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Writing “The” College Essay. “Your” Admissions File. Admission Application The Transcript The Interview ACT/SAT Scores Teacher/Counselor Recommendations “The” Essay Resume . Who will read “your” essay? Know your audience. First Cut Regional admissions officers Grad students/temps

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your admissions file
“Your” Admissions File
  • Admission Application
  • The Transcript
  • The Interview
  • ACT/SAT Scores
  • Teacher/Counselor Recommendations
  • “The” Essay
  • Resume
who will read your essay know your audience
Who will read “your” essay? Know your audience

First Cut

  • Regional admissions officers
  • Grad students/temps
  • Hired readers/spouses of admissions staff
  • Faculty

Second/Final Cut

  • Admissions Director
  • Deciding Committee
no bad topics but beware
No bad topics, but beware…
  • The Trip
  • My Favorite Things
  • Miss America
  • Jock
  • My Room
  • Three D’s (I honestly believe I have the discipline, determination, and the diversity…)
  • Tales of My Success
  • Pet Death
  • Selling and Telling-Autobiography

…only bad essays

writing the college essay1
Writing “The” College Essay
  • 1st: Chill Out!...Relax
    • Approach:
      • If you ask yourself what “they” are looking for, you’re already on the wrong track.
      • Find a reader, or readers
      • Write something only you could write about
      • Know what you write about
      • Your college essay is an informal, or familiar, piece: personal statement
      • Entertain… inject some humor (doesn’t have to be a joke)

2nd: Warming Up

    • Use your notebook
    • Stranger than fiction: Observations
    • Letter Writing
    • Rambling & Ranting
    • Free Association
    • Boring for Fun
    • Ranting (“venting”)
    • Grousing: Change for the worse…for the better
    • Start anywhere!!!

3rd: Coming Alive!

    • Tell a story!
    • Entertainment Quotient
      • Sense Detail: see what you saw, hear what you heard, taste what you tasted
      • Think metaphorically, Metaphor Madness
      • Verbs and Nouns, describe without adjectives
      • Be CREATIVE!

4th: Rewrite

    • Where am I? What shape am I in?
      • Tone and mood of your essay
        • Don’t boast, don’t whine
        • Be authentic, be you
    • The Beginning: keep an eye out for a lead, a show opener, an “angle” to your essay.
      • Stir up curiosity.
      • Avoid bad leads: “In the following essay I hope to show…” Just do it, don’t announce it.
      • Avoid false questions: “Have you ever thought about bee pollen?”

5th: Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite

    • Read your draft aloud and think about your tone, mood and style
    • Transitions: avoid overused words (e.g. but, instead, moreover, in addition, thus, secondly)
      • e.g. Now we are given…
    • Trim the fat: shorten your essay, say more with less.
      • Strengthens your essay. Take the time to be short.
        • Reference to “writing the college application essay”

6th: Edit

    • Find readers who are honest and care about you.
    • Have your English teacher proofread and edit.
    • Have a friend read it.
    • Check for run-on sentences and combine to strengthen.
    • Be thorough: (e.g. “can not” instead of “can’t”, “that is” instead of “that’s”)
essay don ts
Essay Don’ts
  • Should not mention information listed elsewhere as part of your application package.
  • Don’t write a resume.
    • Ex.: GPA, listing activities you are involved in.
  • Don’t use clichés
  • Don’t try impressing the judges by using big words
    • They detract from the story.
  • Avoid sounding unsure of yourself.
    • Ex. Don’t use “I think” “maybe” “I want to” “perhaps”
  • Don’t bore the reader by starting your essay with:
    • “My name is…”
    • “I was born”
    • “ I am a Senior”
essay do s
Essay Do’s
  • Captivate your reader’s attention with your first sentence.
  • Be original and creative.
  • Write about yourself!
  • Tell a story and write with passion!
  • Be honest!
    • Don’t write what you think they want to hear.
  • Proofread!
    • Have someone else read your essay!
  • Length-limit your essay to two double spaced pages unless otherwise stated.
  • KIS- Keep It Simple
essay types
Essay Types
  • Scholarship Essays Focus on:
    • Heritage and family background
    • Personal and academic achievements
    • Academic plans and career goals
    • Financial Need
    • Community Services
    • Obstacles you have overcome
  • Admission Essays: Focus on getting to know you and seeing if you are the right fit with the school.
apply texas essay topics
Apply Texas Essay Topics
  • Topic A: Person who has made an impact on your life.
    • Most students are going to write about their mother, father or older sibling.
    • Try to be original
  • Topic B: Issue that is of importance to you, your family, your community or your generation.
    • Do not write a research paper.
    • Make sure you give your points of view and discuss how the affects are of importance to you, your family, your community or your generation.
  • Topic C: Personal Essay on Common Application
    • Write a personal statement about you. You may discuss: heritage and family background, obstacles, goals, passions, community involvement, accomplishments.
    • Tell a story
common app essays
Common App Essays
  • Topic A: Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
  • Just like Topic B: Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
  • Just Like Topic A: Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
  • Topic of your choice: Could be your Personal Statement