Here’s a piece from the New York Times’ Choice blog – this piece is specifically targeted to students in India applying to American colleges. But the advice is well-taken by anyone applying to college. In short, the advice is this: use your college essay to tell admissions offices who you are as a human being. They know your grades, they know how involved you have been in extra-curricular activities. But the essay is your chance to show them the person behind those numbers and checked-off boxes.
In case the link stops working, I’ve also uploaded a PDF of this article on the Resources and Links page.