WOW Your Essay Reader With These Tips

Its time for rising seniors to begin to think about the application essays, a critical piece of the application puzzle.  Your courses, GPA, activities and leadership are set in stone.  The essay is the one piece over which you still have total control.

The Common App essays have been published.  Even though you don’t know what other prompts will be you can plan your strategy now.   Let’s make it an enviable piece of writing.


  1. What do you want the admissions counselor to know about you that isn’t on your application already.  Write about something that moves you or about which you are passionate.    When you decide what you want the reader to know, choose appropriate anecdotes.
  2. Your topic should not cover anything else on the application.  Hard working student?  They can see that from your courses and grades.  Love sports?  On the activities list.  If you can’t think of anything, ask 5 people to describe you.  Kind?  OK, find a story that illustrates that.   Funny?  Tell a good story about what makes you laugh or how you entertain your friends.  Maybe talk about a book or movie that you find hilarious-and why.
  3. Tell a story.  Why do you like looking at the stars from your bedroom window?  What do you and your mom talk about over Sunday morning pancakes?  Why did you and your best friend part ways and how did it make you feel?
  4. Do you have a situation or event that has put roadblocks in your path?  Maybe you repeated a grade and can talk about why that happened or how that impacted your social life.  If you are writing about a challenge the focus should be on what you’ve done to overcome the obstacle and how your efforts have changed you.
  5. Have plans for the future?  A recent client, Sam, who was shy in high school, wanted to learn to tolerate uncomfortable group events and be more social in college.  Sam described his plan and the changes he expected to take place.
  6. Whatever you write about make it personal.   Your subject doesn’t need to be earth shaking; its a means to revealing who you are to someone who doesn’t know you.  Make your essay  memorable for its honesty, not its Pultizer worthiness.

There you have it in a nutshell.  Write from the heart, not from the head.    Let me help you design your personal statement with the admissions office in mind. or 610-212-6679

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