from Failure
  • Demonstrated Interest
  • Month-by-Month Senior Year College Application Deadlines
  • Should an Application Essay Be Single-Spaced or Double-Spaced?
  • What Colleges Look for in an Applicant
  • Common Application Short Answer Tips
  • What Are Holistic Admissions?
  • How to Ace Your University of Wisconsin Personal Statements
  • "Grandpa's Rubik's Cube"—Sample Common Application Essay, Option #4
  • Addressing Diversity in a College Application Essay
  • 5 Tips for a College Admissions Essay on an Important Issue
  • Ideal College Application Essay Length

Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay

Tips for writing an effective college essay.

College admissions essays are an important part of your college application and gives you the chance to show colleges and universities your character and experiences. This guide will give you tips to write an effective college essay.

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Writing a strong college admissions essay

Learn about the elements of a solid admissions essay.

Avoiding common admissions essay mistakes

Learn some of the most common mistakes made on college essays

Brainstorming tips for your college essay

Stuck on what to write your college essay about? Here are some exercises to help you get started.

How formal should the tone of your college essay be?

Learn how formal your college essay should be and get tips on how to bring out your natural voice.

Taking your college essay to the next level

Hear an admissions expert discuss the appropriate level of depth necessary in your college essay.

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Student Story: Admissions essay about a formative experience

Get the perspective of a current college student on how he approached the admissions essay.

Student Story: Admissions essay about personal identity

Get the perspective of a current college student on how she approached the admissions essay.

Student Story: Admissions essay about community impact

Student story: admissions essay about a past mistake, how to write a college application essay, tips for writing an effective application essay, sample college essay 1 with feedback, sample college essay 2 with feedback.

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College Essays

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Figuring out your college essay can be one of the most difficult parts of applying to college. Even once you've read the prompt and picked a topic, you might wonder: if you write too much or too little, will you blow your chance of admission? How long should a college essay be?

Whether you're a terse writer or a loquacious one, we can advise you on college essay length. In this guide, we'll cover what the standard college essay length is, how much word limits matter, and what to do if you aren't sure how long a specific essay should be.

How Long Is a College Essay? First, Check the Word Limit

You might be used to turning in your writing assignments on a page-limit basis (for example, a 10-page paper). While some colleges provide page limits for their college essays, most use a word limit instead. This makes sure there's a standard length for all the essays that a college receives, regardless of formatting or font.

In the simplest terms, your college essay should be pretty close to, but not exceeding, the word limit in length. Think within 50 words as the lower bound, with the word limit as the upper bound. So for a 500-word limit essay, try to get somewhere between 450-500 words. If they give you a range, stay within that range.

College essay prompts usually provide the word limit right in the prompt or in the instructions.

For example, the University of Illinois says :

"You'll answer two to three prompts as part of your application. The questions you'll answer will depend on whether you're applying to a major or to our undeclared program , and if you've selected a second choice . Each response should be approximately 150 words."

As exemplified by the University of Illinois, the shortest word limits for college essays are usually around 150 words (less than half a single-spaced page). Rarely will you see a word limit higher than around 650 words (over one single-spaced page). College essays are usually pretty short: between 150 and 650 words. Admissions officers have to read a lot of them, after all!

body-scale-cc0

Weigh your words carefully, because they are limited!

How Flexible Is the Word Limit?

But how flexible is the word limit? What if your poignant anecdote is just 10 words too long—or 100 too short?

Can I Go Over the Word Limit?

If you are attaching a document and you need one or two extra words, you can probably get away with exceeding the word limit by such a small amount. Some colleges will actually tell you that exceeding the word limit by 1-2 words is fine. However, I advise against exceeding the word limit unless it's explicitly allowed for a few reasons:

First, you might not be able to. If you have to copy-paste it into a text box, your essay might get cut off and you'll have to trim it down anyway.

If you exceed the word limit in a noticeable way, the admissions counselor may just stop reading your essay past that point. This is not good for you.

Following directions is actually a very important part of the college application process. You need to follow directions to get your letters of recommendation, upload your essays, send supplemental materials, get your test scores sent, and so on and so forth. So it's just a good general rule to follow whatever instructions you've been given by the institution. Better safe than sorry!

Can I Go Under the Word Limit?

If you can truly get your point across well beneath the word limit, it's probably fine. Brevity is not necessarily a bad thing in writing just so long as you are clear, cogent, and communicate what you want to.

However, most college essays have pretty tight word limits anyways. So if you're writing 300 words for an essay with a 500-word limit, ask yourself: is there anything more you could say to elaborate on or support your points? Consult with a parent, friend, or teacher on where you could elaborate with more detail or expand your points.

Also, if the college gives you a word range, you absolutely need to at least hit the bottom end of the range. So if you get a range from the institution, like 400-500 words, you need to write at least 400 words. If you write less, it will come across like you have nothing to say, which is not an impression you want to give.

body-writing-computer-orange-write

What If There Is No Word Limit?

Some colleges don't give you a word limit for one or more of your essay prompts. This can be a little stressful, but the prompts generally fall into a few categories:

Writing Sample

Some colleges don't provide a hard-and-fast word limit because they want a writing sample from one of your classes. In this case, a word limit would be very limiting to you in terms of which assignments you could select from.

For an example of this kind of prompt, check out essay Option B at Amherst :

"Submit a graded paper from your junior or senior year that best represents your writing skills and analytical abilities. We are particularly interested in your ability to construct a tightly reasoned, persuasive argument that calls upon literary, sociological or historical evidence. You should NOT submit a laboratory report, journal entry, creative writing sample or in-class essay."

While there is usually no word limit per se, colleges sometimes provide a general page guideline for writing samples. In the FAQ for Option B , Amherst clarifies, "There is no hard-and-fast rule for official page limit. Typically, we anticipate a paper of 4-5 pages will provide adequate length to demonstrate your analytical abilities. Somewhat longer papers can also be submitted, but in most cases should not exceed 8-10 pages."

So even though there's no word limit, they'd like somewhere in the 4-10 pages range. High school students are not usually writing papers that are longer than 10 pages anyways, so that isn't very limiting.

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Implicit Length Guideline

Sometimes, while there's no word (or even page) limit, there's still an implicit length guideline. What do I mean by this?

See, for example, this Western Washington University prompt :

“Describe one or more activities you have been involved in that have been particularly meaningful. What does your involvement say about the communities, identities or causes that are important to you?”

While there’s no page or word limit listed here, further down on page the ‘essay tips’ section explains that “ most essay responses are about 500 words, ” though “this is only a recommendation, not a firm limit.” This gives you an idea of what’s reasonable. A little longer or shorter than 500 words would be appropriate here. That’s what I mean by an “implicit” word limit—there is a reasonable length you could go to within the boundaries of the prompt.

body-coffee-cc0

But what's the proper coffee-to-paragraph ratio?

Treasure Hunt

There is also the classic "treasure hunt" prompt. No, it's not a prompt about a treasure hunt. It's a prompt where there are no length guidelines given, but if you hunt around on the rest of the website you can find length guidelines.

For example, the University of Chicago provides seven "Extended Essay" prompts . You must write an essay in response to one prompt of your choosing, but nowhere on the page is there any guidance about word count or page limit.

However, many colleges provide additional details about their expectations for application materials, including essays, on FAQ pages, which is true of the University of Chicago. On the school’s admissions Frequently Asked Questions page , they provide the following length guidelines for the supplemental essays: 

“We suggest that you note any word limits for Coalition or Common Application essays; however, there are no strict word limits on the UChicago Supplement essays. For the extended essay (where you choose one of several prompts), we suggest that you aim for around 650 words. While we won't, as a rule, stop reading after 650 words, we're only human and cannot promise that an overly wordy essay will hold our attention indefinitely. For the “Why UChicago?” essay, we suggest about 250-500 words. The ideas in your writing matter more than the exact number of words you use!”

So there you go! You want to be (loosely) in the realm of 650 for the extended essay, and 250-500 words for the “Why UChicago?” essay.

Help! There Really Is No Guidance on Length

If you really can't find any length guidelines anywhere on the admissions website and you're at a loss, I advise calling the admissions office. They may not be able to give you an exact number (in fact, they probably won't), but they will probably at least be able to tell you how long most of the essays they see are. (And keep you from writing a panicked, 20-page dissertation about your relationship with your dog).

In general, 500 words or so is pretty safe for a college essay. It's a fairly standard word limit length, in fact. (And if you're wondering, that's about a page and a half double-spaced.) 500 words is long enough to develop a basic idea while still getting a point across quickly—important when admissions counselors have thousands of essays to read!

guy-with-magnifying-glass

"See? It says 500 words right there in tiny font!"

The Final Word: How Long Should a College Essay Be?

The best college essay length is usually pretty straightforward: you want to be right under or at the provided word limit. If you go substantially past the word limit, you risk having your essay cut off by an online application form or having the admissions officer just not finish it. And if you're too far under the word limit, you may not be elaborating enough.

What if there is no word limit? Then how long should a college essay be? In general, around 500 words is a pretty safe approximate word amount for a college essay—it's one of the most common word limits, after all!

Here's guidance for special cases and hunting down word limits:

If it's a writing sample of your graded academic work, the length either doesn't matter or there should be some loose page guidelines.

There also may be implicit length guidelines. For example, if a prompt says to write three paragraphs, you'll know that writing six sentences is definitely too short, and two single-spaced pages is definitely too long.

You might not be able to find length guidelines in the prompt, but you could still hunt them up elsewhere on the website. Try checking FAQs or googling your chosen school name with "admissions essay word limit."

If there really is no word limit, you can call the school to try to get some guidance.

With this advice, you can be sure you've got the right college essay length on lockdown!

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Hey, writing about yourself can even be fun!

What's Next?

Need to ask a teacher or friend for help with your essay? See our do's and dont's to getting college essay advice .

If you're lacking in essay inspiration, see our guide to brainstorming college essay ideas . And here's our guide to starting out your essay perfectly!

Looking for college essay examples? See 11 places to find college essay examples and 145 essay examples with analysis !

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Everything You Need to Know About College Rolling Admissions

Colleges that have rolling admissions evaluate applications as they come in and continually make acceptance decisions.

A Guide to College Rolling Admissions

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Getting accepted to a college early typically means more flexibility for students.

The college application process can be stressful for parents and students, with multiple deadlines and the anxiety of waiting on decisions.

While many schools offer early decision and early action in addition to regular admissions, some offer rolling admissions . This is where colleges evaluate applications as they receive them, then release admissions decisions accordingly as opposed to doing so all at once.

Of the ranked National Universities that submitted data to U.S. News in an annual survey, 143 offered rolling admissions in fall of 2023.

As is generally the case in college admissions, experts say the earlier students apply, the better. Because schools with rolling admissions make decisions regularly as they evaluate applications, there's also a chance that applicants can get an admissions decision sooner.

"It always seems to take the edge off when a client has an offer of admission in their pocket as they wait to hear from other schools," Angela Warfield, principal consultant and founder of admissions consulting firm Compass Academics, wrote in an email. "This is a huge boost to their self-confidence and general mental health during an extremely stressful wait-and-see time."

Getting accepted to a college early typically means more flexibility for students, and schools with rolling admissions and open seats into spring of senior year can be great last-minute options or fall-back plans for students who missed other, more strict deadlines. Here's what to know about applying to schools with rolling admissions.

Do Colleges With Rolling Admissions Have Deadlines?

Matt Woodworth, founder of college admissions consulting company Woodworth Prep, says the biggest question he gets from students about rolling admissions is when to submit an application.

While rolling admissions decisions don't operate on strict deadlines like other types of admissions, many schools have priority dates for submitting application information. Of the 143 U.S. News-ranked schools that offered rolling admissions, 86 have priority dates. The dates vary, with some in early November and others in the spring toward the end of the school year.

"Priority dates can give a student an advantage in consideration for certain programs, financial aid or scholarships, and housing," Katie Burns, premiere college admissions counselor at admissions consulting company IvyWise, wrote in an email. "Some programs within a school with rolling (admissions) may have a priority deadline. Nursing is a common major with a priority deadline for rolling schools as nursing programs fill up very quickly."

Applicants should also review other types of deadlines, since schools may dole out other resources such as financial aid or housing first come, first served.

For example, Michigan Technological University has an official priority date of Jan. 15, but the admissions office also treats Nov. 1 as a priority date, says Beth Fitzpatrick, the school's director of admissions. That's mainly because the school's largest scholarship deadline is Nov. 1, and students need to have at least applied to the school in order to apply for that scholarship, she says.

“Rolling admissions gives them options, but they really should look at what those priority deadlines are and what they mean,” she says. “For us, it doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of housing options or anything like that, but it might mean they missed a scholarship deadline.”

Schools may also have a priority date for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA , experts say. However, with that date moving from October to December in 2023, students who apply before then will receive their financial award package later than usual, which may affect their decision, Fitzpatrick says.

“We’ll make a decision on students early, but the student doesn’t need to make their decision,” she says. “We really recommend waiting until you see your financial aid. Then, if you have questions, we’ll walk you through it and talk through options.”

When Is the Best Time to Apply to College Under Rolling Admissions?

Timing is important when applying to schools with rolling admissions. As classes fill up, fewer spots remain. Experts stress applying early when possible.

“The highest your chances are going to get is if you apply right at the beginning," Woodworth says. "Then the spaces are given out on an availability basis, so the longer you wait the more your chances are going to decrease."

However, not every school is as stringent in terms of how many students they admit, and some don't have a hard cutoff for when they'll stop accepting applications. Michigan Tech has priority dates but still accepts applications throughout the year and admits students late in the admissions cycle.

“I think families are worried that we’re going to run out of spaces if they don’t apply by then,” she says. “We’re not really necessarily about spaces. If you’re a fit for Michigan Tech and you meet our criteria, you’re going to be accepted.”

Her office knows that some applicants apply late for a variety of reasons, she says. Some may decide at the last minute that they want to go to college, while others may have been denied or waitlisted by another.

“We also just have students who discover us later in the cycle, and we don’t want them to feel like their options are closed,” she says.

Michigan Tech also offers in-person and virtual events for admitted students only, so the earlier students apply, the earlier they are likely to be admitted, which would allow them to attend more of those events, Fitzpatrick says.

Students should also pay attention to whether the school they're applying to is test-optional , Woodworth says. Students who are planning to use their ACT or SAT score in their college application but still reach an early priority date for rolling admissions should plan to take their tests and have scores in hand by the start of their senior year.

But students shouldn't sacrifice quality. While they may want to submit their application by a priority date, they should remember that such dates are not hard deadlines, Woodworth says. It's worth taking a little extra time to proofread the application and prevent glaring mistakes, he says.

When Will I Receive an Admissions Decision?

The timing of an admissions decision depends on a number of factors and can vary from school to school. Generally, the earlier a student applies, the earlier they will hear back. Woodworth says one student he worked with applied Aug. 5 and received a decision by Aug. 11, for example. Similarly, Warfield worked with a student who applied on a Monday and received a decision by that Friday.

Such quick turnarounds aren't common, however. For example, Michigan Tech doesn't typically begin reading applications until September, but once that process begins, students can expect a decision within three to five weeks, Fitzpatrick says.

At some schools, that process may take a little longer as the school year progresses and more applications are submitted in bunches.

“If a student applies any time after January, there’s not one set date after that where we get a ton at a time,” she says. “For those students, the big thing is they would’ve missed some of the big scholarship deadlines and there’s a shorter timeline of getting their questions answered.”

Are Rolling Admissions Decisions Binding?

What is the difference between early action, early decision and rolling admissions.

Early action and early decision allow students to apply and receive a decision earlier than those who apply regular decision. Early decision is a binding agreement, meaning a student must commit to and attend a school if admitted.

Both of these generally have hard deadlines, and admissions decisions are released on a set date as opposed to rolling them out as applications are reviewed. Early action and early decision are typically much shorter windows, while rolling admissions usually plays out roughly over six months, Warfield says.

Additionally, some schools that use rolling admissions may not require letters of recommendation , Woodworth says, which can be of benefit to students who apply later.

Are There Disadvantages to Rolling Admissions?

Admissions experts say the main downside of rolling admissions is that qualified students who apply later in the application cycle may not be accepted to certain programs or universities because the incoming class is full. Students should avoid falling into the trap of postponing their application until all available spots are gone, Woodworth says.

Students who wait too long to apply may also find that they're no longer competitive for admission, aid or housing arrangements, Warfield says.

"At the same time, however, schools will continue to accept applications until all seats are filled," she says. "This means that students who receive rejections from all of their first choice schools will still have options in the spring to apply to rolling admission schools."

Top Schools Offering Rolling Admissions

Below is a list of the 10 highest-ranked National Universities with rolling admissions, including ties. National Universities are schools that tend to be research-oriented and offer a range of undergraduate majors as well as master's and doctoral programs. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of Best Colleges.

What to Do After Selecting a College

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How to Write a Personal Essay for Your College Application

admission paper meaning

What does it take to land in the “accept” (instead of “reject”) pile?

How can you write an essay that helps advance you in the eyes of the admissions officers and makes a real impression? Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Start early.  Do not leave it until the last minute. Give yourself time when you don’t have other homework or extracurriculars hanging over your head to work on the essay.
  • Keep the focus narrow.  Your essay does not have to cover a massive, earth-shattering event. Some people in their teens haven’t experienced a major life event. Some people have. Either way, it’s okay.
  • Be yourself.  Whether writing about a painful experience or a more simple experience, use the narrative to be vulnerable and honest about who you are. Use words you would normally use. Trust your voice and the fact that your story is interesting enough in that no one else has lived it.
  • Be creative.  “Show, don’t tell,” and that applies here — to an extent. The best essays typically do both. You can help your reader see and feel what you are describing by using some figurative language throughout your piece.
  • Make a point. As you finish your final body paragraphs ask yourself “So what?” This will help you hone in on how to end your essay in a way that elevates it into a story about an insight or discovery you made about yourself, rather than just being about an experience you had.

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We’ve all heard about the dreaded “college essay,” the bane of every high school senior’s existence. This daunting element of the college application is something that can create angst for even the most accomplished students.

  • AA Amy Allen is a writer, educator, and lifelong learner. Her freelance writing business,  All of the Write Words , focuses on providing high school students with one-on-one feedback to guide them through the college application process and with crafting a thoughtful personal essay. A dedicated poet, Amy’s work has also been published in several journals including  Pine Row Press ,  Months to Years,  and  Atlanta Review .

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How Long Should a College Essay Be? | Word Count Tips

Published on September 29, 2021 by Kirsten Courault . Revised on June 1, 2023.

Most college application portals specify a word count range for your essay, and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit. If no word count is specified, we advise keeping your essay between 400 and 600 words.

You should aim to stay under the specified limit to show you can follow directions and write concisely. However, if you write too little, it may seem like you are unwilling or unable to write a thoughtful and developed essay.

Table of contents

Word count guidelines for different application types, how to shorten your essay, how to expand your essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about college application essays.

Each university has a different suggested or required word count depending on which application portal it uses.

Some application portals will allow you to exceed the word count limit, but admissions officers have limited time and energy to read longer essays. Other application portals have a strict limit and will not allow you to exceed it.

For example, in the Common App , the portal will not allow you to submit more than 650 words. Some colleges using the Common App will allow you to submit less than 250 words, but this is too short for a well-developed essay.

For scholarship essays , diversity essays , and “Why this college?” essays , word count limits vary. Make sure to verify and respect each prompt’s limit.

Don’t worry too much about word count until the revision stage ; focusing on word count while writing may hinder your creativity. Once you have finished a draft, you can start shortening or expanding your essay if necessary.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

On some application portals, you can exceed the word limit, but there are good reasons to stay within it:

  • To maintain the admissions officer’s attention
  • To show you can follow directions
  • To demonstrate you can write concisely

Here are some strategies for shortening your essay.

Stay on the main point

It’s good to use vivid imagery, but only include relevant details. Cut any sentences with tangents or unnecessary information.

My father taught me how to strategically hold the marshmallow pierced by a twig at a safe distance from the flames to make sure it didn’t get burned, ensuring a golden brown exterior.

Typically, my father is glued to his computer since he’s a software engineer at Microsoft. But that night, he was the marshmallow master. We waited together as the pillowy sugary goodness caramelized into gooey delight. Good example: Sticks to the point On our camping trip to Yosemite, my family spent time together, away from technology and routine responsibility.

My favorite part was roasting s’mores around the campfire. My father taught me how to hold the marshmallow at a safe distance from the flames, ensuring a golden brown exterior.

These college essay examples also demonstrate how you can cut your essay down to size.

Eliminate wordiness

Delete unnecessary words that clutter your essay. If a word doesn’t add value, cut it.

Here are some common examples of wordiness and how to fix them.

Use a paraphrasing tool

If you want to save time, you can make use of a paraphrasing tool . Within the tool you can select the “short” mode to rewrite your essay in less words. Just copy your text in the tool and within 1 click you’ll have shortened your essay.

If you’re significantly under the word count, you’re wasting the opportunity to show depth and authenticity in your essay. Admissions officers may see your short essay as a sign that you’re unable to write a detailed, insightful narrative about yourself.

Here are some strategies for expanding your essay.

Show detailed examples, and don’t tell generic stories

You should include detailed examples that can’t be replicated by another student. Use vivid imagery, the five senses, and specific objects to transport the reader into your story.

Reveal your feelings and insight

If your essay lacks vulnerability or self-reflection, share your feelings and the lessons you’ve learned.

Be creative with how you express your feelings; rather than simply writing “I’m happy,” use memorable images to help the reader clearly visualize your happiness. Similarly, for insight, include the follow-up actions from your lessons learned; instead of claiming “I became a hard worker,” explain what difficult tasks you accomplished as a result of what you learned.

If you want to know more about academic writing , effective communication , or parts of speech , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

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Most college application portals specify a word count range for your essay, and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit to write a developed and thoughtful essay.

You should aim to stay under the specified word count limit to show you can follow directions and write concisely. However, don’t write too little, as it may seem like you are unwilling or unable to write a detailed and insightful narrative about yourself.

If no word count is specified, we advise keeping your essay between 400 and 600 words.

If you’re struggling to reach the word count for your college essay, add vivid personal stories or share your feelings and insight to give your essay more depth and authenticity.

If your college essay goes over the word count limit , cut any sentences with tangents or irrelevant details. Delete unnecessary words that clutter your essay.

You can speed up this process by shortening and smoothing your writing with a paraphrasing tool . After that, you can use the summarizer to shorten it even more.

There is no set number of paragraphs in a college admissions essay . College admissions essays can diverge from the traditional five-paragraph essay structure that you learned in English class. Just make sure to stay under the specified word count .

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admission paper meaning

Graded Written Paper

The graded written paper will help the Admission Office assess the student’s written expression in an academic setting. This will further the holistic understanding of the student’s application and help admission officers evaluate the student’s potential contributions and ability to thrive in the University’s rigorous academic environment.

We ask all students to submit a graded written paper for consideration as part of their application to Princeton.

When selecting a paper to submit, please keep in mind the following guidelines:

The paper should be writing done for an academic course, preferably an English, social studies or history course, during the last three years of secondary school, including senior year.

You may send a paper, essay, research paper or essay exam. We are interested in seeing expository writing only, not creative writing.

One to two pages in length is sufficient.

The paper should include the course instructor’s grade, and comments if your instructor provided any.

Princeton no longer requires applicants to submit the optional writing section of the SAT or ACT (the SAT Essay or ACT Writing Test), because taking the test with the optional writing section adds an additional cost that may be a financial burden to some applicants. We became concerned that students at schools where the ACT or SAT is offered for free, but only without the optional writing section, would then need to pay to take the test with the optional writing section. Please review our standardized testing policy .

NOTE: If submitting an official score report is a financial hardship, Princeton will continue to review applications with self-reported scores, verified by a school official such as a school counselor, teacher or dean.

For Transfer Applicants

For transfer applicants, a graded paper may come from a course taken within the last two to three years of schooling. While we prefer that it be in the subjects of either English or history, we will also consider papers from courses in the humanities and social sciences for our transfer applicants, provided they meet all other requirements listed.

How to Submit the Graded Written Paper

To submit your graded written paper, choose one  of the following options:

Option 1:  Upload the graded written paper alongside your application materials when submitting the Common Application or QuestBridge Application.

Option 2:  Mail, email or upload the graded written paper to your applicant portal.

The grade and the teacher comments should appear on the paper. If a grading rubric was used, please include this information along with your paper. The Admission Office is more interested in the quality of the writing than the grade it received and encourages you to submit a graded written paper that shows your best efforts, regardless of the grade.

If your school does not offer grades for student work, please submit teacher comments and a rubric. 

If you have already graduated and are taking a year off, you may contact your secondary school to obtain a graded written paper.

Please see additional information about the graded written paper on the pages that offer further details for:

Transfer students

International students

Home-schooled students

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Definition of admission

  • acknowledgment
  • acknowledgement
  • self-confession

Examples of admission in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'admission.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Middle English admyssion, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin admissiōn-, admissiō "controlled mating (of animals), admittance to an interview," from admittere "to admit entry 1 " + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Phrases Containing admission

  • open admission
  • general admission
  • by one's own admission
  • pre - admission

Dictionary Entries Near admission

Admission Day

Cite this Entry

“Admission.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/admission. Accessed 30 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of admission, medical definition, medical definition of admission, legal definition, legal definition of admission.

Note: In civil cases admissions are often agreed to and offered in writing to the court before trial as a method of reducing the number of issues to be proven at trial.

Note: Under the Federal Rules of Evidence an admission is not hearsay. Silence can sometimes be construed as an admission where a person would reasonably be expected to speak up.

More from Merriam-Webster on admission

Nglish: Translation of admission for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of admission for Arabic Speakers

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Trump’s Warning of a ‘Blood Bath’ if He Loses

More from our inbox:, orli and the fox, it was ‘poisoning,’ not an ‘overdose’, class-based admissions.

Donald Trump, seen from behind and at a distance, speaks to a large crowd from behind a lectern.

To the Editor:

Re “ Trump Says Some Migrants Are ‘Not People’ and Predicts a ‘Blood Bath’ if He Loses ” (nytimes.com, March 16):

In a campaign speech in Ohio on Saturday, former President Donald Trump said that if he didn’t get elected, “it’s going to be a blood bath for the country.”

His warning was not a prediction. This was a brazen threat: If the election disappoints Mr. Trump and his followers, they will revolt. Mr. Trump might be increasingly inarticulate, but the peril is clear in his own words.

In Trump v. Anderson , the Supreme Court recently dodged the question of whether Mr. Trump’s behavior before and on Jan. 6, 2021, made him an insurrectionist within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. After Saturday’s speech, further evasion will be unconscionable. Mr. Trump’s use of the phrase “blood bath” was not exaggeration for effect or bombast. It was simple menace, a direct step toward sedition. American democracy’s future is at stake.

Mr. Trump has effectively secured a major party’s nomination for president. It will soon be up to the voters to recognize the risk and prevent a reign of terror. The whole world is watching.

Steven S. Berizzi Norwalk, Conn.

Mr. Trump, I heard your words about a “blood bath.” How am I to interpret this?

You later claimed that you meant the auto industry. Now Mr. Trump, I don’t think that impassioned remark of yours about a blood bath was about cars. I suspect you know it wasn’t.

I look around at my neighborhood and think “blood bath” if you lose the election. We are a 50/50 community. Half for you and half not. So will there be a blood bath on the streets of El Dorado Hills, just 20 miles from California’s state capitol, if you lose? Are there Pretorian-style guards in my neighborhood just waiting for the phone call? Ready to drag my disabled daughter and me out of our home into our street to kill us?

What’s your plan, Mr. Trump? And spare the con man’s best comeback, “wait and see.” Blood bath. That is quite an expression.

Christine BauerEl Dorado Hills, Calif.

I will not be threatened. The threat by Donald Trump that if he is not elected, “it’s going to be a blood bath” demonstrates definitively, undeniably and unequivocally that he is not fit to be president of the United States.

That The New York Times failed to make this threat its lead story does a grave disservice to our nation.

Joan Kass Chilmark, Mass.

Had President Biden told the world that we should expect a “blood bath” if he loses the election, as Donald Trump did in Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday, there would have been clamoring of outrage and denunciation by his Republican opponents. Where is the outrage about Mr. Trump’s use of such language? Where are the voices of reason and restraint?

No Republican dares to criticize their fearless leader. Their profiles in cowardice are an appalling sight for all the civilized world to see.

When will our populace come to their senses? Conscientious, civilized people everywhere must reject this irresponsible bombast.

Mr. Trump is recklessly endangering every man, woman and child in our nation. He has gone too far and must be stopped.

H. James Quigley Jr. Laguna Woods, Calif.

Au contraire, Mr. Trump. If you lose this year’s November election, there will be dancing in the streets and champagne corks popped “the likes of which you’ve never seen.”

You can bank on it.

Lois Berkowitz Oro Valley, Ariz.

Re “ What Does a Year Mean to a Grieving Parent? ,” by Sarah Wildman (Opinion guest essay, March 17), about the first anniversary of the death of her daughter Orli:

At sunrise this morning, a fox crossed the road before me. She turned, studying me, and I felt the stir of the new day’s magic. A few hours later, I read Ms. Wildman’s essay, with the digital headline “‘If You See a Fox and I’ve Died, It Will Be Me.’”

I was struck by the coincidence of having just seen “a bright young fox” and reading Ms. Wildman’s brilliant and moving story. It seemed right to thank her for this gift: Orli’s bright young spirit flowing from her mother’s aching heart onto the page.

I wish I had met Orli. We would talk about foxes, look at fox photos, read passages from fox books. We would have shared how one day a fox came to us and never left, as Orli came to me through her mother’s story, how we each came to love foxes, as Orli herself will forever be loved, a beautiful child who is at last free to roam the bright universe.

Ellen Thornton Atlantic Beach, Fla.

Re “ In Fentanyl Deaths, Victims’ Families Say Word Choice Matters ” (front page, March 11):

The heartbreaking story of 19-year-old Ryan Bagwell’s death further underscores the urgent need to reshape the narrative around drug-related fatalities. The distinction between “overdose” and “poisoning” is not semantic; it reflects the profound impact on families and caregivers grappling with loss.

Moreover, the stigma associated with “overdose” compounds the pain for grieving families. It unfairly implies personal responsibility and addiction, perpetuating harmful stereotypes. We must recognize that victims like Ryan were unsuspecting casualties, not willing participants in their demise.

Family caregivers who tend to their loved ones as they struggle with health challenges, including addiction, understand the severity of this crisis. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid exponentially more potent than heroin , is ravaging communities nationwide with a disproportionately higher lethal impact in American Indian, Alaska Native and Black populations .

Its presence in counterfeit pills poses lethal risks, as evidenced by Ryan’s case. The term “poisoning” rightly emphasizes the victimhood of those unknowingly exposed to this deadly substance.

In addition to diligent medication management to prevent accidental exposure to potent substances like fentanyl, the front lines of this crisis require comprehensive tools, including access to all F.D.A.-approved agents that reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, to respond in the event of a fentanyl poisoning.

Marvell Adams Jr. Baltimore The writer is the C.E.O. of the Caregivers Action Network.

Re “ What the Future of Admissions at Elite Schools Might Look Like ,” by David Leonhardt (The Morning, March 3):

In the wake of court decisions whittling away affirmative action, it is becoming known that class-based admissions policies can help maintain racial diversity at elite colleges.

SAT scores, when used properly, can help admissions officers identify minority applicants who show great potential for academic achievement. The test itself was designed to combat exclusion at a time when Ivy League schools had restrictive quotas on minority applicants.

Overcoming disadvantage is a legitimate criterion for admission and essential to efforts to diversify the student body.

Max Herman Jersey City, N.J. The writer is an associate professor of sociology at New Jersey City University.

Cambridge Dictionary

  • Cambridge Dictionary +Plus

Meaning of admission in English

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admission noun ( ACCEPTING )

  • acknowledge something as something
  • acknowledgedly
  • acknowledgment
  • admission of guilt
  • breastbeating
  • come clean idiom
  • self-admittedly
  • self-confessed
  • self-confessedly
  • self-confession
  • swallow your words idiom
  • take something back

admission noun ( ALLOWING IN )

  • gain admittance
  • misconnection

You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics:

Related word

Admission | american dictionary, admission noun [c/u] ( permission to enter ), admission noun [c/u] ( statement ), admission | business english, examples of admission, collocations with admission.

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Translations of admission

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  • admission (ACCEPTING)
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See how the Key Bridge collapse will disrupt the supply of cars, coal and tofu

The port of baltimore is the top port in the nation for automobile shipments.

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday cut off access to much of the city’s port — causing a suspension of vessel traffic that will disrupt a key trade lane and threaten to further tangle already-stressed supply chains.

The Port of Baltimore was the 17th largest in the nation by total tons in 2021 and an important artery for the movement of autos, construction machinery and coal. It handled 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo worth nearly $81 billion in 2023, according to Maryland data, and creates more than 15,000 jobs.

admission paper meaning

Top 10 imports and exports to the Port

of Baltimore in 2023

2023 total: $59B

electronics

commodities

2023 total: $22B

Iron, steel

Seeds, grains,

fruits, plants

Air and space

craft, parts

Coal, oil and

natural gas

Note: not seasonally adjusted. Vehicles excluding railways

and tramways. Nickel, aluminium, paper and wood include

derivatives of those commodities

Source: Census Bureau

admission paper meaning

Top ten imports and exports to the Port of Baltimore in 2023

Electronic machinery

and electronics

farmwork and

construction

Iron and steel

spacecraft, parts

Note: not seasonally adjusted. Vehicles excluding railways and tramways. Nickel, aluminium,

paper and wood include derivatives of those commodities

admission paper meaning

spacecraft,

bedding, lights

Note: not seasonally adjusted. Vehicles excluding railways and tramways. Nickel, aluminium, paper and wood include

On Tuesday, the Port of Baltimore said that vessel traffic would be suspended in and out of the port until further notice, but trucks would still be processed in its terminals.

“Baltimore’s not one of the biggest ports in the United States, but it’s a good moderate-sized port,” said Campbell University maritime historian Sal Mercogliano. It has five public and 12 private terminals to handle port traffic.

admission paper meaning

North Locust

Point Marine

Ports and terminals

Baltimore Port

Truck Plaza

Seagirt Marine

Dundalk Marine

Shipping channels

CSX Coal Pier

Francis Scott

Hawkins Point

Marine Terminal

admission paper meaning

“It does cars, it does bulk carriers, it does containers, it does passengers.” said Mercogliano. “So this is going to be a big impact.”

Baltimore’s the top port in the nation for automobile shipments, having imported and exported more than 750,000 vehicles in 2022, according to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry group.

About three-quarters of the autos that travel through the port are imports, dominated by big-name brands, including Mazda and Mercedes-Benz. Most of the top companies have enough inventory sitting on U.S. dealer lots that any immediate impact on supply is unlikely, said Ambrose Conroy, chief executive of the consulting firm Seraph.

“It’s too early to say what impact this incident will have on the auto business, but there will certainly be a disruption,” said John Bozzella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation.

The port ranked second in the country for exporting coal last year, according to the state of Maryland. But it’s not a huge global supplier of thermal coal, and the disruption can likely be made up by replacements from Australia or Indonesia if needed, said Alexis Ellender, lead analyst at global trade intelligence company Kpler.

Baltimore is also a niche port for the soybean trade, focusing mostly on high-value soy used in tofu, miso, tempeh and organic products, according to Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. Most of those exports are destined for Asia, but Steenhoek doesn’t expect a big spike in tofu prices because several other U.S. ports also ship this sort of soy, including Norfolk, Va., Savannah, Ga. and Charleston, S.C.

All East Coast ports have become more important in recent years as the United States attempts to boost its trade with friendly nations and reduce geopolitical risks related to trade with China, which generally happens via West Coast ports, said Tinglong Dai, a Johns Hopkins Carey Business School professor and expert on global supply chains.

Baltimore port’s suspension is “one more disruption in an already-stressed system” for the global supply chain, said Abe Eshkenazi, chief executive of the Association for Supply Chain Management. Cargo will now have to be rerouted to other ports, which means figuring out where there is enough capacity to move things.

admission paper meaning

East Coast ports and shipping density

Ship traffic

Philadelphia

of Baltimore

5th-largest port

on the East Coast

for foreign trade

Newport News

Morehead City

admission paper meaning

East Coast ports

and shipping density

PENNSYLVANIA

The Port of Baltimore

5th-largest port on the

East Coast for foreign trade

Coal shipments will need to be rerouted to other ports, Kpler’s Ellender said. And Ryan Petersen, chief executive of the logistics company Flexport, posted on X that the company currently has 800 containers on a slew of ships heading for the port that will need to be rerouted, likely to Philadelphia or Norfolk.

The biggest problem Steenhoek sees from Baltimore’s shuttering is the knock-on effect to other ports. Many ships stuck in the port were destined to make stops at other U.S. ports to load and unload goods before heading overseas, a complicated logistical dance now scrambled by the bridge collapse.

“It just shows how you throw a wrench in the supply chain and the impact is not just confined to that one port,” Steenhoek said.

Tim Meko, Justine McDaniel and David J. Lynch contributed to this report. Editing by Kate Rabinowitz and Karly Domb Sadof.

Baltimore bridge collapse

How it happened: Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed after being hit by a cargo ship . The container ship lost power shortly before hitting the bridge, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) said. Video shows the bridge collapse in under 40 seconds.

Victims: Divers have recovered the bodies of two construction workers , officials said. They were fathers, husbands and hard workers . A mayday call from the ship prompted first responders to shut down traffic on the four-lane bridge, saving lives.

Economic impact: The collapse of the bridge severed ocean links to the Port of Baltimore, which provides about 20,000 jobs to the area . See how the collapse will disrupt the supply of cars, coal and other goods .

Rebuilding: The bridge, built in the 1970s , will probably take years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild , experts said.

  • Baltimore bridge collapse: Crane arrives at crash site to aid cleanup March 29, 2024 Baltimore bridge collapse: Crane arrives at crash site to aid cleanup March 29, 2024
  • Officials studied Baltimore bridge risks but didn’t prepare for ship strike March 29, 2024 Officials studied Baltimore bridge risks but didn’t prepare for ship strike March 29, 2024
  • Baltimore begins massive and dangerous cleanup after bridge collapse March 28, 2024 Baltimore begins massive and dangerous cleanup after bridge collapse March 28, 2024

admission paper meaning

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