Tag Archives: college essay

Don’t you hate that feeling when college essay deadlines loom, and you’re still trying to figure out what to write about? Don’t panic, or at least not yet! Sure, the application essay carries a lot of weight in selective college admission, but, at least, you are writing about a topic you should know very well by now: YOU. While we can’t tell you exactly what to write about, we can offer specific insights that you should consider at each step in your essay crafting process. If the following articles and podcasts aren’t enough, read to the end for a more targeted solution: Getting Started on your College Essay: Brainstorming and Free-Writing Writing a Strong College Application Essay: Drafting Writing a Strong College Application Essay: Revision and Completion 7 Steps to an Amazing College Essay   Still not sure how to craft your perfect college application essay? We’d love to help…

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Once you’ve brainstormed your options and decided which initial draft is your winner, the final step in writing a really strong college application is to read, rewrite, rework, and rethink your essays over and over again. This revision process can be a hard journey to travel alone. Like any formal writing project, it helps tremendously to have someone read your work and comment on where the writing is clear and where it isn’t, where the language is strong and memorable, and where it is weaker. Aside from the usual writing help, a college-essay coach can and should also help you stay mindful about the specific genre of writing this essay falls into. This essay is different from any other essay you will probably write in your life. You not only want your essay to display the usual hallmarks of good writing–lively word choices, sustained focus on a central idea, correct…

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The first step in writing a strong college essay is to brainstorm some potential ideas to write about. Once that’s done, it’s time to start to sculpt your ideas into possible essays. Essays? Plural? Yes! Often, it’s hard to know which ideas that emerged from free-writing and brainstorming exercises are going to lead to the essay you want; you have to try writing an essay based on one idea, and see how it emerges, and then maybe drop that idea for a while to tinker with another possible essay topic. Writing is a maddening process of trial and error. Sometimes we just need to sit down and force ourselves to write, and sometimes it is better to take a break for a day or two, so that we can come back to our writing with fresh eyes. Sometimes it takes time for an idea to marinate and grow in our…

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Once Chariot Learning has already helped a student achieve her best SAT and ACT scores, she often comes back for help with another challenge: the college application essay. Writing the college application essay is a daunting task–in 650 words, a student must share something striking about herself that will convince an admissions committee that she will be a worthy addition to the college’s incoming class. With so many applicants to choose from, many of whom have strong numbers, the essay becomes a crucial part of a student’s college application that can make the difference between admission and rejection. What can a student do to make her essay succeed at this highly unique genre of high-stakes writing? First and foremost, I tell my essay students, “Write an essay that nobody could write except you.” What does that mean? Someone who knows you well should be able to read a pile of…

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Spring break is typically a time that students and families take to the road for their college search.  The weather is relatively predictable (i.e. not snowing), college campuses are full of students, so the potential peer group is visible, and you might even have a set (or two) of test scores that help guide you toward possible, realistic options.  For the Class of 2021, just about all of this is out the window. While it is not snowing, campuses are empty and not receiving visitors, you may not have had a chance to meet with your school counselor to get a list started, and with all the test date cancellations, it is not unusual for you to still be waiting to take a standardized test.  This can feel immobilizing. Please do not feel helpless. There are a number of opportunities to use this gift of time in unanticipated ways.  It…

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