"I never felt great about my writing and was very nervous for the common app essay, but Mrs. G. helped me every step of the way. I got into my first choice school, and the admissions counselor even wrote me a letter saying how much he appreciated my essay! I think that’s what clinched my acceptance for me."
- Vincent C | Quinnipiac Freshman | New York, NY
Where and how do I begin?
Which topic should I choose?
How personal, creative, or “unique” do I have to be in order to be noticed?
How do I make my essay stand out?
How do I include my accomplishments without bragging?
What do admissions counselors really want to hear?
While each college admissions counselor is an individual, using his or her own personal set of criteria when judging applicant essays, there are a few things an applicant – and his or her parents — can count on.
First, the admissions counselor is looking to see what he or she can learn about your child as a person. The counselor is not interested in reading a laundry list of accomplishments – this can be found elsewhere on the application. Instead, he or she wants to gain a sense of what your child values, a sense of what makes your child tick.
Second, counselors look for fit. How will your child mesh with the school culture? What will your child bring to the campus? In what ways will your child add to the student body?
Third, how well does your child write? Your child’s story must not only be interesting and capture his or her essence, but it must be well written too! (AND the essay must also be written in your child’s voice; admissions counselors are incredibly adept at spotting the essays that have been “over-edited” by adults.)
Here are some of the questions that I am most frequently asked regarding the college essay:
When it comes to the essay writing process – one of my very favorite parts of the college prep process – I act as coach, advisor, and writing mentor. I have a keen sense of how to help your child bring his or her best self out and on to the page; we brainstorm, write, and rewrite, and the result is a well-crafted, effective piece of writing that will make admissions counselors take notice.
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