Over the past decade and a half, we have worked with a gifted staff of writers who've become incredibly familiar with the style and substance of admissions essays. They have helped students write and edit essays using a broad range of literary techniques, tones, themes and structures. But don't just take our word for it.
With the revolution of computerized text analysis, we can now start to determine which language dimensions in college admissions essays could be related to academic performance with an eye to understanding their underlying psychological or cognitive processes. There are several computerized essay-grading systems that assess content –, and many more sophisticated natural language processing (NLP) tools and algorithms for classifying texts –. Virtually all of these tools focus on people are writing rather than on the they write. An alternative way to explore people's writing styles is to focus on their use of function words using relatively simple word counting software programs such as Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC ).
"Reed College Admissions Essay"
Previous studies have found that function word use reflects personality and a variety of social and psychological processes. As noted earlier, function word use has also been associated with cognitive thinking styles and psychological states. The current project extends this work by demonstrating that the ways prospective college students use function words in their admissions essays can foretell their academic performance for up to four years.