Interviewers can also learn about candidates from the interesting, thoughtful questions they bring to the table. Recommendations tell us a great deal about the way you think and learn, how you contribute to your school community, and what you add to a classroom dynamic. The best recommendations are not always from the teachers in whose class you earned the highest grades, but rather from those teachers who know you best and can discuss the substance of your intellect and character.
We are as interested in your intellectual curiosity and resilience as in your innate ability and work ethic. A string of generic superlatives is not as useful as a specific, thoughtful discussion of your strengths. All applicants for first-year admission should request two letters of recommendation from teachers who have taught the student in core academic subjects: These teachers will best speak to your recent progress, your preparation for rigorous collegiate coursework, and your potential contributions beyond the classroom.
Supplementary materials can provide broader context to some parts of your application, but they can just as often be superfluous and distracting. But a third recommendation that raves about you, just as your other letters do, will not necessarily enhance your application. In fact, it may dilute the effect of the two required recommendations.
For more information visit our page on supplementary materials. Your transcript is a significant part of your application. We look at your overall record, from all four years of high school. We always remain mindful of context: Did you take a rigorous curriculum given these course offerings? Are there patterns to your transcript that reflect on your academic potential? We rely on school profiles and guidance counselors to give us an understanding of your school and the ways in which you have been academically engaged.
We also consider your standardized test scores. Think of testing as just another part of the application. Only retake a test if you feel you will significantly improve your scores. If your testing is in the right ballpark, then it probably will not be the deciding factor for your candidacy. Instead, spend your time on things that will help you grow as a person: Skip to main content.
Advice on Putting Together Your Application. Your record of activities outside the classroom should demonstrate a number of things: You engage your community beyond the classroom. This helps keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant. This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays.
But using too many of these ready-made expressions runs the risk of clouding out your own voice and replacing it with something expected and boring. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies.
We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in. I have always loved riding in cars. As I grew, and graduated into the shotgun seat, it became natural and enjoyable to look out the window.
Seeing my world passing by through that smudged glass, I would daydream what I could do with it. In elementary school, I already knew my career path: I was going to be Emperor of the World.
While I sat in the car and watched the miles pass by, I developed the plan for my empire. I reasoned that, for the world to run smoothly, it would have to look presentable. I would assign people, aptly named Fixer-Uppers, to fix everything that needed fixing. That old man down the street with chipping paint on his house would have a fresh coat in no time. The boy who accidentally tossed his Frisbee onto the roof of the school would get it back.
The big pothole on Elm Street that my mother managed to hit every single day on the way to school would be filled-in. It made perfect sense! I was like a ten-year-old FDR. I always pictured a Fixer-Upper as a smiling man in an orange T-Shirt. Maybe instead, a Fixer-Upper could be a tall girl with a deep love for Yankee Candles.
Maybe it could be me. Bridget the Fixer-Upper will be slightly different than the imaginary one who paints houses and fetches Frisbees. I was lucky enough to discover what I am passionate about when I was a freshman in high school. On my first day, I learned that it was for developmentally-disabled students. To be honest, I was really nervous.
Long story short, I got hooked. Three years have passed helping out in APE and eventually becoming a teacher in the Applied Behavior Analysis summer program.
I love working with the students and watching them progress. Instead, I told him I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst. A BCBA helps develop learning plans for students with autism and other disabilities. Basically, I would get to do what I love for the rest of my life. He laughed and told me that it was a nice change that a seventeen-year-old knew so specifically what she wanted to do. I smiled, thanked him, and left. But it occurred to me that, while my desired occupation was decided, my true goal in life was still to become a Fixer-Upper.
My childhood self would appreciate that. Bridget takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but her essay is just as detailed and engaging. The essay is arranged chronologically. Bridget starts each paragraph with a clear signpost of where we are in time:. I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst.
It helps that the metaphor is a very clear one: Every childhood Fixer-Upper ever. Ask your parents to explain the back row to you. This essay uses many techniques that make Bridget sound genuine and make the reader feel like we already know her. The second technique is the way Bridget coins her own terms, carrying them through the whole essay.
It would be easy enough to simply describe the people she imagined in childhood as helpers or assistants, and to simply say that as a child she wanted to rule the world. The third technique is to use sentences of varying length, syntax, and structure. However, at key moments, Bridget emphasizes that the reader needs to sit up and pay attention by switching to short, colloquial, differently punctuated, and sometimes fragmented sentences.
The last key moment that gets the small-sentence treatment is the emotional crux of the essay. As we watch Bridget go from nervously trying to help disabled students to falling in love with this specialty field, she undercuts the potential sappiness of the moment by relying on changed-up sentence length and slang: The best essays convey emotions just as clearly as this image. Explain the car connection better. It would be great to either connect this into the essay more, or to take it out altogether and create more space for something else.
It would take the focus off of her and possibly read as offensive or condescending. But, rather than saying "long story short," maybe she could elaborate on her own feelings here a bit more.
What is it about this kind of teaching that she loves? What is she hoping to bring to the lives of her future clients? How can you use this discussion to better your own college essay? Here are some suggestions for ways to use this resource effectively. Make a note whenever you find an essay or part of an essay that you think was particularly well-written, and think about what you like about it.
Does it help you really get to know the writer? Does it show what makes the writer unique? Once you have your list, keep it next to you while writing your essay to remind yourself to try and use those same techniques in your own essay. It can either be very dramatic did you survive a plane crash? Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world.
Let me level with you: And in order to have time to rewrite, you have to start way before the application deadline. Let it sit for a few days untouched. What is in the wrong place? Do this several times over, and your essay will be much better for it! Interested in learning more about college essays? Working on the rest of your application? Download it for free now:. Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia.
She is passionate about improving student access to higher education. You should definitely follow us on social media. Follow us on all 3 of our social networks:. How to Get a Perfect , by a Perfect Scorer. Score on SAT Math. Score on SAT Reading. Score on SAT Writing. What ACT target score should you be aiming for? Anna Wulick Jun 1, Visible Signs of Planning Building out from a narrow, concrete focus. Stellar Execution A killer first sentence. Want to build the best possible college application?
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I appreciate that writing your college essay in the summer is a major buzz kill, but if you start one now, you'll thank me in the fall when it's application crunchtime. To inspire you, I've asked.
Learn how brainstorming and planning can help you write your best college essays. Start slide show Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay Your college application essay gives you a chance to show admission officers who you really are beyond grades and test scores. Learn about crafting an effective essay.
Need to write a college application essay? Check out these resources and sample essays -- designed to help you write a successful application essay. Help with college application essay may play a key role in the chances of the candidate to be accepted. Don't ruin yours with a poorly written application essay! Imagine your disappointment if you get turned down because you hadn't asked for help with college application essay!.
Get insightful tips on how to write an effective college application essay and set yourself apart from other applicants. Why it's important and how you can help. Your students’ college essay is their opportunity to reveal their best qualities and to show an admission committee what makes them stand out from other applicants. Work with your students to help them with this important piece of their application.