Winning College Essays

For a fleeting moment, he laments the absence of a personal tragedy to exploit while he sits with the cursor flashing—a pulsating symbol of perplexity.   Especially tormented are the perfectionists, you dutiful students who view the college essay as just one more roadblock to be overcome with sheer will.

The college essay is not a test to see if you can read minds or anticipate what the admission office wants to hear.

Plain and simple, they want to know about you, how well you write and how self-aware you are. Regardless of the topic about which you choose to write, be sure the essay reveals more about you than the other characters or places in the story.

The best way to tell is to have your parents or a friend give a draft of your essay to a colleague or individual who has never met you.

  Ask them to read the essay and then respond with three adjectives that describe you and a sentence that captures what they learned. If not, it is back to the drawing board.“Am I done?

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