Many prompts specify a desired number of words or a range. Dont be afraid to think creatively. Was it the theater? Behind your statistics and demographics. Be Personable and Specific. What makes it unlike other parts of the world? It is critical that the first few sentences capture their interest. Six months - June to December (ideal if you are applying early action words for common app essay or early decision anywhere June: Brainstorm and work with prompts, 2-3 weeks July: Freewrite, 3-4 weeks End of July/beginning of August: Complete first draft of Common. If it comes from someone you respect, think it over seriously, but remember that this is your voice, and write the person or tell them that you value their input but you think the essay sounds. Lincoln got his points across succinctly in the Gettysburg address in less than 275 words.
A bit of well placed humor is fine, but dont try to be a comedian. Theres more that goes into applying to college than what weve been able to cover here, including your grades, standardized test scores, and recommendation letters, but your essays are some of the most important materials. Event also galvanized local community, leading to a second fundraiser, Hillsboro High for Haiti, to take place next month. But how to write about piano? But wait: its not what you think. Writing which is different from a For one thing, there is no delete button, making the experience more lifelike right away. Those are just a few more narrative possibilities for structuring your essay. Question: Does my essay have to be about something that happened in high school? In fact, see if you can be really succinct and fit all your information into the areas provided by the Common App. If your essay lacks structure and seems to ramble, chances are it wont impress the reader. And that sentiment is fineit may have a place at the end of the essaybut it doesnt belong in the second paragraph, because it doesnt guide our reading of the rest of the essay. Get these right and your entire application starts from strength.
Make a list of experiences that have been important to you. Anita will use a slightly more subtle version of this, but both essays begin with a scene: I was eight when my grandfather first took me to the water The happiest two hours I have spent were. Using the criteria weve already set out, though, you can avoid that scary feeling of having done a lot of work that youve got to shelve. Tell it the way youd write a short story. My best friend once told me that neither she nor her dad were willing to make the extra effort to find common ground.
What makes you angry or furious about the world? Another way of thinking about this is: your essay is about how your past influences your future, or the way you think now. You only get 150 characters to explain eight years of eating, sleeping and breathing the santur. Tell the story of a time you saw somethingvisuallythat provoked that anger or frustration. It was so overheated in the room and Id drunk way too much Mountain Dew. Forget medals, victories, gradeswhat intangible, off-your-resumé quality or moment of your life are you proudest of? Basic info that wont fit on other parts of the Common App Kate Coddaire at Cheverus HS for example reports, I have students with so many siblings they cannot fit them all on the Family page of CommonApp. By the time you get to August, when youre drafting your Common App Essay and your secondary essays in full, you will be warmed up, and much of the hardest workthat is, the reflection, figuring out what you want to saywill be done for you. What did you learn from those, and what did they/do they make you want to do?
It isnt strong and declarative yet. Learn step-by-step how to write a Common App Essay to get into your dream college (Note: This article can also be found in our free, 91-page comprehensive guide to writing every college essay, Conquer Your College Essays: A Step-by-Step. It is also where youll encounter The Common App Essay, otherwise known as your personal statement (PS which is what this guide will focus. And lets say your 150 characters were mostly used to explain that the santur is a 72-stringed Classical Persian instrument youve been playing since the day you gloriously emerged from the womb (wow, thats a crazy image). Like an explanation rather than an excuse. Yup, just list that, nothing more needed. The Common Application, as well as many individual college applications and supplements, give students a choice of essay topics. What is The Common Application? So we decide that Ramya is going to write about the Patriots.
Josh has a complicated relationship with pianohis parents pushed him into it, and hed like to quit as soon as possible. There are a number of ways you can offer the admissions committee context for something you think went wrong in high school, whether thats low grades, imperfect attendance, or something else. If youre really struggling to outline and would rather just follow the pen to a first draft, thats fine, but do yourself a favor and make outlining words for common app essay your second draft step. I have always been loyal to the New England Patriots. Why does The Common App Essayand other college essaysmatter? Why does it captivate you? Check OUT session TWO IN MY 'HOW TO apply TO college' course). So, Tip #6: Dont treat your early drafts like anything close to final. Describe your neighborhood, town, or community. Look for your first declarative statement! Youve got 650 free words to articulate what moves you, what excites you, what animates or explains you. In short, use your essays to showcase a side of you not visible from other parts of the application.
For example, one student wrote an excellent essay about a horrible first day of school, but forgot to include that he had just moved to town, from halfway around the world, and was struggling with English. Whom did it help? Some students rehash their activities and achievements without adding the personal flavor, perspective and substance that admissions officers look for. We cant exhaustively discuss all of them, or even most, but we can give you a few modules to play with. Might get a little tough, right? Have you lived through one of those moments? You may have heard the phrase holistic admissions thrown aroundmany universities follow this model, which means they dont necessarily have. The common app additional info section is a 650-word paste-in section where students can put extra information they want colleges to have. Now tell the story of a specific class assignment that caused you to have a breakthrough, or changed your mind about something. Important notes: Notice how factual? A good way to catch mistakes is to read your essay very slowly and out loud. We strongly recommend using all 650 words, though you are not required to.
It was July, and our older brother had just gone to college, leaving the words for common app essay two of us alone at home together for the first time. Or she could write about soccer, dance, or speech. Where is home for your parents? This means your essays are not a place to restate what can already be found on your resumé, CV, or Common App Activities Section. If you cant answer the question what is the goal of this paragraph? Lets take Josh's essay about piano playing. Or say Michael shows it to an English teacher, who gets distracted by the quality of Michaels prosewhich was meant to be free and uneditedand tells him to choose another topic, since this one isnt singing yet. Few students have a perfect resume, which is apparent in the application. So she will zoom away from Dee's and tell us that throughout high school, she started noticing a lot of her friends getting caught up in social drama, becoming competitive with one another, fighting about romantic situations; set against. Tell the story of reading that book/article for the first timewhere were you? How often have you reread that meaningful book or article?
Tell the story of that realizationset the scene, down to every image, who was or wasnt in the room. Student #3: Josh: Josh isnt sure what he wants to study. Invest the time necessary to do it right. Answer: Think quality, not quantity. As we go through some of these errors, well also make a list of a few general tips and tricks for managing some of the toughest parts of your essay, including time, scene, epiphany, change, character, and more. (Note: this is not the same as asking for your list of extracurricular activities.) Tell the story of an important day or event in relation to one of these topics. A wider relevance or a lesson. ( Tip : the stuff that isnt always linked to an anecdote or story but is important to you can often be useful for those secondaries.) Lets find out what our sample students chose to write about. Doing so will bring you close to the sensible word limit.
Answer: William Zinssers On Writing Well is the primer for nonfiction writing basics. The Circular Essay: In this essay, the writer begins with a scene or image or concept and then will circle back to that scene or image or concept before the end of the essay in order to make sense of the initial opening. On the rides to and from, we talked about everything from school to politics to pop culture. Brainstorming essay topics, freewriting, essay writing timelines: how to write your Common App personal statement if you have six months, three months, one month, or even less. Michelle Rasich, counselor at Rowland Hall Saint Mark's, points out that Reps have shared that they like reading explanations in the student's own words even if I too am dedicating time to it in my letter. Ramyas essay cant be about her perpetual loyalty to the Patriotsthat wont be enough. But many students have prior commitments that make following a six-month (June-December) timeline difficult. Body paragraph #1: In this paragraph, Ramya will tell us something more about loyalty, and why it matters.
With more people applying to colleges every year, admissions officers know they can have their pick of bright and motivated students. Have you ever been forced to try something you werent good at? Dont Overlook the Mundane. Lets say you did a really cool fundraiser that made a huge impact on not only the people overseas you were donating to, but also your local community. Though I regret my poor grades from ninth grade, I am proud that I was able to improve quickly as a sophomore, and that I developed both stronger study habits and tactics for dealing with emotional stress as a result. This means extracurriculars have been tougher for them words for common app essay than for others. That can make trying to communicate who you are as well as who you hope to become a daunting task. November is usually when early action/early decision deadlines hit. You can also write about something going wrong in your personal statement if it has narrative energy; that is to sayif it would make a good essay regardless of whether or not it explained away a failing, go ahead and write about. Whats not on Ramya's resumé? Whats not on his resumé? They can but need not discuss family, identity, race, gender, or class. Others have niche areas of study that they like to promote.
Use caution when showing off your extensive vocabulary. In this case: how much money did you raise? Admissions officers are peoplepeople who would be horribly bored if their job came down just to words for common app essay numbers, statistics, cutoffs, and counting up your AP and SAT and ACT scores. A better explanation provides context and explains what specifically helped you turn things around, for example: During my freshman year, as my parents went through a difficult divorce, I became distracted and stressed, and my grades suffered as a result. Admissions committees have no preference for which prompt you choose.) Lets meet our students Throughout this guide, were going to refer to a few example essays. These do not have to be dramatic, tragic, traumatic, or prove that you changed the world, though they can be any of those. What class was hardest for you in high school? Get ahead before your first college interview check out my blog: College Interview Tips and Strategies.
Im writing this because students are often baffled by what to do with this section. Author: Lynn Radlauer Lubell is the Publisher of m, and the Founder. Focusing in, Josh thought about a specific piece which helped him get over some performance anxiety, so hell write about learning that piece and facing the fear. These estimates are provided not to scare you, but rather to emphasize how critical it is for you to spend at least as much time on your college essays as would on any other high school pursuit. So here goes: First of all, what is the Additional Info section? Describe the first time you saw their home, in story form. There are a number of ways to approach freewriting, and all of them are meant to keep you limber, loose, and free. Every year, the college application process seems to get more complex, and more intense.
(Avoid writing about romantic relationships and breakups in your essays, but feel free to mine them in your freewriting.) Tell the story of the day that change occurredthe day you moved, the first day at the. Brainstorming essay topics and working with prompts (2-3 weeks) Review the Common App prompts and identify which ones get your juices flowing. Just because everything is spelled properly doesnt mean it is correct. College resumes don't have to be intimidating. His essay shouldnt start, I love my little sister, but I remember the first time my younger sister and I connected. What words for common app essay else might go here? That means youre going to have to get comfortable with simply putting idea to paper, and with cutting entire paragraphs or points within the essay. Even here, its important to not simply state, I had bad grades but improved them. That might make you formulaic. Ask others to review your drafts and offer comments and suggestions. My dad and I have a typical father-daughter relationship; I get mad when he doesnt let me go out, he gets mad when I neglect responsibility. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Question: What is the Common App Essay word limit?
Tell the story of how you figured out you were wrong. Most strong essays have more show than tell. The admissions committee relies on essays to learn additional things about you such as your initiative, curiosity about the world, personal growth, willingness to take risks, ability to be self directed, motivation and ability to make the most of a situation. I reminded him a true sports fan never gives up on her team, no matter the situation. A Chick-Fil-A every block? (This is especially good for Anita because it expands her away from just the hyper-intense mock trial competitor she might come across.). (Remember: Specific anecdotes are your friend when drafting your Common App personal statement. He writes beautifully about his grandfather teaching him about the waves, but hes not words for common app essay a pro surfer, and might even be going to college in the middle of the country.
Pay attention to what is important to the particular school and, when appropriate, consider including it in some manner in your words for common app essay essay. Thats the key: your job is to find the right question to answer, using all the prewriting tips and tricks and exercises weve outlined here. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you? In his free time he draws comic strips, and hes had a few on display at various community events in his town. Check it against the outlines weve worked through in this post.