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…)
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…)
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…)
Photo Via Goop
This might seem random, but I found some powerful writing advice on the blog of Gwyneth Paltrow that I believe is relevant to students writing their college application essays, and others, especially women.
The woman Paltrow recently featured in her blog, Goop, had
some opinions about how women have unconscious habits in their speech and writing that cause them to come across as less confident and competent.
And they hit me hard.
When I thought about it, I was surprised how my lingering insecurities and self-esteem issues still creep into my writing, and even how I talk.
So I thought you might would find them interesting, too. (more…)
Storytelling “Clues” from a Master
for your College Application Essay
If anyone knows how to spin a great story, it’s this guy: Andrew Stanton. Ok, I hadn’t heard of him before either, but I certainly know about his films: All the Toy Story movies, Monsters, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, WALL-E, and a ton more. If you are working on your college application essay, you grew up with all these popular animated films.
Stanton is an American filmmaker with Pixar studios, and he recently gave a TED talk about what makes a story powerful. His greatest storytelling commandment? “Make me care,” he says. (more…)