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Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay

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Telling Your Story to Colleges
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What Excellent College Essays Have in Common

I offer private tutoring and editing to help you rock your essays! Read the helpful posts click the flames and icons! Find my best-selling writing guides on Amazon by clicking on the covers to the left and right. So I guess this would be the perfect opportunity to say thank you! I feel like my essays definitely strengthened my entire application.

Brainstorm ideas and craft short essays for the eight new essay prompts for the University of California application. This is a brand new application system: Learn about the all-new prompts for the ApplyTexas application, and tips and advice on writing essays for Topic A, B and C. If you've done your homework on how to write an effective college application essay, you probably know the place to start is with your real-life stories.

Tips and Resources to Think About Yourself If you are working on your personal statement for The Common Application or other college applications, the first step is to start to think about yourself. What am I like?

Okay, so this is a bit of hyperbole on my part. All students have plenty to write about for their college application essays. However, from what I've seen working with college-bound students for the last decade, many of our most talented, driven and intelligent All you need is to find that one magic topic idea.

Should I be completely honest and mention my shortcomings. I am pretty much introverted and not a good conversationalist. Should I or should I not mention these. Your essay should help to give better, deeper insight into you as a person. As the post mentions, your essay should supplement the other parts of your application to help us understand you better.

Thank you for your question. The Common Application gives students the option to choose one of five essay prompts. You can read the essay promts on the Common Application site at http: Hi Hannah, thanks for your question and congratulations on finishing up your application.

This can vary depending on the specific application method you are using. I think you may be asking about the Common App, and in that case the short answer about activities is required to submit your application.

If you have more questions, please feel free to follow up. I made a mistake.. I submitted my application today and after looking back through my pieces of writing, I realized that I accidentally wrote a word twice in my personal statement and forgot a period, and I also failed to include a small word in my topic sentence for my activities essay on the common app.

Apparently, I was far too excited to hit submit. I would hate to have my admission chances suffer because of this. Hi Hannah, thank you for checking in on this. Emailing your admissions counselor is absolutely the right course of action, and I am sure they will handle it from here. And thanks for your enthusiasm about Vanderbilt! Maybe instead, a Fixer-Upper could be a tall girl with a deep love for Yankee Candles.

Maybe it could be me. Bridget the Fixer-Upper will be slightly different than the imaginary one who paints houses and fetches Frisbees. I was lucky enough to discover what I am passionate about when I was a freshman in high school.

On my first day, I learned that it was for developmentally-disabled students. To be honest, I was really nervous. I hadn't had too much interaction with special needs students before, and wasn't sure how to handle myself around them.

Long story short, I got hooked. Three years have passed helping out in APE and eventually becoming a teacher in the Applied Behavior Analysis summer program.

I love working with the students and watching them progress. When senior year arrived, college meetings began, and my counselor asked me what I wanted to do for a career, I didn't say Emperor of the World.

Instead, I told him I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst. A BCBA helps develop learning plans for students with autism and other disabilities. Basically, I would get to do what I love for the rest of my life.

He laughed and told me that it was a nice change that a seventeen-year-old knew so specifically what she wanted to do. I smiled, thanked him, and left. But it occurred to me that, while my desired occupation was decided, my true goal in life was still to become a Fixer-Upper.

I'll do one thing during the day, then spend my off-hours helping people where I can. Instead of flying like Sue, though, I'll opt for a nice performance automobile.

My childhood self would appreciate that. Bridget takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but her essay is just as detailed and engaging. Let's go through some of the strengths of her essay.

The essay is arranged chronologically. Bridget starts each paragraph with a clear signpost of where we are in time:. I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst. It helps that the metaphor is a very clear one: Every childhood Fixer-Upper ever. Ask your parents to explain the back row to you. This essay uses many techniques that make Bridget sound genuine and make the reader feel like we already know her.

The second technique is the way Bridget coins her own terms, carrying them through the whole essay. It would be easy enough to simply describe the people she imagined in childhood as helpers or assistants, and to simply say that as a child she wanted to rule the world.

The third technique is to use sentences of varying length, syntax, and structure. Most of the essay's written in standard English and uses grammatically correct sentences. However, at key moments, Bridget emphasizes that the reader needs to sit up and pay attention by switching to short, colloquial, differently punctuated, and sometimes fragmented sentences.

The last key moment that gets the small-sentence treatment is the emotional crux of the essay. As we watch Bridget go from nervously trying to help disabled students to falling in love with this specialty field, she undercuts the potential sappiness of the moment by relying on changed-up sentence length and slang: The best essays convey emotions just as clearly as this image.

Explain the car connection better. The essay begins and ends with Bridget's enjoying a car ride, but this doesn't seem to be related either to the Fixer-Upper idea or to her passion for working with special-needs students. It would be great to either connect this into the essay more, or to take it out altogether and create more space for something else.

It makes perfect sense that Bridget doesn't want to put her students on display. It would take the focus off of her and possibly read as offensive or condescending. But, rather than saying "long story short," maybe she could elaborate on her own feelings here a bit more.

What is it about this kind of teaching that she loves? What is she hoping to bring to the lives of her future clients? How can you use this discussion to better your own college essay? Here are some suggestions for ways to use this resource effectively.

Make a note whenever you find an essay or part of an essay that you think was particularly well-written, and think about what you like about it. Does it help you really get to know the writer? Does it show what makes the writer unique? Once you have your list, keep it next to you while writing your essay to remind yourself to try and use those same techniques in your own essay.

When you figure out how all the cogs fit together, you'll be able to build your own All of these essays rely on connecting with the reader through a heartfelt, highly descriptive scene from the author's life.

It can either be very dramatic did you survive a plane crash? Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world. Let me level with you: And in order to have time to rewrite, you have to start way before the application deadline. Let it sit for a few days untouched. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and think critically about what you've written.

What is in the wrong place? What doesn't make sense? Don't be afraid to take it apart and rearrange sections. Do this several times over, and your essay will be much better for it! Interested in learning more about college essays?

Working on the rest of your application? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:.

Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia.

She is passionate about improving student access to higher education. You should definitely follow us on social media.

A Strong College Application essay Will make you stand out from the crowd.

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Write your own awesome personal statement with our COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY LAB, which will guide you through the process, providing tips and even more examples along the way. Before you start, check out our own sample essays—or scroll down for the Best of .

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Finally, I’ll break down two of these published college essay examples and explain why and how they work. With links to full essays and essay excerpts, this article will be a great resource for learning how to craft your own personal college admissions essay!

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Check out these sample college application essays to see what a successful college application essay looks like and stimulate your own creativity. A great essay can help you get accepted to your dream school. A mediocre essay can contribute to rejection. 5 FATAL FLAWS TO AVOID IN YOUR COLLEGE PERSONAL STATEMENT. College admissions officers read thousands of college application essays. These tips and strategies can help you make a strong impression. exceptional application essays can help students with marginal scores get into the schools of their dreams. The tips below will help you win big with your essay. Tips for Writing a Winning Personal.