How to Write Your College Essay About A Difficult Topic

Posted by Jocelyn Johnson on Nov 19, 2014 12:27:53 PM

Jamie,* a  student in my college essay writing course, pulled me to the side. “So I think I know what I want to write about now, but I’m not sure,” she said. “What’s your idea?” I asked. She looked around the room and whispered, “Sophomore year I got addicted to diet pills, but can I tell that story?”

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Topics: college essay

10 Hacks for Your College Applications

Posted by Jocelyn Johnson on Nov 18, 2014 10:30:00 AM

by Jocelyn Johnson, Courses and Content Coordinator

We're moving into the final leg of the 2014 admissions race. But, don’t short change yourself by cutting corners on your applications because you’re feeling burnt out or pressed for time. Here are 10 tips on how to navigate these final weeks and submit successful college applications.

1. Remember the purpose of the essay...

The main personal statement is your opportunity to let admissions committees know who you really are, beyond your grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities. But 80% of essays are so general they do not help admissions committees decide whom to admit. Use Story2 to write essays in your own voice and stand out from the pile.

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The Story Behind Story2

Posted by Jocelyn Johnson on Nov 17, 2014 7:01:04 PM

Curious about what 
Story2 does? Looking for four simple steps to write compelling college application essays? Here's a rundown of how it helps:

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Topics: college admission, college application essay, story2

Story2 Unveiled - Step 4: Focus Out

Posted by Story2 on Nov 14, 2014 6:24:00 PM

Many students fall into the trap of writing their college admission essay like they would write an essay for their English or History class. But when students use interpretations and analyzations to describe themselves and their experience, it actually puts up a wall between them and the admissions officer.

Story2 teaches students how to write in a way that will empower them to directly connect with admission officers. After you complete Map It, the next step is to focus out. “Focus Out” means getting out of your head (thoughts, interpretations, emotions) and into the real world of shared experience (actions, dialogue, physical description).

Focus Out helps you identify generalizations, interpretations, and cliches and transform them into personal and powerful details. Here’s how:

1.  Click sentences that need revision. Look for warning signs such as sentences that start with: “I thought”, “I felt”, “I realized”, and “I learned.”

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Topics: college admissions essay, storytelling, focus out, story2

Story2 Unveiled - Step 3: Map It

Posted by Story2 on Nov 14, 2014 2:19:50 PM

Giving your college admission essay direction and purpose will provide the structure necessary for keeping your reader’s attention.  Story2’s Map It shows students how to identify and organize the details, dialogue, and descriptions that will transport the reader from the beginning to the end of their story.

Whether you’ve just completed Tell It Out Loud or uploaded a draft directly to Story2, the next step is to Map It. Story2’s map consists of three critical sentences: Magnet, Pivot and Glow. Here’s how it works:

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Topics: college admission essay, what admissions officers are looking for, mapping, college essay, story2

Story2 Unveiled - Step 2: Tell It Out Loud

Posted by Story2 on Nov 12, 2014 6:01:00 PM

The fear that creeps in after sitting for hours brainstorming the introductory sentence of your college admission essay is a shared experience for high school students this season. The intimidating stare from the blank page has left the best of us at a loss for words. With Story2, your first draft isn’t on the page, but a recording of your authentic voice.

After you Find A Moment, the next step is to Tell It Out loud. Here’s how it goes:

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Topics: storytelling, college essay, story2

Pilot Of Story2, The Online Platform For College Application Essay Development, Drives 75 Percent Essay Completion Rate

Posted by Jocelyn Johnson on Nov 12, 2014 1:19:05 PM

Pilot Of Story2, The Online Platform For College Application Essay Development, Drives 75 Percent Essay Completion Rate

Story2 Now Publicly Available To All Students Applying For College

Story To College
, the company that brings the art and science of storytelling to students in the college application process, throughout college, and into the work world, announced today the conclusion of a pilot release of Story2, its online platform for storytelling and admissions essay completion.  During the pilot, 84 percent of students who registered to use the platform began developing essays by selecting something they want colleges to know about them. In addition, over 800 students used the tool to find a specific essay topic, which they went on to develop independently. Finally, using Story2, 75 percent of students went from telling a story to completing final draft essays for their college applications.

The toolkit was available to students from a range of schools, including several KIPP regions, District of Columbia Public Schools, and Townsend Harris High School in Queens, New York.  Now that the pilot has concluded, Story2 will be open to all students applying for colleges in this year’s application cycle.

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Story2 Unveiled - Step 1: Find a Moment

Posted by Story2 on Nov 10, 2014 6:23:00 PM

Students working on college admission essays often stumble at the beginning, when trying to pick a topic. Story2 makes starting your essay as easy as taking a quiz on Facebook or Buzzfeed.

1.  First you choose a trait that helps focus your essay on you.

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Topics: students, college essay, story2

Early Everything: What I Saw Coaching Students through Early Admission 2014

Posted by Carol Barash on Nov 6, 2014 10:00:00 AM

by Carol Barash, PhD, founder and CEO, Story To College, and author of Write Out Loud


Over the past 30 days, I’ve had a unique window on the Early Admission process, watching nearly 2,000 students work on their essays at our new site, Story2. Over 100 of those students finished their essays on our site, revealing what and how students write about their own experiences when they aren’t poked and prodded continuously by adults. I also spoke with roughly 50 families about various aspects of their early applications and gave 21 students individual feedback and coaching on their essays.

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Topics: admission, story2, early admission

Learn How To Tell Your Story: The Key to Successful Admissions Essays

Posted by Jocelyn Johnson on Nov 4, 2014 4:04:00 PM

By Jocelyn Johnson, Courses and Conent Coordinator

Are you still stuck on taking the first step with your college essay? It may be easier than you think. Admissions officers want to get to know the real youwho you are as a person beyond all of the elements of your application. There's no better way to do that than using your essay to tell a story in your own voice.

Here's how:



“You reveal a part of your experience, you draw on the other person’s memories and there’s a shared connection. [...] You can be vulnerable, but also safe, because the other person’s going to get it.”

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Topics: storytelling, college essay, admission essay

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