So, you say you’re done, ay?

In the academic meritocratic realm of teenage braggadocio, everyone’s been done with their college essays, except you. At least, that’s what nearly every college applicant believes about their friends, peers, frenemies, academic archrivals—only adding stress to an already complicated self-reflective, autobiographical writing process.  Yet, The Common Application’s own statistics about the daily record applicant submissions on November 1, the day…

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GIFF: Spongebob Prepare to Be written

College Admissions Essay: A Clinic In Writer’s Block

It’s college essay writing season, which also means that each student is likely running into writer’s blocks. College admission essays fit into the genre of autobiographical, a writing style for which most students are inexperienced. Although, at times, paralyzing writer’s blocks can be resolved by applying the appropriate antidotes.  Thus, as many college applicant lack an experienced editor, I will…

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Comic: Phineas & Ferb

College Admissions Essay Writing, A Difficult but Rewarding Journey of Self Discovery

“You should definitely start writing your essays early” is common advice college students give to their high school senior friends. Yet, typically, the peer advisor shares little insight to why they started their essays “later” or how writer’s blocks stymied their own efforts in the beginning writing stages.  Thus, the college applicant simply stresses about being “behind” in completing applications,…

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Applying to College is Often A Long and Winding Road

Writing college essays is an intricate dance, often not a project that’s completed according to scheduled benchmarks and not without conflicts along the way. Often, applicants work in fits and starts, and typically, not in accordance with a parent’s expectations.  Seventeen years of expectations, emotions and experiences can obstruct the effort to draft autobiographical essays. Furthermore, teens are reflecting on…

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Sponge Bob comic

Supplemental Essays Matter: view from someone who matters, an admission officer

“A” students, who also happen to be college applicants, notoriously follow directions to the T. So, the lack of a rubric, standard, or other detailed set of directions for writing the college essays, beyond the confirmation bias of an acceptance letter is disconcerting to say the least.  Seeking to reduce confusion, the following is an analysis of Sam Prince’s, Bard…

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Quote: Steve Jobs

The Responsibility of Freedom

Most teens eventually seek more independence from the watchful eyes of their parents, and many of them believe the freedom they so desire will be found attending college. Yet, just like Thomas Jefferson and the American Revolutionaries (or anyone seeking change), as so aptly advised:  Prudence, indeed will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and…

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Can I Change My 650 Word Common Application Essay After Submitting It?

Updated: November 2020 from the original posted in July 2018 The short answer is yes…with an *.  [See Below] But, like any life-impacting decision, the short answer doesn’t account for the complexities of choosing a college.  And, the last three words are what’s most important to keep in mind:  YOU, the applicant, are the one who’s doing the choosing of…

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Writer’s Block Defined

In the beginning of the writing process, many students writing college essays feel kinda like Spongebob, which can be the first in a series of writer’s blocks. Then, inspiration hits and writing happens, which creates hope…again, Spongebob: But then, seniors efforts may not seem to be enough, which is Writer’s Block #678,945,900. So the stress can build: But, the muddling…

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Our Fervent Wish

…is that every high school senior and transfer college applicant and their parents temporarily develop multiple hands, whose swift fingers dance with the wind across the keyboard to craft brilliant essays well before the deadline. Deadline approaching. pic.twitter.com/CszGLJyrA1 — Academia ɐɹnɔsqO (@AcademiaObscura) September 4, 2018  

Changes to Common Application Essay Prompts for 2017-18

The Common Application members have changed the prompts for current juniors in the Class of 2018, who will become college applicants in Fall 2017.  The word count remains unchanged at a maximum of 650 words.  Applicants will still be required to only choose one of the seven prompts listed below. The Common Application administrators have identified the prompts which changed,…

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Grammar Shmammer

The rules of grammar can be annoying, especially when an English paper is “bleeding” with red ink marks, noting every single punctuation and grammar error. However, the purpose for grammar, which is to articulate the author’s ideas clearly to the reader, can get lost in trying to follow the rules of grammar. To help all the college essay writers with “meaning what…

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The University of California Unveiled Brand New Application Essay Prompts

In Fall 2016, both freshman and transfer applicants to the University of California (UC) will choose from brand new writing prompts when composing the required personal application statements.  After ten years, the UC has retired their previous two essay prompts. With annually record-breaking numbers of applicants—which increases the selectivity in admissions—admissions officers are seeking a fuller understanding of each applicant. 

Adverbial Perils

Very, greatly, really, extremely, strongly, deeply…the adverb can seem genuine and necessary for emphasis in a college essay, yet can actually have the opposite effect of watering down what is described.  Plus, the adverb can be an extraneous word in the precious word count of the college essay.  Yet, teenage college essay writers typically include multiple adverbs in their first…

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Senior Year Is Not Supposed to Be Stressful

The idea that senior year will be simple and stress-free is a myth.  Yet, most seniors expect that their last year of high school will be smooth-sailing until graduation.  Between college applications due in the fall, the non-stop homework through the school year, and generally transitioning toward adulthood, the stress can build for a senior.  Catie discusses the pressures she felt as…

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