8 Tips for Crafting Your Best College Essay

The has long been the hub for applications to U.S. colleges. Every year, more than half-a-million students seeking a place in the Ivy League and 600-plus other private and public colleges, log on to a portal that collects and distributes much of a student's application materials. The site is ground zero for the "Common App Essay," a 650-word essay personal statement that can make or break a college application.

College Essays, College Application Essays - The College Board

Sep 11, 2013 - Home » Application Process » How To: Write Your Personal Essay ..
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Application Essay - BigFuture - The College Board

Many students trip over common obstacles in their college application essays. For example, many students can’t see beyond the superficial prompt to construct an essay that positively communicates their personality and passion. Some students rehash their activities and achievements without adding the personal flavor, perspective and substance that admissions officers look for. Learn how to avoid these and other damaging traps.

College Essay - Sample Application Essay 1

As a writer who helps college-bould students with their essays, I can see pluses and minuses to the new UC prompts.

One of the pluses is that the questions should take some of the mystery out of what the admission office "wants." The questions are straightforward, which makes it easier to come up with direct answers. The need for an artful personal essay, a form not taught in most high schools, is reduced.

On the other hand, the prompts mean more work for many. Students who are applying to UC schools and other colleges will need to write these four essays and the longer personal essay required for the Common Application and the new Coalition application.

Not that students have much choice. The only choice is to make sure to accept that in the college application process the essays can make a big difference, a topic I take up at greater length here:

Jul 26, 2016 - One of the most intimidating elements of the college application for many students is the essay or personal statement
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How to Write a Great College Application Essay | CollegeXpress

In addition to the high school record, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and teacher/counselor recommendations the college essay is an important piece of the college application and will provide the basis upon which the college makes its admission decision. The essay a college in learning more about each individual student and brings depth to the application. A well-written essay can reveal important information about personal attitudes/qualities, feelings, imagination and creativity. Think of the essay as a written interview and a chance to personalize your application. A thoughtful, well-written essay can affect the final decision in a positive way.

Popular College Application Essay Topics (and How to Answer Them) ..

3. Colleges want authentic essays or personal statements. Several times a year I present with college admissions officers on college application essays. Time after time, they share their desire for student-written pieces. They often share ineffective pieces -- the majority are adult written. Colleges have worded their prompts to help guide students. Many post sample essays and tips on their websites to help students and families understand what they are seeking. What you see is a plea for applicants to write their own essays that share unique stories.

Hitler's application did not just turn into a rejection, both times.

An excellent written essay could be a “tipper” factor for a borderline admit student to get accepted. On the other hand, a poorly written essay, with a bad choice of topic, can tip a students’ application into the reject pile. Essays will be more important for smaller schools that are committed to reading holistically. These smaller colleges want to ensure that the students that they accept would contribute positively to campus life both with their talents, leadership abilities and personal qualities. This should all be apparent in a good college essay.