Part 9: College Essays

The Dreaded Essay

When it comes to planning for college, writing your essay is an important step! We know that writing college essays can be intimidating. However, with the proper preparation and practice, this task becomes an opportunity to highlight your strengths and bolster your prospects for success! 

To help you get a head start on the process, we’ve put together this Q&A which covers key points and answers to common questions. After that check out our Common Application Prompts – they’re a great opportunity to practice crafting an engaging essay with all the information admissions offices are looking for!

If you’re here, you have taken the first step towards creating an impactful essay. This guide will provide useful tips to help brainstorm and organize your thoughts in order to pen a successful paper. We highly recommend trying our essential Objects and Values Exercises for some great results!

Crafting your college essays can be an intimidating process, but there are some general guidelines to help guide you. Your main Common App essay should generally aim for around 650 words; however, if you’re aiming at University of California schools keep it a bit shorter – 350 words is the suggested length. Any supplemental essays may have their own additional requirements so make sure to double check those!

Crafting the perfect college application is a daunting task. On average, you will have to write around 15 distinct essays between your Common App Personal Statement and school supplements that range from 6-20 depending on where you’re applying! Take it step by step – with plenty of time in advance – and soon enough, you’ll be ahead of the game when submitting all those applications.

They’re looking for the answers to these three questions:
1. Who is this person?
2. Will this person contribute something of value to our campus?
3. Can this person write?

When it comes to college admissions, every school and reader has its/their own standards. Michael Gulotta from American University (Associate Director of Admissions) favors the essay portion when assessing a student’s writing skills whereas Rick Diaz (Regional Director of Undergrad Admissions at Southern Methodist University) takes more interest in understanding their story. Understanding these details can help you craft an application that speaks for itself!

Both are important. A good story told well. That’s your goal.

You’ll learn about two options in this workshop: Narrative Structure and Montage Structure.

It depends on the college. Essays tend to matter more for small schools, or schools who look at applications holistically.

If you dream of attending an elite college, your grades and test scores are key factors in the admissions process. But don’t forget about those essays – when competing with other applicants who have similar qualifications, a skillfully crafted essay can be what sets yours apart from the pack! Harvard may loom large on many students’ wish lists but there are plenty of great universities to explore; if you’re looking for ideas try “Colleges That Change Lives” – Google it now…you won’t regret it!

College essays can have a major impact on your application. A well-written essay will strengthen an applicant’s chances, while a poorly written one could be enough to limit their opportunities at the college of choice. Give yourself every advantage and ensure your essay is up to par!