Archive for June, 2011

Essay Writing Nuts and Bolts: A 6-Step Process

In my free guide, How to Write a College Application Essay That Gets You In, I outline a basic 6-step process to writing your college application essay that goes like this:

1)  Brainstorm and choose a topic

2)  Write the first draft and put aside for a few days (or at least a few hours)

3)  Revise; write the second draft

4)  Review and revise draft two; make edits. This is your final draft.

Or not. I encourage you to write as many drafts as you need to get to diamond-like clarity. Brilliance is encouraged.  ; ) 

5) Proofread and polish

6) Let it go

However, every writer is different, so you may not follow this process to the letter, and that’s OK. There is a metric ton of writing advice out there with its very own 4-step or 5-step or 10-step process, so you can surely find what works best for you if this isn’t it.                   

That said, at a very minimum you want to write a draft, set it aside, come back to it after a few days/hours,  then revise and improve upon it until you are satisfied, and last but not least, make sure to proofread, proofread, proofread!

And remember, there is no one else like you on Earth, which means there is no one else who can tell the story you can tell!   : )

(To grab your FREE guide on how to write a stellar college application essay, please visit my website at to download your copy today!)

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Choosing An Essay Topic: Your Content-Worthy Life

So I’m reading one of my favorite blogs this morning, written by Jonathan Fields, author, entrepreneur, and professional speaker, and his post just happens to be dead-on related to what I’ve been trying to share recently with a few students in my orbit.

You know, the ones who are struggling with topic selection for their essays.  The ones who say,  “but I don’t know what to write about.”   Or, “nothing important has happened to me.” Or, “I haven’t rescued a child from a burning building or scaled Annapurna or overcome disease/poverty/death’s door,” etc.  You get the idea.

Well, I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to have done any of those things to write a killer essay. Your topic doesn’t have to be exotic or dramatic or life-shatteringly memorable.  It can be about a small moment in time. Something usual, even, as long as it’s something deeply meaningful to you.

It can be about something that changed your perspective, or taught you an important lesson.  And there are many of these moments in each person’s life.  Even if you are a high school sophomore/junior/senior. 

Trust me, important things have happened to you.

And although Jonathan Field’s blog post (linked below) is an adult’s perspective on finding topics to write about, his premise is useful for those of you struggling with your college application essay topic:  you have a content-worthy life, and there is stuff in it you can mine for a kick-a** essay.

Check out Jonathan Fields’ blog post here.


(To grab your FREE guide on how to write a stellar college application essay, please visit my website at to download your copy today!)

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First Step for Writing a Killer College Application Essay: Mindset

That’s right, the first step is mindset.

Now, I know a lot of people might say, “What’s ‘mindset’ got to do with the essay writing process?  I just want to know how to write a great college application essay.”

But the truth is, if you don’t start the process with the right mindset, the writing part is going to be a lot more challenging and stressful than it needs to be.

So what is the “correct mindset?”  

It’s this: You want to know before you begin writing that you can do this well.  Believe that you do have lots of great insights and experiences from which to draw to create a stellar essay. Believe that you can write an essay that will help get you into the college of your choice. 

Because it’s undeniably true. 

If you give yourself enough time to brainstorm, choose a topic, write a first draft, write a second draft, then edit, proofread and polish, you’re there!

See, knowing this going in, and I mean utterly believing it in your core, will help reduce the stress you feel when you sit down to write.  You’ll be relaxed, and when you are in that state of relaxation, the brainstorming, topic selection, and writing are all going to flow much more easily.

On the other hand, if you’re freaked out by the process, you’re going to be scattered and nervous and unable to focus properly.  And this task is one that requires focus and concentration. 

The other part of correct mindset is, don’t go into the writing process thinking that your entire future rests on the completion of a college application essay.  It does not!  That mindset creates way too much stress.  And stress reduces focus.

Yes, this is a very important piece of writing, and a lot is riding on how well you do it, but if you’ve given yourself enough time for each stage of the essay writing process, then you will have no problem knocking it out of the ballpark.  You know you can do this.

And I know you can do this, because if you’re reading this blog post right now, that means you’re invested in writing a kick-a** essay, and you’ll do what it takes to get the job done.

(For more on proper mindset and other tips and techniques for writing a killer college application essay, visit my website at and download your FREE essay writing guide today!)


The Purpose of the College Application Essay

So, just what are colleges looking for when they read your college application essay? 

When reading your essay, admissions committees want to see:

Evidence of your writing abilities – they want to see that you can write in a clear and organized way. The essay showcases your writing skills, and your ability to organize your thoughts into a coherent, structured narrative.  You will be doing a lot of this kind of writing in college, and admissions committees want to see that you’ve got what it takes.

Evidence of reasonable goals and expectations – they want to see that you can clearly convey what you want to study and why.

What you can bring to a college campus — the essay will reveal your unique personality and character.  The portrait you paint of yourself says a great deal about both your qualifications and your individuality and uniqueness.

Your essay is meant to reveal what you think and feel is important about your world.  Colleges want to know about your preferences, your values, and your thought process.

Colleges want to gain insights into you that aren’t revealed in your test scores, transcripts or letters of recommendation. They want to know what makes you unique.  Your GPA and test scores may paint you as a stellar student, but the essay will tell the admissions committee something special and interesting about you they don’t already know from reviewing the rest of your application packet.

So, your essay needs to:

~ Persuade the admissions committee that you are worthy of admission

~ And show the admissions committee that you are more than a GPA and a standardized test score — you are a real-life, unique and interesting person.

And this is where brainstorming and pre-writing come in.  Through brainstorming exercises, you’ll begin to see connections that define the person you are, and from there, narrow down your topic choice to something you can write about persuasively and effectively, that reveals the real, and unique, you.

(To grab your FREE guide on how to write a stellar college application essay, please visit my website at to download your copy today!)

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Grab Your Free Essay Writing Guide!

Would you like some help writing your college application essay?

I’ve written a 20-page essay-writing guide — completely free to you, no strings attached — on crafting a stellar college application essay. 

Inside this free guide, I’ll share:

* effective tips and tricks for writing a college application essay that helps get you in 

* what colleges are looking for in the essay 

* guidance on topic selection, writing mechanics, editing, and more.  

To grab your free essay writing guide, simply visit my website and enter your e-mail address in the form provided. You will instantly receive an e-mail containing the link to download your free essay writing guide!  That’s all you have to do — there truly are no strings attached!

Entering your e-mail address will also get you my free Essay Mentor Writing Tips E-mail Newsletter, filled with more essay writing tips, and delivered to your e-mail inbox over the coming days and weeks.

Please visit today to sign up and receive your free guide!

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