Peabody is the building, Jack is the dog, and I'm Dean J (she/her, btw).

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Welcome to Essay Week!

I'm writing this on Sunday morning, two weeks into the Early Action reading season. I've already read a few hundred files, but as I was reading my first file today, I remembered something that had people in a panic a few weeks ago that really wasn't anything about which to worry.

Fonts. I can't tell you how many emails I got about fonts last month. The Common App's essay boxes were doing funky things to text formatting. One of the more common (ha ha) issues was that the font would change when an applicant (at least I hope it was the applicant) used italics or underlining in their essay. 

People were really scared that we would penalize them over fonts or improper italics or underlining. 

If you could see what we look like a couple months into reading season, you would know that we aren't in a position to criticize anyone when it comes to appearance. I'm not interested in how pretty your essays look. I'm interested in the stories they tell. Content wins over appearance every single time. I have never had a colleague say "this essay isn't very deep, but it looks so nice on the screen." 

Little known fact: before we were a Common App school, we had our own UVa-only application. The essays came to us in 6 point font. It was hilariously tiny. We all toggled between magnification strengths on our monitors and squinted our way through the essay section of our application. Can you imagine the eye strain? 

Based on your comments, I'm making this the week of the essay. Ask whatever questions you have about essays in the comments (some have already come in via twitter and comments on past posts) and I'll cover them this week. Maybe I can alleviate some of the stress you've been feeling about this part of the application.

This is how CavDog deals with stress.

Anyone catch that I changed the font of this post from my default one?