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College Application Essays

The Life of a Commute

Write for the Future | Posted 01.23.2015 | Education
Write for the Future

When I bound out of my house to begin my 75 minute commute every morning, the neighborhood is dreary and empty. I find comfort on my tree-shaded block of well-kept row houses. Since birth, I have lived in the house Mom has called home since she arrived in Brooklyn from Panama 45 years ago.

How to Write a Harvard-Worthy College Application Essay

Elizabeth Dankoski | Posted 12.09.2014 | College
Elizabeth Dankoski

When you allow a bit of mystery into the end, you let the reader know that you're okay with not knowing everything. That shows maturity, and it lets the colleges know that you're in a perfect place to dive into the complicated issues you're going to face in your college classes.

7 Cliché College Application Essays You Should Avoid

Gianna Sen-Gupta | Posted 12.18.2014 | College
Gianna Sen-Gupta

So how do you distinguish yourself from the sea of other applicants in your personal statement? It all starts with the right topic that simultaneously shows your ability to write well while painting a picture of who you are in a simple and authentic fashion.

Bracing for the Common Application: 10 Tips for Staying Sane While Applying to College and Writing App Essays

Elizabeth Benedict | Posted 10.04.2014 | College
Elizabeth Benedict

Many schools have a calculator on their websites you can plug your numbers into and learn how much aid you might qualify for. Remember: Aid includes outright scholarships as well as loans and work-study opportunities.

4 Things Rising Seniors Can Do This Summer to Get an Upper Hand On College Admissions

Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz | Posted 08.02.2014 | College
Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz

Once you've gotten some energy back, then start your summer activities, whether that's work, volunteering, summer school, something else, or more likely, a combination of several things.

Common Application Makes Changes After Tough Year

AP | KIMBERLY HEFLING | Posted 05.09.2014 | Teen

WASHINGTON (AP) — Creators of the Common Application for college admissions said Friday they have made changes that should prevent snags that had th...

The "Perfect" College Essay Does Not Exist

Jeannie Borin | Posted 06.15.2014 | College
Jeannie Borin

Why is it that colleges such as MIT ask students to discuss a time they failed or Yale asks students how they would like to improve? Perfection is not a requirement and it is from our errors along the way that we grow and learn.

The Morning After: Ivy League Hangovers, College App Essays and SATs

Elizabeth Benedict | Posted 05.28.2014 | College
Elizabeth Benedict

As someone who works with many dozens of hopeful high school seniors every year, yesterday, waiting for the Ivies to make their announcements, was a stressful day.

More English Grammar and Punctuation Rules That Drive Us All Nuts

Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz | Posted 03.07.2014 | Books
Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz

Rule #2: Strunk and White, the venerable authors of The Elements of Style, suggest that it is almost always preferable to choose the word "use" over the more pretentious word, "utilize."

Pesky Grammatical Mistakes That College Admissions Applicants Make (How and Why to Avoid Them)

Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz | Posted 02.08.2014 | College
Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz

As I look at college application essays these days, I am struck by how many of even the best and the brightest students seem not to know English grammar and punctuation rules.

The Secret to Essays (College Edition)

Yong-hun Kim | Posted 01.23.2014 | Teen
Yong-hun Kim

Eyes drooping and barely able to stay awake, she survives through the essay. Taking out a pen she prints: Waitlist... Pretty terrifying, huh?

Hacking the Common App Essay Prompts, Pt. II

Josh Stephens | Posted 12.06.2013 | College
Josh Stephens

Essays about family often commit the error of what I call asymmetrical importance. What is important to the writer (his mom, dad, siblings, pets) often holds zero meaning for the detached reader.

The College Application Mistake That Will Kill Your Chances

Patrick O'Connor | Posted 11.25.2013 | College
Patrick O'Connor

Colleges never ask for information they don't find useful. If a college really didn't care about what you see in their school, they wouldn't ask -- yet you just answered the question as if it didn't matter.

Do-It-Yourself College Applications: 10 Steps to the Common App Essay

Ruth Starkman | Posted 10.29.2013 | College
Ruth Starkman

You might be relieved to know that as "complex" and "confusing" as the college application process may sound, putting together your own application and writing your essay without paid advice may, in fact, give you better results.

7 Steps to Writing a Captivating, One-of-a-Kind College Application Essay

Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz | Posted 10.05.2013 | College
Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz

Unless you really screw up, no single essay is going to get you in or out at a particular college. Having said that, doesn't it make sense for you to produce the best application essays you can?

6 Terrific Pieces of Advice for Writing College Application Essays

Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz | Posted 09.24.2013 | College
Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz

Personally, I am always looking for that magic piece of advice another writer has that will get me through predictable writing blocks. So, here is what different writers have shared with me about how to spend more time loving rather than hating writing.

Forget About Writing Your College Application Essays This Summer. Have Fun Instead!

Robert S. Schwartz | Posted 08.31.2013 | College
Robert S. Schwartz

If you want compelling, attention-grabbing essays that are the best reflection of who you are, having a fun, interesting summer and writing about these experiences in September best accomplishes this.

Hollywood Goes to College and Oh, the Application Essays They Write!

Elizabeth Benedict | Posted 06.08.2013 | College
Elizabeth Benedict

The essay lessons in Admission echo the same advice from real college admissions officers.

College Application Essays: Three Dos and Three Don'ts

Elizabeth Benedict | Posted 12.05.2012 | College
Elizabeth Benedict

For high school seniors and their families, 'tis the season for a certain kind frantic extracurricular activity: cranking out college application essays.

One Surprising, Over-the-Top College Admissions Essay: The Fun, Lighter Side of Getting Onto College

Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz | Posted 07.22.2012 | College
Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz

If you write about something you care about and dare to be yourself, or perhaps use a bit of irony or "tongue in cheek," you might just end up having a good time.

The Last And Definitive Word On Writing The Common Application Essay

Robert S. Schwartz | Posted 12.04.2011 | College
Robert S. Schwartz

This time of year, my phone rings off the hook with distressed, frantic parents trying to figure out how to help their kid write college essays. Remember -- a simple story, well told, will get an applicant further than a complicated one that a college or university admissions person has read a million times before.

Zen and the Art of Writing Your College Application Essay

Elizabeth Benedict | Posted 10.15.2011 | College
Elizabeth Benedict

Often, writing short is harder than writing long: the word limit forces us to get to the point, which is hard to do if you're not sure what it is. I know that even now, without these tricks and guidelines, I'm lost.

How To Tackle College Application Questions | Posted 10.09.2011 | College

As the college application season grows nearer, students and their parents are beginning to raise good and important questions relating to their prepa...

Most Creative Essay Prompts

Posted 05.25.2011 | College

As colleges move to eliminate more conventional ways of evaluating applicants -- like SAT scores -- and application numbers continue to rise, the pres...