You Already Wrote It.
Why Not Submit it?

Enter Your College Application Essay
in Essay Hell’s Heavenly Essays Contest!

One of the first things I advise students to do when they start working on their college application essay is read sample essays. There’s no better way to get topic ideas and learn how to write in a narrative style than by reading what other students have written. I usually direct them to a couple of my favorite collections of sample essays.

But after working with hundreds of students on these essays since 2008, I realized I have a source of wonderful samples. You guys! Many of you wrote your essays using my advice and guidance to find and tell your stories. And I know first-hand how terrific most of them are. It seems a shame that only a few people ever got to read them.

Cash Prizes! Become a Published Author! Help Other Students! 

So…I’m starting to collect the best essays and publish them in a book this spring. It will be called Heavenly Essays: Sample College Application Essays That Rose to the Top. Do you like that? (I’m always open to suggestions!) Each essay will include a brief analysis of what I think worked, and why, at the end.

I will try to contact former students to see if they would be willing to share their essays, and get out the word to others who are still working on theirs. What I love is that your essays almost always included many of the writing techniques that I teach, including lively anecdotes, snippets of dialogue, sensory details, and a lot of grit. You also wrote about “mundane” topics, connected with readers through emotion and pathos, and “showed” more than “told” in your essays.

I also know many students have written great essays without my guidance, and I would love a chance to read and consider those as well. (I happily will give credit to whoever helped students on their essays, such as a private college counselor, tutor, teacher, parent, etc., if they want to share that.)

How to Enter the Heavenly Essays Contest

Email your essays to me, Janine, at (Put Heavenly Essays Contest in the subject line.) Include in email:

1. Your first and last name

2. Your town/city and country

3. The essay prompt

4. The essay (attached as a Word file or copied into email)

5. College or university that you want to attend, or will attend, or currently attend.

6. Optional: Indicate who helped you with your essay, such as private college counselor, tutor, teacher, etc. (and I will give them credit in the book as well.)

The essays can be core essays for The Common Application, major universities or other schools, or transfer or supplemental essays.

I hope to publish about 50. By submitting your essay to this contest, you are giving me permission to publish it in my book, Heavenly EssaysI will only respond to your submission if I select your essay to be in my book, and/or if you are one of the prize winners.


I will pick my three top favorites, and the decision will be totally subjective (up to me):

First: $100 Amazon Gift Card
Second: $75 Amazon Gift Card
Third: $50 Amazon Gift Card

Everyone else who gets picked: You get to be in the book!

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments box (That way, others’ questions might be answered, too.) Other rules: You need to be 18 years or older to enter. Contest ends at the end of February. Winners announced in March.

Good luck! And I really appreciate any of you who take the time and effort to share their essays with me–and possibly the world!