What makes a piece of writing "good?"
Something that I, and I imagine many others, have found incredibly frustrating throughout my education is that grading of writing is entirely subjective. What one english teacher thinks is an A+ job, another may think deserves a C. That being said, it is difficult to evaluate what makes writing objectively "good." Of course, this also depends upon the type of writing being discussed. For the sake of this question, I will focus only on academic writing. Personally, I believe that strong academic writing is any that has a strong, clear voice. It is important that the reader can "hear" the writer's opinion. It is equally as important that writing be concise. An essay is simply not the place for flowery imagery and detailed language. Rather, it is an outlet for persuasion through the use of easily understood evidence presented in simple language.
Why is the study of psychology important?
Psychology is arguably one of the most important subjects in that in studying psychology, we study ourselves. Learning how our minds think about and process things can help us in studying any other subject. Studying psychology also allows us to better understand others, which can have a wonderful impact on our relationships with those around us.
With so many talented, qualified students, what is the best way students can stand out in college admissions?
The number one way to stand out in the college admissions process is to have a coherent story that they can weave together from the various pieces of evidence you give them. In other words, your transcripts, test scores, activities, and essay should all point to some common theme of what makes this applicant tick. It is especially helpful to highlight passions. For example, if your passion is math and your essay is about your experience winning the mathlete championships, it would reason that your transcript shows your highest grades in advanced math classes, your activities reflect involvement in math related clubs, and your test scores are especially high in the math sections. In terms of test prep, the best way to achieve this is through repetition. The tests are structured in a similar enough way that the more you practice, the easier it is to figure out what they're really asking for in each type of question. Learning how to recognize and respond to these patterns can drastically improve test scores.