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Copy of College Essays

Information and strategies for strong college essays.
by

Jennifer Martin

on 8 September 2016

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Transcript of Copy of College Essays

What are colleges looking for?
grades
extracurriculars
test scores
the essay
need to know:
250 to 650 words
why you?
no errors
The Common App
Over 700 schools now use the
Common Application
The Common
App has 5 prompts
Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
What to do
What NOT to do
Let your voice shine through.
Let them see your character.
Be clear and concise.
Have a clear focus.
Make them want to meet you.
Show, don't tell.
Don't go over the top
Don't go on and on
Don't try to do too much
Don't make careless mistakes
TIPS
INFO
y
u.
They are looking for you;
they just don't know it yet.
Your job is to let them know.
You do this in your
college application.
one thing they look at is
They are also looking at
and
Common Mistakes
Topics to Avoid
*Your relationship with your girlfriend or your boyfriend (or, for God's sake, how you lost your virginity--seriously, admission officers admit they get more of these than they would like to see!)
*Your trip overseas, unless truly worthy.
*"The Best Game of My Life" or other athletic incidents written in glib style.
*Your college entrance exam (ACT or SAT) scores.
*Your drug use (really, don't use this one!)
*Your political views.
*Your religious views.
*Big, vague topics such as how you plan to contribute to world peace.
*An autobiography: "Hello, my name is…”
*Dead pet stories; also be very careful with dead relative stories.
It is a personal essay and you should be "selling" yourself, but if it comes across as TOO
exceptional, college admission readers will
doubt its authenticity!
Exaggeration of Your Accomplishments
You Have Someone Else Write the Essay
*Admission essay readers are experts in spotting the "DBD" essay--"Done by Daddy".

*Also have become good at spotting (and finding) sample essays from the Internet.
You Use Gimmicks to Get the Reader's Attention
*Do not send your essay folded into origami.
*Do not emboss your essay on the wrapper of a five pound bar of chocolate.
*Do not cut up your essay into jigsaw pieces with an attachment announcing: "Your school is where I fit in!"
*Do not send in Hitler-themed artwork as your essay.
*Do not do this as your essay:
Avoid Bad First Sentences
*This is the very first impression the admission readers will get of you. Don't immediately doom your essay from the very start!
*“SURE, LOTS OF KIDS LIKE TO START FIRES, BUT HOW MANY OF THEM HAVE A PROPANE TORCH, GALLONS OF ACCELERANTS, AND A BASKET OF DRY RAGS?”
*“I WANT TO BE A PEDIATRIC MARINE BIOLOGIST BECAUSE I LIKE THE OCEAN, SMALL THINGS, AND ANIMALS :)!”—YES, SHE REALLY USED AN EMOTICON!
* "I have many reasons for applying to MIT. I have heard great things about MIT. It’s a good party place, and I don’t like work because work is something I really really don’t like to do. I think that if we hired monkeys to do the work, humans could spend more time getting down and reproducing."
PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD!
THERE IS SIMPLY NO EXCUSE FOR STUPID ERRORS. CIRCULATE A DRAFT OF YOUR ESSAY AROUND FOR MISTAKES TO BE SPOTTED.
Victims of NOT Proofreading:
“I would love to attend a college where the foundation was built upon women.”
“Playing the saxophone lets me develop technique and skill which will help me in the future, since I would like to become a doctor.”
“I look at each stage as a challenge, and an adventure, and as another experience on my step ladder of life.”
“I enjoyed my bondage with the family and especially with their mule, Jake.”
The Most Bizarre Essay Topics I've Seen:
Alice falls down the rabbit hole. Milo drives through the tollbooth. Dorothy is swept up in the tornado. Neo takes the red pill. Don’t tell us about another world you’ve imagined, heard about, or created. Rather, tell us about its portal. Sure, some people think of the University of Chicago as a portal to their future, but please choose another portal to write about. (University of Chicago, 2016)
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/504/how-i-got-into-college
Top Ten Ways to Make Your College Application Stand Out--Late Show with David Letterman
*'Why on earth babies get burnt? Into ashes they get turnt.' (it was part of an original poem that began the essay...)
If you could choose to be raised by robots, dinosaurs, or aliens, who would you pick and why? (Brandeis University, 2010)
Tell us about
spiders.
(University of
Richmond,
2014)
Give us your top ten list. (Wake Forest, 2009)
There are 27 amendments to the Constitution of the US. What should be the 28th? (UNC-Chapel Hill, 2016)
But does that mean that they KNOW who you are?
One of the best ways that college/university admission departments can get a truer sense of who YOU are is through the college application essay.
Here is a link to the list of colleges & universities that use the Common App in 2016-2017:
http://www.commonapp.org/explore-colleges
"I’ve been a strong advocate of the abomination of drunk driving."
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical Hamilton has become a cultural phenomenon. It weaves together history with rap and hip hop through the often overlooked story of Alexander Hamilton. Choose an unsung historical figure who deserves the “Hamilton” treatment. (Wake Forest, 2016)
Full transcript