With college costs increasingly becoming one of the most expensive investments (sometimes even more than a house), it is important for the student’s essay to break through the clutter and differentiate the student from other applicants. I have developed a four week, step-by-step process that helps to effectively manage the creative development of the writing process.
The four week process includes weekly two-hour meetings at the student’s home or at my office. For our first meeting, the student will bring a rough draft or an outline of their college essay. This will allow us to benchmark at each stage of the writing process how the student’s essay has progressed. Our discussions to evolve the writing process will include brainstorming, word exercises, and organization techniques.
The first step is to request an admission package from the list of colleges and universities to which you have decided to apply. With this information in hand you will be able to make a checklist of all required documents, letters and essays you will need to complete your application fully and on time. Take note of any and all deadlines associated which each of your applications. The only thing worse than an improperly made application is no application at all.
Your college admissions applications will require cover letters and essays. It is never a good idea to recycle material on these. Make each essay and cover letter unique. Each of your applications should be individualized for the college or university to which it is intended.
Take a minute and think about the college or university admission officers who will be reading your essay. How will your essay convey your background and what makes you unique? If you had the opportunity to stand in front of an admission committee to share a significant story or important information about yourself, what would you say? The college application essay is your chance to share your personality, goals, influences, challenges, triumphs, life experiences, or lessons learned. Not to mention why you're a good fit for the college or university—and why it's a good fit for you. These are the stories behind the list of activities and leadership roles on your application.
Most universities acknowledge that the admission essay-while only one component in the application package-is the best opportunity for acquainting the admissions officer with the student.
While the accuracy of these tests and their true ability to determine your skill level in certain areas has been debated, they do remain a requirement for admittance to most four-year American colleges and universities. Every student planning to go to an accredited college or university will have to take the ACT or the SAT before their college applications will be considered.
College entrance exams are another important part of the application process. The most common exams you will encounter are the and the . These tests are designed to measure a students academic accomplishments and readiness for college. The ACT and the SAT evaluate a students development in English, mathematics, science and reading.
Architects use a blue print. A webpage is comprised of code. Cooks rely on recipes. What do they have in common? They have a plan. The rules for writing a good essay are no different. After you brainstorm, you’ll know what you want to say, but you must decide how you’re going to say it. Create an outline that breaks down the essay into sections.
Admission officers realize that writing doesn’t come easily to everyone, but with some time and planning, anyone can write a college application essay that stands out. One way to do that is to work step-by-step, piece-by-piece. The end result should be a carefully designed, insightful essay that makes you proud. Take advantage of being able to share something with an audience who knows nothing about you and is excited to learn what you have to offer. Brag. Write the story no one else can tell.
By now you know exactly what you will write about and how you want to tell the story. So hop on a computer and get to it. Try to just let yourself bang out a rough draft without going back to change anything. Then go back and revise, revise, revise. Before you know it, you will have told the story you outlined—and reached the necessary word count—and you will be happy you spent all that time preparing!
Here's the thing: your college application essay needs to breathe life into your application. It should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school activities. But that’s not nearly as scary as it seems, because you get to choose what to share and how to share it.
Many college applicants are required to provide one or more along with their college application. This is a tool you can leverage to make your college application more powerful. Letters of recommendation can come from a favorite teacher, a counselor, a coach or even a boss. These letters are designed to emphasize your positive attributes, outline your scholastic accomplishments and demonstrate your extracurricular passions. A successful letter of recommendation explains why you are a prime candidate for a particular college or university.