Our friend and colleague, Dr. Rebecca Joseph, a professor at and founder of the mobile app, , likes to put it this way: “This essay is your date with the college. They know how great they are; tell them why they should date you.”
You’ll find all sorts of advice online about writing admissions essays; much of it inaccurate or confusing. As you near the end of your college application process and put the finishing touches on your essays, be careful whose advice you follow, and make sure you know your sources.
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College advisor Alice Kleeman joins us today in our ongoing series on the changes to the Common Application with some excellent guidance for students and how to think about the new essay prompts and an entertaining look back on some of the essays that have been favorites in her twenty years advising students.
The five prompts that will appear on the “new” Common Application should allow for nearly any topic you might choose. Below are some suggestions for academic, extracurricular, and personal topics that might fit neatly into a response for each prompt. Of course, these are just suggestions, designed to jumpstart your thinking, provide a gentle nudge if you feel stumped, and to help you decide which prompt might provide the best opportunity for you to show the admission office who you are. Your response to any college-essay prompt should be entirely personal and one that only you could write; these examples are just to get your essay juices flowing!
Kim Lifton is president of . You can read Kim’s blogs and get useful writing tips by signing up for . Wow is also on and. Check their to sign up for webinars and workshops on college admissions essays. Remember this: The college essay subject is YOU; the topic is secondary.
Every year, Wow Writing Workshop’s college application essay experts review many stories just like this one. We send these stories back to our students with tips to help them answer the question, and also stand out in the crowd.
To get our students started on this prompt, we tell them to consider what they want the college to know about them that is not evident from the rest of the application package. After that, think about what colleges might want to know about their prospective students. How do College X’s curriculum, clubs and campus life support your interests? Why are you a good fit?