Best College Application Essays Have Touch of Gray

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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

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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

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…)

How to Write Anecdotes: The Story Behind My New Video Tutorial

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. (more…)

Want to Take My New College App Writing Course for FREE?

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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! (more…)