Archive for category essay writing guidance

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!)

Leave a comment

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!

Leave a comment

Why the College Application Essay Is So Important

You’re in the process of applying to college.  You know how important your course of study, grades, class rank, GPA, SAT scores and EC’s are to your candidacy.  You also have a resumé that boasts summer activities, a job, and other special skills or talents. You have your recommendation letters all set, and maybe you’ve even had an interview at the college of your choice.

And then there’s the essay or personal statement. 

So let’s break down why the college application essay is so important.

We all know that gaining entrance into just about any college is getting more and more difficult, as more applicants, many of them academically gifted and highly qualified, are seeking to fill a very limited number of slots. 

The 2009 College Board’s College Admission and Enrollment Statistics found that while grades, secondary school record and SAT scores are the top factors in the college admissions decision, a majority of colleges and universities consider the essay to be important or very important in determining which academically qualified students they’ll choose.

This very important piece of writing can tip the scales in your favor, all other factors being equal between you and other candidates with a similar resume and background.

Think about it. 

By the time you apply to college, your GPA or class rank is mostly set, and it’s difficult to significantly change it. Your SAT score is also pretty much a done deal. And can you really add or change your extracurricular activities enough to make a difference at this point?

Besides, there are hundreds of high school students out there with kick-a** GPAs, awesome SAT scores, and tons of extracurriculars on their resumes.  And they are applying to the same schools you are.

What to do?

This still leaves you with two factors within your control for enhancing your college applications in a way that will set you apart  – your letters of reference and your personal essay.  You can work with your letter writers to get good letters of reference, and they want to help you, but they are going to write what they want to write.  You have no control over what they say and how they say it.

The personal statement or essay, however, is completely within your control.  The essay is your chance to show college admissions officers what is unique, special and wonderful about you; it’s where you can show them the ways in which you are a candidate unlike any other, through a well-chosen topic and a persuasive narrative.

The essay is where you can highlight what sets you apart from the hordes of other applicants, in your own words.  And it’s the one place where you can draw attention to things about yourself not found in your resume and elsewhere in your application packet because it provides information about you that test scores, grades, and extracurricular activities cannot.

It’s where you get to tell a story only you can tell.

When all else is equal between competing applicants with similar grades, SAT scores, and EC’s, a compelling, powerfully written essay can make the difference and set you apart from your peers. 

So give yourself plenty of time to craft your essay, going step-by-step through the writing process — brainstorming and choosing a topic, organizing your information, writing a draft, rewriting; then editing, proofreading, and polishing.

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

Leave a comment