College Essay Advice

Meredith: Are there certain essay subjects that a student should avoid?

Jodi: Admissions counselors will see the same narratives over and over.

Most colleges require at least one essay from applicants, and several schools require two or three.

We checked in with Jodi Then, High School Counselor at Boston Green Academy, to ask her advice on crafting the best college essay.

The essay also provides you with an opportunity to say what hasn’t been said in your application and do so in your distinct voice.

For colleges, the essay not only provides an opportunity to evaluate your creativity, writing style and ability, but also says something about your outlook on life—your preferences, values, the way you think—and the experiences and people who have uniquely shaped you. Admissions counselors develop a sixth sense about essay writers who are authentic.We trust you’ll find this information useful as you prepare your college applications.Feel free to contact our admissions staff with additional questions.Key tip: Students should not worry about what the admissions committee will like the most.Instead students should figure out what they like writing about, as this will naturally allow them to go into more detail and depth.Finally, colleges can use the essay to begin picturing how you’ll connect with and make the most of resources within their specific campus communities. You’ll score points for being earnest and faithful to yourself. Another very simple tip, but many of the less compelling essays we read each year fail to focus.Think about the special nugget of information you want the reader to know about you at the end of your essay and write with that central theme in mind. At the end of your focused essay, be sure that what you have written directly responds to the request or question presented in the essay prompt you have selected. Parading your highly evolved vocabulary in front of the admissions committee in order to impress is a very seductive trap.In choosing a proofreader, find someone who knows you well, but who will also help you to preserve your voice within the essay.The college essay is an important component of the college application process.Jodi: Students first need to determine what applications they will use in the admissions process, and find out each one’s essay questions and prompts.The Common App is still the most popular, but there’s also now the new Coalition App, and then some schools have their own application.

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