Here are Five Lessons Your College-Bound Kids Can Learn in the Next 15 Days That Will Guarantee Them a College Acceptance Letter (#1)
Here are Five Lessons Your College-Bound Kids Can Learn in the Next 15 Days That Will Guarantee Them a College Acceptance Letter (#1)

#1: Pick a Prompt and Figure Out How to Respond To It

Note: If you haven't created an account on the COMMON APPLICATION, you should do so immediately.  


The common application is where you can apply to over 700 colleges in one place for one fee.  And even the fee can be waived.


FIRST, change the prompt from a question to a statement and insert personal pronouns so that the statement sounds as if you are saying it right now:
HERE’S THE ORIGINAL:
"Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story."
HERE IS HOW IT SOUNDS MORE PERSONALIZED:
I have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful I believe my application would be incomplete without it. Here is my story:

This is a good start but now you have to decide which of the items (background, interest, identity, or talent) if omitted would make your application incomplete.

Since I don't know you, I will make up an “example student” to show you how this prompt might become further refined and even segue into a claim for the resulting essay.

Now remember the personalized version of the prompt reads like this so far: “I have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful I believe my application would be incomplete without it. Here is my story:”

For the purposes of this example, we’re going to say that that an INTEREST that is MEANINGFUL to the “example student” is WRITING. With that in mind, let’s further refine the PROMPT to reflect that INTEREST.

SO FAR WE HAVE: “I have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful I believe my application would be incomplete without it. Here is my story:”

HERE IS HOW IT SOUNDS FURTHER REFINED: “My application would be incomplete without mentioning my writing. Here is my story:”

Okay! Our “example student” now has a solid direction for responding to the prompt. They know their essay will focus on their interest and talent for writing.


Come back each week to get the continuation of this lesson on how to write an extraordinary college entrance essay.

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