How to Record Scratch Your College App Essay Stories

                     

How to Background an Anecdote

(Includes 5 writing examples at the bottom!)

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.

The idea is to find moments, incidents and experiences from your past that illustrate a larger point you want to make about yourself in your essay.

Often, the best place to share an engaging mini-story (also called an anecdote) is at the very start of your piece.

The anecdote (mini-story) serves to “hook” or grab your reader’s interest at the start—something you always want in a standout application essay.

However, once you share that little moment, incident or mini-story (anecdote) that you have plucked out of time with little to no introduction, where do you go after that first paragraph or two? (more…)

How to Self-Reflect for College App Essays

Who Are You?

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.

Sounds easy enough.

Who am I?

What am I like?

How did I get this way?

What do I care about?

How do I learn?

Why do I matter?

For some students, reflecting on and analyzing their backgrounds can be a snap.

They enjoy that type of introspective, heady thinking.

For others, it can feel intimidating and baffling.

No matter how you feel about this process, you need to know who you are—or at least have some opinions about this—in order to write a meaningful college application essay about yourself. (more…)

Best College Application Essays Have Touch of Gray

gray-point-background

Learn How to Avoid Black-and-White Thinking
to Add Depth to Your Essays

 

It’s exciting to see that word is getting out to collegebound students, and those who support their admissions quests, that real-life stories power the most effective college application essays.

If you are new to this concept, read up on the narrative (storytelling) writing method that I promote all over this blog.

(If you are just starting learning about college application essays, I recommend first reading How to Write a College Application Essay in 3 Steps. This post you are reading here is intended for students who have a topic and have started writing their first draft.)

Here’s the essence of my writing approach: You use your real-life stories to illustrate or demonstrate one of your defining qualities, characteristics or core values in your college application essay or personal statement.  (more…)

Warning: 5 Ways to Blow Your College Application Essay

application essay

 

How to Avoid College Application Essay
Booby Traps

No matter where you are with writing your college application essay, you should double check that you are on the right track.

It’s way too easy to inadvertently torpedo your chances of writing an essay that gives you an edge in the admissions game. (more…)

Dig Deep: Show Intellectual Vitality in Your College App Essay

shovel

Go Deep to Reveal Your Intellectual Vitality!

 

When writing narrative-style college application essays, I advise students to start by sharing a real-life story that illustrates one of their defining qualities or characteristics.

Once a student shares a real-life story with a problem (either big or small), they can go on to explain how they handled it.

Then comes the most important part: What they learned in the process.

This analysis, reflection or questioning is the most important part of an effective college application essay.

Why? (more…)

Dig Deep: How to Add Depth to Your College App Essays

 

Hand Drawn Lightbulb

Go Deep
in Your College Application Essay!

 

When writing narrative-style college application essays, I advise students to start by sharing a real-life story that illustrates one of their defining qualities or characteristics.

All stories contain some type of problem. It’s just the universal nature of all stories—there’s a conflict of some type. I call these problems.

Once a student shares a real-life story with a problem (either big or small), they are poised to explain how they dealt with it.

Then comes the most important part: What they learned in the process.

This analysis, reflection or questioning is the most important part of an effective college application essay. Why? Because this is where a student can show colleges how they think, what they care about and what they value.

It’s called “intellectual vitality.” (more…)