A lot of pieces go into crafting a college application essay that will help you stand out from the competition, and quite possibly push you through the door to your dream school:

It needs to be engaging, especially at the start. (Here’s how you do that.)

It needs to have a topic that’s unique and interesting. (Here’s how you do that.)

It needs to showcase something about you that the college wouldn’t otherwise know. (Here’s how you do that.)

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The Best Way to “Show”
in Your College App Essay

 

When I started as a young reporter at my first newspaper job in Illinois, I was assigned to cover a half dozen small farm towns.

I didn’t think much would happen out there.

But after about a month, there was a gruesome double murder in one of the towns on my beat.

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or

Why Bad Writers
Write the Best
College Application Essays

 

If you think you can’t write, and you need to write a college application essay, this is your lucky day. There’s a higher-than-average chance you will write an awesome essay.

(If you think you can write, there’s still hope for you, too. But you might have more work to do.)

Let me start by asking you why you’re so sure that you can’t write, at least not well.

Is it because you got average to low grades in English class? Or even flunked out.

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college application essay

Short Answer:
ONE College Application Essay
for The Common App

 

The Common Application comes out officially August 1. But they already announced the changes for this coming 2015-16 season.

The most important were changes to the five essay prompts. (You can write your main Common App essay about one of the five.)

Beside the prompts, there were two other significant tweaks you should know about:

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college application essay

 

The folks at The Common Application added a new prompt this year and I love it.

It asks you to write about a problem.

What’s so great about a problem?

Problems = Stories = Great Essays!

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college application essay

 

I’m not sure how many high schools require their English teachers to help students write college application essays, but those that do could give their juniors and seniors a huge advantage in the college admissions game.

For many students, an assignment to write one of these essays for English class will be the only outside help they get. 

But if a high school decides to have its English teachers include these essays in their curriculum, it’s important to get them right.

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college application essay

I’m Giving It Away to 50 Lucky Students!

 

UPDATE 5-30-2015: This offer is over. Sorry!

 

I’m offering my new mini online course, How to Write a College Application Essay, to the first 50 students who send me a request via email.

I will send you a link, which will bring you to the host site, Udemy. And you take it from there.

The course only takes about an hour to go through the 11 short tutorials and related handouts, and walks you step-by-step through the brainstorming, writing and editing process.

It’s the exact approach I take with my private tutoring students and use during my workshops—so I know it works!

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college application essay

Colleges Encourage Students to Write About $ and Work
in College Application Essays

 

The New York Times today published the seven college application essays it liked the best for its contest about writing on the topic of money.

Most of the winners wrote about their experiences facing various types of financial hardship and challenges.

They are worth reading simply as sample essays, which could give you ideas for topics of your own.

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college application essay

 

I’m always on the lookout for new voices in the college admissions industry who try to help students and parents and all of us keep a balanced and sane perspective on the frenzied quest for the perfect college.

Kristin White, an educational consultant who wrote It’s the Student, Not the College: The Secrets of Succeeding at Any School: Without Going Broke or Crazy, does a great job of explaining how a student’s success has little to do with where they get in, even if it’s one of the 20 prestige schools so many believe they must attend or their lives will be ruined.

I asked Kristin if she would share her opinions on how she thinks about the college application essays, and she wrote this guest post on what is behind every great and effective essay—strong writing skills. As she explains in this piece, strong writing chops can not only help you nail your college admissions essays, they are powerful skills that will help power your college experience as well as your effectiveness in the workplace.

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Here’s a guest post by a talented college application essay writing coach named Ethan Sawyer. I love what he shares about how important it is to have both an engaging story at the start of an essay, and then a key insight that reveals what it meant.

From Ethan:

Ira Glass, in his awesome 5-minute video series, talks about the two ingredients necessary for a great story:

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