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Writing Effective Essays for College Admission and Scholarships

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Mike Piero

on 7 April 2018

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Transcript of Writing Effective Essays for College Admission and Scholarships

Writing Effective Essays
for College Admission & Scholarships

What We'll Cover
Audience and responding to prompts
Writing as a process
Specificity and details
Avoiding clichés
Creating an image of yourself
Resources along the way
Think of it as a
Generally looking for intelligent, creative, curious, involved, persevering, empathetic, and hard-working students
They read TONS of these essays--
They have very little time - be concise
People love
The Prompt
If you have a choice, choose with intention
Read the prompt carefully, breaking it down into its smaller parts
Don't exceed the word limits of the prompt
Answer all the parts!
Research the University and Program
Visit College/University/Program websites and spend time
Try to discover more specifics about what they
Integrate what they value into your admission/scholarship essay
If applicable, address not only what you want from them, but what you can offer (and do so with confidence and a bit of humility).
The Writing Process
Prewriting-brainstorming, outlines, lists, graphic organizers, etc.
Drafting-get your ideas down on paper
Revision-re-envision your content, organization, emphasis, revisiting the original prompt with fresh eyes
Peer review: have someone else read it
Editing: ensure there isn't a single error or typo
Mike Piero, M.A.
Assistant Professor, English
Ph.D. Candidate, Old Dominion University
Honors Program Coordinator
Cuyahoga Community College
Westshore Campus


significant experience, achievement,
risk you
impact on you
Be Specific
Avoid Clichés
Tips on Writing Style
Think "small" - focus your essay on a specific event, moment, or aspect related to the prompt
Situate the essay in a specific time and place
Give them
thing by which to remember you
1. My favorite activities included fishing and cooking my daily catch.

2. My friends and I woke up early every morning to catch bass on Lake Erie, cooking our spoils with herbs picked from a local farm.

(Adapted from "Top 6")
"We’re not going to
beat around the bush
here: clichés really
get our goats
. When you take that
trip down memory lane
, telling us about the time you were a
mover and a shaker
your nose to the grindstone
it makes our
blood boil" ("Top 6").
Be concise, not wordy
Favor shorter sentences over really long sentences (even if you love Samuel Beckett)
Be careful with a thesaurus
Write in your voice, while acknowledging what the prompt is asking you for
Create an Image
When revising your essay, can you "label" yourself in a word or two?
"Oh, I really liked the fisherman chef essay."
Don't rehash your resume
Your image should entertain--by humor, novelty, controversy, description, epiphany, etc.
References and Resources
www.tri-c.edu/writingcenter or www.tri-c.edu/tutoring
"Top 6 Common Application Essay Tips." CollegeEssayAdvisors.com N.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2016
Lubell, Lynn. "19 Common Application Essay Mistakes and How to Avoid Them." InLikeMe.com N.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2016
Tufts University: http://admissions.tufts.edu/apply/advice/past-essays/common-application-essays/
Research, Plan Ahead, and Persevere
Full transcript