The EssaysThatWorked Rating Scale
What is the EssaysThatWorked rating scale for essays? And how does it work? We explain it all here.
About Our RatingsWhy have a rating scale anyway?
College essay writing is subjective. But we also know that admissions officers are drawn to certain things in an essay because we've seen it time and time again.
We know the quality of our essay examples varies. Our goal is to show the different kinds of essays that can be accepted, but its no doubt that many factors (not just essays) contribute to a student's application.
That's why we created a simple rating scale to help give you an idea of what we think about each essay, as well as what admissions officers may think about it.
Our rating scale provides helpful context for each essay. It isn't a definitive answer, just our subjective opinion (but an opinion which has been formed by reading thousands of application essays!)
How does the rating scale work?
For each essay we analyze, we rate it from A+ to C, and everything in between.
How do you determine an essay's rating?
When rating an essay, we consider the following aspects:
- Does it have insightful and unique ideas?
- Does it show a student's ability to think critically and creatively?
- Are its ideas well-developed and conveyed in a clear and compelling way?
- Does it show an attractive and likable sense of personality?
- Does it feel genuine and authentic?
- Is it completely original and couldn't be written by anyone else?
- Is the essay engaging and interesting to read?
- Does the hook grab the reader's attention, without being gimmicky or over-the-top?
- Does the conclusion leave the reader with a lasting impression? Is it memorable?
- Is this essay technically well-written (i.e. strong writing skills)?
- Are there grammatical errors? Is the essay well-edited?
- Does the essay flow well? Is the essay clearly thought out and well-organized?
And overall, the single most important question is:
“Does this essay show a student who admissions would love to admit?”
Taking all these questions into account, we rate each essay from A+ to C.
We also provide a short explanation for each rating, to help you understand why we gave it that rating.
Many essays also have inline annotations, which show exactly where we found the essay's strengths and weaknesses.
These annotations show up as green, yellow, or red for “Works well”, “Possible change”, and “Needs work”, respectively.
Disclaimers about our scale
A lower rating does not mean that the essay is bad.
After all, all our essays are written by real students accepted to top colleges.
Our ratings are our subjective opinion. We aren't the end all, be all! Essays we rate as “C” could be interpreted more positively depending on who reads it.
Our rating scale isn't to shame or criticize any students who wrote these essays.
Instead, we want to provide positive, constructive criticism so that all students can learn and improve their essays.
I hope this helps you understand our rating scale!
If you have any questions, or want your essay to be rated (i.e. get our feedback and editing), feel free to contact us.