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Writing the College Essay

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UNC Launch

on 30 October 2014

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Transcript of Writing the College Essay

College Essays 101
Ice breaker
The college essay can be the most important part of your application. This is where your personality can shine, where your inner Shakespeare can be let loose, and where your story can truly be told by the person who knows it best - you! All else equal, the essay can turn a mediocre applicant into a must have student for a college. Many schools require additional essays in addition to the common app essay. Be sure to check requirements!
Writing an essay doesn't have to be hard, but there is an art that everyone can master.
Major Essay Types
The "you" Question
The "why us" Question
The "creative" Question
"The ancient Romans started it when they coined the phrase "Carpe diem." Jonathan Larson proclaimed "No day but today!" and most recently, Drake explained You Only Live Once (YOLO). Have you ever seized the day? Lived like there was no tomorrow? Or perhaps you plan to shout YOLO while jumping into something in the future. What does #YOLO mean to you?"
- Tufts University Prompt

"Carolina encourages students and faculty to solve problems. What problem are you trying to solve, and why is it important to you?"
- UNC 2013 Essay Prompt
Focus one or just a few thoughts
Be yourself. This isn't your resume!
"What makes you a good candidate for admission at [insert university name]?"
- Pretty Much Every College
This is the most common question
Do your research and come up with specific reasons!
These essays allow you to flex your creative muscles. Don't be afraid to think outside the box!

Step up to the Podium and share your story
Take a minute and discuss how you would respond to this essay
Choose a topic that will highlight you
Show, don't tell
Use your own voice
Ask someone for advice and to proofread
Be unique!
Sound educated, humble, and positive
Answer the question!
Don't lie
Don't excessively go over the word count
Don't write about something unfamiliar
Don't write about "taboo" subjects (i.e drug usage etc..)
Don't write excuses
Don't write a resume
Don't forget to answer the question!
What are some other rules to consider when writing a college essay? Discuss with your groups.
What should you write about?

Pick a topic that’s of real importance in your life – not what you “think” you should write about. An essay written about something you care deeply for or are passionate about will always end up sounding more genuine than an essay about something “cool.”

“Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make the best essays. Some of my favorites have included essays that reflect on the daily subway ride to school, or what the family goldfish observed
from the fishbowl perched on the family kitchen table. It doesn’t have to be a life-changing event to be interesting and informative.”

- Marth Merrill, Dean of Admissions at Connecticut College

Take a moment and shout out some topics that you want to write about
Some Common Essay Topics
Extracurricular Activities (Club, Sports, Music)
Learning Experiences
Work Experience
Special Accomplishments
Adverse Situations or Challenges
Cultural Background
Full transcript