Clemson University Admission Essay

CLEMSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

It's not just the holidays that are coming right up, but it's that time of the year again for high school seniors as college application deadlines loom.

So as students scramble to write impeccable essays and put forth their best impressions, FOX Carolina went to the admissions experts at the region's biggest university.

Before college freshmen can enjoy their time in Death Valley, their grades, test scores and personal statements need to arrive at Sikes Hall on Clemson University's campus.

This year, 34 staffers in the admissions office expect the highest number of applicants ever.

Robert Barkley, the school's Director of Admissions, said they've had at least a thousand more applications than they did at this time last year.

He said, along with university marketing, the Tigers' football field success and stint hosting college game day, twice, brought a lot of new eyes toward this upstate campus.

But that popularity means the field for acceptance will be competitive.

Barkley called the application the students' initial dialogue with the university, one in which they can share what kind of people they are and how they may fit in to the institution.

For the last 28 years, Barkley's reviewed transcripts and test scores and seen his share of application "errors."

He said one time, an American student responded to a question for international students that asked about their visa statuses. The student, Barkley said, told them about their credit card information.

Barkley said the newer online application now leads to fewer mistakes, but even spell check has caused issues for some applicants.

He saw one application whose International Baccalaureate scholar wrote that she had been involved in the "International Bachelorette" program through high school.

Barkley suggests to be careful when copying and pasting essays when applying to multiple colleges.

"[There was] the student who sent the Clemson application in and said, it's always been my dream to attend to Wake Forest," explained Barkley.

Barkley wants students to proof their work, but also, have other people proof it before it's submitted. He said his staff doesn't always pass judgment on small gaffes, but application grammar and content do matter.

And he wasn't incredibly impressed by, "The young lady who said, I look good on paper, and even better in real life."

Barkley hopes students remember that the admissions staff are adults, so students should direct their responses to an adult audience.

It's that audience that is deciding a student's future based on the written application that's submitted.

Many colleges have a priority deadline coming up soon. At Clemson, the deadline is Dec. 1.

Clemson's admissions office said they'll take applications through May 1, but most of their freshman class will be full by February or March, so it's best to get applications submitted in the next few weeks.

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

When you come to Clemson, you are immediately welcomed home as part of the family — offering a sense of place and lifelong connections.

Game-changing research, a focus on serving our community, rigorous academics, high-caliber faculty, spirited family. It’s all in a day’s work at Clemson. Our community of students, teachers, scholars and staff collaboratively anticipate and meet the needs of our rapidly changing world — in whatever form that takes.

This is the place you will remember forever and long to return to years after you leave.


Come discover what drives you. Learn to be a leader, and connect with teachers who can show you what matters most and then help you land your first real job. Come see why we’re one of the top-25 public universities in the nation.


Clemson’s commitment to graduate education has seen a 96 percent increase in doctoral enrollment in the past decade. Our students have the advantage of studying with top professionals in their field at a nationally ranked research university on Clemson’s main campus as well as at sites around the state.

Alternative Paths

Not every path to Clemson is the same. We understand that. So whether you’re starting our Bridge to Clemson program, are just getting around to starting your degree, are coming back to school or want to take classes for professional development, we have a path for you to reach your goal.

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Inquiries or complaints of discrimination or harassment may be sent to Jerry Knighton, Director of Access and Equity and the University Title IX Coordinator at 864-656-3184 or email


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