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Telling Your Story to Colleges

❶How will your essay convey your background and what makes you unique?

1. Get to know your prompt

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2. Brainstorm

Even if you have abandoned your reckless ways, don't bring it up. Schools do not want to hear about your church or school trip to another country or region to help the disadvantaged. You may be able to write about a trip like this only if you focus on a specific experience within the broader trip.

The most important thing or person in my life. This topic is too broad and too loaded, whether you want to write about God, your mom or best friend. These essays are usually painfully boring. The problem with these topics is not that they are depressing, but that such powerful topics can be challenging to write about.

Absolutely no pet stories -- admission officers hate them. A story within a college essay can be amusing, but don't try to make the entire essay funny. She explains how families can make college more affordable through her website TheCollegeSolution. A decade after the Great Recession, the U. The top-paying jobs tend to cluster in two industries -- and may prove less vulnerable automation. These are the stories behind the list of activities and leadership roles on your application.

Instead, pick one moment in time and focus on telling the story behind it. 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. Write the story no one else can tell. Ease yourself into the essay-writing process. Take time to understand the question or prompt being asked.

The single most important part of your essay preparation may be simply making sure you truly understand the question or essay prompt. When you are finished writing, you need to make sure that your essay still adheres to the prompt. College essay questions often suggest one or two main ideas or topics of focus. These can vary from personal to trivial, but all seek to challenge you and spark your creativity and insight. Get your creative juices flowing by brainstorming all the possible ideas you can think of to address your college essay question.

Believe it or not, the brainstorming stage may be more tedious than writing the actual application essay. The purpose is to flesh out all of your possible ideas so when you begin writing, you know and understand where you are going with the topic. 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. Create an outline that breaks down the essay into sections.

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!

What you think is funny and what an adult working in a college thinks is funny are probably different. We caution against one-liners, limericks and anything off—color.

Set it aside for a few days and read it again. 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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5 College Application Essay Topics That Always Work

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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. 6. Answer the question being asked. Don't reuse an answer to a similar question from another application. 7.

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What should students write about in their college application essays? I get this question from student after student: What should I write about to get into college? What topics are admissions officers looking for? Admissions officers are looking for three things in your admission essay: a unique perspective, strong writing, and an authentic voice.

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Your character shows up in three places on the application: the interview (if you have one), your involvement in extracurricular activities, and your essay. Of the three, the essay is the most immediate and illuminating to the admissions folks as they read through thousands of applications. You should also ask the person who proofreads your essay if the writing sounds like you. Adapted from The College Application Essay by Sarah Myers McGinty. Recommended.

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By writing a stellar personal essay as part of your college admissions application. It may be only words — or sometimes only words — but the admissions essay(s) portion of a college application can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection. In some form or other, this prompt will be on almost every college application this fall, leaving admissions officers inevitably to read hundreds of college essay topics that are far too similar.