Aug. 13, 2020
Rising high school seniors, we haven't forgotten about you! The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed the realm of higher education. It seems as though all we have been hearing and reading about the past five months or so is how the coronavirus has affected, is affecting, and will affect almost every aspect of our lives. Many of us have sought ways to escape the onslaught of bad news.
"There are myriad topics in your world … right under your nose. Use them!"
"Titles can lend heft to an essay if they are carefully thought out …"
"Those are just three examples of great college application essays."
"Keeping all this in mind, construct a list of "little known habits, hobbies and other weird stuff " about yourself. Then, work to shape an aspect (or aspects) of that list into a winning statement."
"You should be able to see the advantage of using not only picturesque imagery but also one of my favorite essay elements: humor."
"Do you have some kind of challenge in your life that you have worked to overcome, like Cheryl? If so, give some thought to writing about it in your college applications."
"As always, remember: Don't write what you think they want to hear; write what you want to say!"
"Essay ideas are everywhere; we just don't see them."
"Even the brightest students many times have difficulty conjuring decent topics and gathering their compositional forces to put together a winning set of sentences and paragraphs. So, what's a frustrated essayist to do then?"
"The lesson here for essay writers is to look around your everyday lives carefully. Scenes like those immortalized here in "Banana Girl" happen all the time."
"What you can see in these entries is the contrast between writers who write what they want to say (the winners) and those who write what the contest judges want to hear (the losers)."
What you'll see in the samples I posted in the above articles can show you the natural style incorporated by the writers. Their essays flow smoothly and don't have an "academic" feel about them. When you read them, you can almost hear the writers speaking. In other words, their "voice" is natural and not at all affected by formality or overblown usage. They don't use big words just for the sake of impressive vocabulary. Big words don't impress admissions committees. A natural voice, convincingly presented, does.
The best essays help you to stand out in a crowd and reveal who you are and how you think. Sure, you can write a good essay about anything, but an essay often has the most impact if it highlights something that is unique or unusual about you.
Finally, try to have some fun with this. I know that "fun" probably isn't the first word that comes to mind when you think about your college essays, but you may find that once you get into it, you'll actually enjoy expressing yourself!
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