The Common App Essay
How to Write a Great College Application!
The season is upon us: college applications, and right now is a good time to start working on your Common App. You’re a month into the new school year, you’ve settled in, and now the Common App essay is staring you in the face.
Where do you begin? You know you have to start writing it…but HOW?
You try to forget about it, but you can’t. How can you write the absolutely best college admission essays possible when you have no idea what to write about or where to begin??
Similarly, neither do you know what the college admission committee is even looking for, nor what will make a really strong college essay and application. This holds true for all colleges and universities, but ESPECIALLY if you’re applying to the Ivy League.
Oh yeah, and did I mention your entire future appears to depend on this?
Don’t worry though, because I am going to walk you through the process.
I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard grad, and I know how to do this well. I’m going to tell you how you can master the Common App essay and application and make the most of your college applications.
To be more to the point, I’m going to help you get into the best schools possible.
This includes the Ivy League: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, UPenn, and Cornell. The top. I mean, what if you want to go there? How can you tackle the Common App and catapult your way to the apex of education?
Let’s start with the questions. These are the choices for your Common App Essay:
- Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
- Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
- Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
- Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
Which one to choose, you say? Which one will be the best one to write about? Here’s what I say: go with the one that is going to contain the most EMOTION. Emotion is powerful, good or bad, and the examples you choose, if they have a certain emotional weight to them when you think about it, that will add weight (and admissions committee engagement) to your essay. In other words, emotion or powerful experiences (which is really what I mean) serves to ENGAGE your reader, and an engaged reader is going to not only remember your essay, but feel that you truly conveyed a mood, and environment, and an experience.
In other words, they will feel they got to know YOU just a little bit more than if you had written about something “less powerful” that didn’t engage.
Go with the powerful emotions. The experiences and examples for any of the above, that convey some kind of emotion, and make you feel, because that is going to translate to your essay.
More tips and advice to come…