Whatever the essay prompt or topic, there are a few universal tips for writing an awesome college essay:. That stuff is all in your application. Not too personal, of course. Avoid crossing the line into TMI. Lombardi advises "When it comes to the college application essay, the ball is fully in your court.
What you write is entirely up to you. Putting your ideas into the right words may take time. Be sure that you give yourself that time. You might want to use an outline, laying out your main points, developing supporting ideas, and sequencing your thoughts logically. This should help you to organize a clear rough draft. If you begin taking these steps well ahead of your deadline, you should have plenty of time to read through your own work, make revisions, share your essay with others, and incorporate feedback into future drafts.
According to Erica Curtis, a former Admissions Evaluator at Brown University , "we really had to keep up a rigorous reading pace with the regular decision applicant pool. We were expected to read 5 applications per hour, which equates to twelve minutes per application. In those twelve minutes, I reviewed the application, standardized test scores, the transcript, the personal statement, and multiple supplemental essays—all while taking notes and making a decision on the admissibility of the applicant.
Your writing should be sharp, focused, and relevant. And of course, whatever you write, make sure it actually addresses the prompt. Be creative, but also be concise. Tell a story that is short, sweet, and narrowly focused on a single event or idea. And never, ever exceed the instructed word count.
This advice applies to most creative writing situations. We assume some well-meaning English teacher shared this advice with you in high school. Well…respect to your English teacher. That story shows your hard work, dedication, and generosity without ever referring explicitly to these fantastic qualities.
Of course, your story should also be true. Part of making your story true is finding your voice. This means establishing a style but also writing in language that feels natural. You get the idea. Lombardi advises, "the biggest mistake a student can make with the essay is not using their authentic voice.
This can result from writing their essay in a way they think schools want to hear or using words that are not in their everyday vocabulary. Do the words coming out sound like their own? Like other parts of the application, writing is a process. Students who give it the time it deserves will have more time to write, step away, rewrite, and ultimately submit an essay that truly reflects who they are.
Speaking of future drafts, one of the best things you can do is run your essay by a trusted family member, educator, advisor, or friend. Get feedback from somebody whose opinion you respect. This feedback will give you a sense of how well your ideas are coming across to the reader, how compelling your story is, and how you might be able to improve your essay. These additional eyes are also critical when it comes to proofing your work, catching typos you might have missed, and helping to refine writing that is unclear or off-topic.
Their schoolwork and teachers are preparing them to make the transition to college, and their teachers and counselors are there to help guide them through the process. Students can take advantage of writing centers, classes, or workshops that are being offered for free at their schools or in their communities. We are proud to work with the American College Application Campaign and others committed to helping students access higher education. Students can also check out WhyApply for great resources.
The following examples are excerpts drawn from actual essays submitted by students who successfully earned admission into various schools of choice. These have been shared publicly by the schools identified below and should provide you with a sense of the features that admissions officers are looking for in a strong college essay.
Write an Intriguing Opening Line, and tell us why it matters. While waiting for him to finish working one night, I wandered from the modestly finished space at the front of the building to the shop in back, which featured high ceilings and imposing stacks of shelves. I was fascinated by the dusty machines with tubes, knobs, and old cracked nozzles.
Thirty minutes later, armed with a bowl haircut, a pair of safety glasses, and a healthy dose of self-confidence, I was ready to take on the world. Some instruments are built to make multiple notes, like a piano. However, I discovered that you can play multiple notes simultaneously on the saxophone. While practicing a concert D-flat scale, I messed up a fingering for a low B-flat, and my instrument produced a strange noise with two notes.
Take the reader on a journey that involves a change in the central character which is you, of course! For instance, Tommy from the Hamilton College Class of , wrote:. Drive your story home by showing how your journey shaped who you are today. Leave the reader with something to think about, a strong conclusion that ties up your essay, reiterates your main point, and delivers the reader to a meaningful final destination, ideally a destination that shows you are ready for college.
The examples, tips, topics and prompts outlined above should help you rock your college application essay. And hopefully, this is an illuminating part of the process, one that not only helps you get into the college of your choice, but one that also helps prepare you for success once you get there. The interest in serving and understanding people has never changed, yet I realized I could make a greater difference doing something for which I have a deeper passion, political science.
Pursuing dual degrees in both Psychology and Political Science, I was provided an opportunity to complete a thesis in Psychology with Dr. As an undergraduate, I was privileged to gain extensive research experience working in a research lab with Dr. During the three years I worked in her lab, I aided in designing a study, writing an Institutional Review Board IRB application, running participants through both pilot and regular studies, coding data, and analyzing said data, with these experiences culminating in my honors thesis.
Participating in such a large study from start to finish has validated my interest in academic research as a profession. This fall I will embark on writing an additional honors thesis in political science. While the precise topic of my thesis is undecided, I am particularly interested in Mexico and its development towards a more democratic government. Minoring in Spanish, I have read various pieces of literature from Mexico and have come to respect Mexico and Latin American culture and society.
I look forward to conducting this research as it will have a more qualitative tilt than my thesis in psychology, therefore granting an additional understanding of research methodology. My present decision to switch from social psychology to political science is further related to a study abroad course sponsored by the European Union with Dr. Professor Mitchell obtained a grant to take a class of students to Belgium in order to study the EU.
This course revealed a direct correlation between what I had studied in the classroom with the real world. After spending several weeks studying the EU, its history and present movement towards integration, the class flew to Brussels where we met with officials and proceeded to learn firsthand how the EU functioned.
My interest in attending the University of Rochester in particular, relates to my first semester at OU and the opportunity to take an introductory course in statistics with the now retired Dr. Larry Miller. Through the combination of a genuine appreciation and knack for statistics and with his encouragement, I proceeded to take his advanced statistics class as well as the first graduate level statistics course at OU.
I continued my statistical training by completing the second graduate statistics course on model comparisons with Dr. Roger Johnson, a Professor in the Psychology Department. The model comparison course was not only the most challenging course I have taken as an undergraduate, but the most important.
As the sole undergraduate in the course and only college algebra under my belt, I felt quite intimidated. Yet, the rigors of the class compelled me to expand my thinking and learn to overcome any insecurities and deficits in my education. Top Outstanding Psychology Student award in statistics. This award is given to the top undergraduate student with a demonstrated history of success in statistics.
My statistical training in psychology orientates me toward a more quantitative graduate experience. While attending the University of Rochester, I would like to study international relations or comparative politics while in graduate school. I find the research of Dr. Additionally, my attendance would allow the Political Science department to make a more accurate determination on how well I would fit in to the program than from solely my graduate school application.
Attending the University of Rochester with its focus on quantitative training, would not only allow me to utilize the skills and knowledge I gained as an undergraduate, but also would expand this foundation to better prepare me to conduct research in a manner I find fascinating.
From attending S. I thrive on difficult tasks as I enjoy systematically developing solutions to problems. Attending the University of Rochester would more than likely prove a challenge, but there is no doubt in my mind that I would not only succeed but enable me to offer a unique set of experiences to fellow members of the incoming graduate class. The number of competitors in the Midwest Spelling Bee had dropped from to the thirty-some who remained after two waves of preliminaries, a group I was awed to be in.
The third round would likely be the last one carried out with pencil and paper. A sole word stood between me and the oral competition to follow. My approach to academic success in middle school consisted of rote memorization and stodgy study habits.
Fortunately for my sanity and social life, I have since discovered that learning derived from experience can introduce an invaluable layer of reality to otherwise useless knowledge. But, an error is an error, and my misspelling of the word earned me a disheartening dismissal from the Midwest Spelling Bee. I immediately resolved to learn about the man whose name was responsible for cheapening my years of poring over vocabulary lists and etymology guides.
Upon learning that Richard Wagner was one of the most prolific opera composers in history, I had to investigate. Along my inquisitive quest, I encountered two newfound passions: opera music and the pursuit of stimulating information. I am an unabashed classical music aficionado.
My enthusiasm came gradually over years of imposed piano lessons that eventually became voluntary as my interest in the activity piqued. I came to sense the profound communion with notes on a page arising from tinkering out the same rhythms and melodies that were manuscripts by musical geniuses centuries ago. However, because I could not perform it, I never thought to explore opera. Without my keen interest in Wagner, I may have never encountered the awe-inspiring blend of visual and musical mastery that constitutes his interpretation of the genre.
Opera swiftly captured my eye and ear for insightful art. For instance, in his landmark opera, Tristan und Isolde, Wagner unleashed a then-revolutionary tonal system which paved the way for twentieth century classical music. Fueled by my frustration with the outcome of the bee, I searched for the source of my failure. In uncovering the works of Wagner, I gleaned a sense of the vast droves of information that can lie behind a seemingly simple word. I suddenly became aware of my incapacity to seek out the surprising insights that the world might have been waiting to reveal.
Thanks to a reevaluation triggered by a failure, I garnered a new appreciation for experiential learning. Since my underwhelming performance nearly four years ago, I have become well versed in the mysterious, gritty art of inquiry. Rather than perceiving my environment to be a sterile list of terms with a neat pronunciation guide to boot, I am now eager to take in the uncommon wisdoms of everything from the innovative operatic tropes of Wagner to the fickle nature of bees—both the pollinating insects and their manmade homonyms.
The exclusiveness portrayed in Mean Girls led me to expect that high school would consist of like-minded cliques. Rather, in high school I found that a single commonality can unite a seemingly random sampling of people. Through marching band, this idea was embodied in a desire to perform music. The hierarchy of authority in marching band is one I have come to love, and not only because I achieved the top student position in it as a drum major.
In that role, I watched younger members hone their skills in an effort to contribute to the collective performance. The value of a uniform training followed by opportunities to lead is exemplified by the ambitious and talented student leaders produced. At UChicago, The Core serves a comparable purpose in preparing students for exhaustive academic exploration. I am enticed by the intensive inquiry and groundbreaking research that students partake in.
Yet, I appreciate the benefit of undergoing the rigorous Core first. UChicago emphasizes experiential learning, even in the College, which appeals to my desire to collaborate with other brilliant learners. When I visited campus, two specific encounters struck me.
Initially, the Institute of Politics attracted me with its hands-on approach to policy issues through programs like Student Civic Engagement projects. Following a lecture on bureaucracy that may have droned over the heads of less inspired students, I was surrounded by a hubbub of engaged thinkers convening through discussion.
Through marching band, I discovered a passion for influencing others. A travel through my room reveals almost everything about me. The walls are splashed with two tones of eye-burning pink, fairies dance across the vibrant wallpaper sprinkled with sparkles, a white-washed dresser covered in knick-knacks, and an overflowing toy box fit perfectly in this Technicolor dream room.
In one corner of my room, a paint-by-numbers portrait that my grandfather created in a World War II hospital silently tells its story. My grandfather, an Italian barber, raised six children in Bayonne, NJ with my grandmother. My grandparents worked hard to deliver the most American of promises — that your kids will have a better standard of living than you.
In that regard, my mother, who put herself through college to become an engineer, made good, affording to give me my own room, a luxury she never knew. Who would guess that this desk is also the launching pad of myYearbook. Layers of spec sheets, Post-Its, and emails form a sea of productivity that I find comforting. Half-drunk coke cans tell the tale of a dozen all-nighters, and someone who is at her most creative at night. The desk is not all business though.
My calculus and economics texts bookend my laptop, and a bouquet of dead flowers from my boyfriend rest in peace on my shelf, revealing a morbid sentimentality. The third corner holds my well-worn, folded-up gymnastics floor beam and barely used grips. Unlike many gymnasts though, I prefer not to wear the grips on bars because they make it harder to feel the bar. I started gymnastics when I was five, and since then my hands have earned their calluses, and I am proud of them.
It was my first significant project online and helped give me a sense of the power of the Internet to connect people. As part of the artist community WetCanvas. Sadly, I know this will not always be my room. The pink fairies will give way to adult- sized possessions and responsibilities. The knick-knacks will break, and the sanctuary of my childhood will soon seem so childish. I will look forward to the possibilities of creating another space, as uniquely my own as this one, and as uniquely a part of my past as this room will always be.
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He had methods for getting going that I didn't actually test. Writing advice is a little abstract and hard to read without getting bored, like reading about grammar. I This is a high 4 stars. I was dismayed that I didn't like the writing that he considered most effective, while the one essay I appreciated most was thoroughly disliked by 4 admissions officers.
This does not bode well for me as a reader of my children's efforts one day. However, I did agree with his comments on the writing in the middle, which is most of it. The author really conveyed how boring an essay can be, which helps, and he provided several stock essay topics to avoid unless you have a brilliant angle. I would probably read this again when my kids start working on college applications, and I would certainly give it to my kids to read about a year before they will be writing essays.
Prior to reading this book, I understood little to moderate about college essays. I already knew that your essay should somewhat be a narrative and you should show your story, not tell. Bauld broadened this idea by explaining the worst beginnings, including "the trip" and "my favorite list". A more interesting beginning would start with a "shocker" or a paradox. This book also gave an scenario of how admission officers behave when reading your essays and explain who your officers are. Bauld spli Prior to reading this book, I understood little to moderate about college essays.
Bauld split the officers into 2 categories, the temps and the lifes. Overall I think this book is helpful because it enhanced my understanding of how to write a compelling college essay. I learned to focus on a single subject and narrow that down. Add more vivid details and to show the scene and not tell it. The book also offers some exercises for you to practice your writing.
I took off 1 star because it was a bit boring; it's like reading an SAT book. I could only read for about 30minutes, or 1 section each day. The audience for this book is college applicants, but I can't imagine what high school student would pick up and read an entire book about writing their college essay. Bauld does give good writing advice, which I've passed along to my seniors, but his sense of humor isn't my style.
I feel like he's trying too hard to seem funny to teenagers, and I have to work hard to look past the bad jokes to glean the good advice. There are some helpful examples of strong writing in here, but unfortunately, t The audience for this book is college applicants, but I can't imagine what high school student would pick up and read an entire book about writing their college essay. There are some helpful examples of strong writing in here, but unfortunately, they're mostly from the '80s, and a lot of the references for example, to darkrooms and E.
Well I did enjoyed the book! This is a great way to tell about application essay writing, even my daughter read the book. And she is not "reader" person. The plus of the book is that it's small. It would be great if I could read something same when I was applying to college. And even though the book is amazing, nowadays students prefer to read not books, but posts.
Maybe this wi Well I did enjoyed the book! Maybe this will help somebody who doesn't want to read the book. If you are a student getting ready to write your college essay, then read this book first. Writing your college essay can be very nerve racking and can be hard to start.
Bauld's book gives students the initial spark to begin writing and guides them to the successful track. He does this by providing examples of previous essays and showing certain strengths and weaknesses in each. By the end of the book, students not only have a better idea of what to write but also how to write in order to optimi If you are a student getting ready to write your college essay, then read this book first.
By the end of the book, students not only have a better idea of what to write but also how to write in order to optimize the quality of the essay, opening up a larger range of colleges to attend. This book was loaned to me by a friend who proclaimed it to be the definitive source on essay writing.
I am by no means applying for college -- those days are far behind me. Though this book is obviously written with the college bound student in mind, there were some universal advice and insight on essay writing that I found absolutely wonderful. I really enjoyed this book, especially the chapter on re-writing. I recommend this book for essay writers and students alike. Well, the book has some well-structured information on academic writing for college students.
I first read it as a teenager when getting ready to write my college application essay. But I really came to appreciate it when I became a high school English teacher. It's an amazing resource for teaching narrative writing in general. You'll ditch your other resources after using this one! Definitely a must read for anyone applying to selective universities.
Read it in summer or early fall, not November like me. This book is actually very entertaining and engaging, rare for being informative. Aug 12, Sarah rated it liked it. This book was not extremely boring, it was actually somewhat interesting. But it was pretty dry and not exactly what I wanted to be reading. I had to read this for my AP English Lang class.
Informative, but not really entertaining. Nov 17, Sambhav Sunkerneni rated it really liked it. This book gave me an interesting view at the thoughts of an admissions officers head. Some of the conventional wisdom we are so often preached is challenged in a logical and convincing way. As my first essay book, I found it interesting in the way it categorized writing strategies. This book was pretty helpful, actually. Will be having my junior and freshman both read it. An informative, conversational, and comprehensive guide to the college essay.
For those of you who need advice writing college essays It's humorous as well, and terribly helpful. I do recommend. I do : For those of you who need advice writing college essays I want more close analysis in this book. Some ideas are recalled countless times by Vietabroader students, but it sounds banal. Super helpful! I rarely take pleasure in reading guides and I can't say that this book was absolutely riveting , but even the explanations of the author are witty and entertaining.
Apr 22, Renuka rated it really liked it. Good advice. I recommend it for anyone who is ready to write their college application essay. So helpful for enlivening my own essays. Bauld is both funny and substantial. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one ». Readers also enjoyed. About Harry Bauld. Harry Bauld.
Books by Harry Bauld. The beauty of a paperback novel is multidimensional. Allow me to explain: The format allows you to catch up on some of 's biggest books Read more Trivia About On Writing the Co No trivia or quizzes yet. Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions officer: Is the essay interesting? Do the ideas flow logically? Does it reveal something about the applicant? What you write in your application essay or personal statement should not contradict any other part of your application—nor should it repeat it.
This isn't the place to list your awards or discuss your grades or test scores. A teacher or college counselor is your best resource. And before you send it off, check, check again, and then triple check to make sure your essay is free of spelling or grammar errors.
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