Winning College Essays

The glow from the laptop reflects off his forehead as he stares at the screen, paralyzed by panicked perfectionism.

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Most admission committees are looking for capable and competitive students academically—once academic ability is vetted, an essay plays an important role in helping committees build their class with interesting classmates and roommates.

Committees aren't looking for the perfect essay, topic, or set of activities and achievements—we simply want an interesting, authentic, and well-written glimpse into a student's life.

  If all else fails you can default to the last prompt, which is essentially topic of your choice. Do not write your way into the essay by simply restating the initial prompt or question.

Instead, put the reader in the moment by painting a picture and then elaborate on why it is important.

The college essay is not a test to see if you can read minds or anticipate what the admission office wants to hear.

Plain and simple, they want to know about you, how well you write and how self-aware you are. Regardless of the topic about which you choose to write, be sure the essay reveals more about you than the other characters or places in the story.His young mind races from topic to topic, each of which he dismisses immediately. His meaningful relationship with his deceased grandfather…overdone.The first time he received a grade below an “A” on an English paper...trite.It is a test to see if you can get out of your head and open your heart.It is an exercise in exploring self—what makes you who you are, not who everyone thinks you should be.What results is often a generic statement that lacks energy or personality.Write the story that you want to express and then choose the prompt with which it best aligns.If all else fails you can default to the last prompt, which is essentially topic of your choice. Do not write your way into the essay by simply restating the initial prompt or question.Don't spend precious word space impressing us with your knowledge of the school, rather present your argument for how you envision yourself participating in academic and social life at the school." The moral to the college essay is that there need not be a moral.” This is the perfectionist’s calling card in seeking validation that the essay is good enough.Students often ask if they should work on another draft or if their essay is sufficiently polished.

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