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Archive for the College Essays Category

How to Approach the Common Application Personal Statement Essay Prompts

How to Approach the Common Application Personal Statement Essay Prompts

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou. We have recently learned of changes for the Common Application’s personal statement essay prompts for 2017-18. As stated on the Common App website, the changes reflect “the feedback of 108 Common App member colleges

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What a Rising High School Senior Can Do This Summer to Get a Jump on College Applications

What a Rising High School Senior Can Do This Summer to Get a Jump on College Applications

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” -Plato. As a college admissions consultant, I often hear parents and their students ask at the end of junior year of high school, “What can we be doing during the summer to prepare for the crazy senior year

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How Important Is the College Essay, Really?

How Important Is the College Essay, Really?

“Say what you need to say.” – John Mayer. For the budding J.K. Rowlings among us, the best part of the college application process is writing the essay. However, for many high school students, it looms like tomorrow’s trip to the oral surgeon to have wisdom teeth

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College Applications and the Lost Arts of Reading & Writing

College Applications and the Lost Arts of Reading & Writing

“We read to know that we are not alone.” – C.S. Lewis. I love quotations! (Doesn’t everybody?) Today I’m sharing my favorite quotes on the lost arts of reading and writing, the two most essential (but surprisingly overlooked) ingredients for getting into one’s dream college. I invite

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How Parents Can Help–Or Not–with College Essays

How Parents Can Help–Or Not–with College Essays

“Our patience will achieve more than our force.” -Edmund Burke. Years ago, I sat in a New Jersey auditorium listening to a Vanderbilt University roadshow information session. The young admissions representative and Vandy alum was also a graduate of Delbarton, a premier local private high school, and

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Does the College Essay Topic Matter?

Does the College Essay Topic Matter?

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” – J.K. Rowling. “Don’t write a sports essay. Admissions people see so many of those, and they get bored.” The above advice is often given to confused high school students, who are desperately trying to

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“Confessional” College Essays

“Confessional” College Essays

“Never say more than is necessary.” – Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Recently, a family returned from a university information session, confused and upset about essay advice offered by the admissions representative. “Avoid the three D’s,” she recommended. “Death, Divorce and Disease.” This cynical advice gave this family the impression

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College Essays: Eight Grammatical Blunders to Avoid

College Essays: Eight Grammatical Blunders to Avoid

“The greater part of the world’s troubles are due to questions of grammar.” – Michel de Montaigne. As a college consultant, I have suggested edits for thousands of essays. I am in awe of the imagination and honesty of American teenagers;  I never grow tired of reading

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“Why University of X?” College Essay

“Why University of X?” College Essay

“Praise us as we are tasted, allow us as we prove.” – William Shakespeare. When I work with high school students on this essay, asked in some way, shape or form in most school-specific supplements to the Common Application, their knee-jerk response is to play back obvious answers.

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My Ten Favorite College Essay Prompts

As a college consultant, I have become intimately familiar with numerous supplemental college essay questions. While many prompts seem doomed to elicit responses that are conventional clichés, others are bound to spark creativity, and hopefully evoke genuine self-discovery, for the motivated applicant. In no special order, here

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