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A bland admission essay can put an overworked college rep to sleep

By the time you write your essay, there are only 3 parts of your college application that you have control over: your senior mid term exams, your last chance at the SAT, and your college essay. Everything else is already in the books.

See an example of a college application essay, with a point-by-point critique.

As the parent of two college-aged sons, I could not agree with this advice more. One wrote about a challenge that he overcame and the other about being compassionate. Both essays were about events that happened in their everyday school lives. Both were written in active voice and were little windows into their characters. Neither used the words challenge or compassionate. I am convinced that it was the strength and sincerity of their essays that opened the doors at the top schools that said “Yes” to my sons. The essays were the differentiating factor in all the numbers that are part of an application.
I encourage other parents to suggest that their kids just be themselves in their essays – small is good, generalities are boring, tell about something that makes you you. Oh, and read The Gatekeepers – – it offers the best insights into the college admissions process of any of the dozens of books I read on the topic.

Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

Welcome to Essay Hell! On this site, you will learn tips, advice and strategies to write your dreaded college application essays—and escape the misery of Essay Hell.

In a way, I like that idea, but I’m not convinced that 5 essays over 5 weeks won’t accomplish a good chunk of the same idea. 25 over 25 weeks extends from the spring of junior year, when kids should really be focused on their schoolwork, into the beginning of senior year, when kids should be focused on the most college-like tasks they’ll have to take on during high school (assuming, that is, that their school is giving them enough of a challenge).

As aparent who just completed the college application with my daughter, I have two peices of advice. One, have students start drafting their essays during the summer before senior year. It is a time where they have little pressure. Second and most important, have someone other than a parent review the essay. No matter how hard we try, parents are jaded when it comes to their kids. Have someone who does not know your child review the essays. The feedback can be valuable.

Sample College Application Essay 1 - Get Ready for College

10 Tips for Writing the College Application Essay Don't sweat this part of the process, but do be prepared with a good topic and concise writing.

My younger brother is a high school junior, and he has Asperger’s. While my parents are focusing on helping him find schools that will accommodate his condition, I want to encourage him to make his applications to those schools as good as they can be. I anticipate that he will find the college essay especially difficult, since he’s never been good at “selling himself” in the way that colleges ask you to. Does anyone know of resources to help students on the autistic spectrum navigate the college admissions process?

Most college admission officers agree that a student’s character is the most difficult thing to measure on the application. College essays are the place for students to reveal their personal stories in an authentic, engaging and sincere way . In addition to what has already been mentioned, it’s important to read the essay prompts carefully and understand the intent of the question.

These were a few of the prompts from which students could choose to write a brief essay to accompany their college applications
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