How to Write “Why THIS College?” Essays: The Love Letter

Posted by Sophie Herron on Oct 17, 2014 10:40:42 AM

If you’re staring at your Early Decision application, trying to figure out the right way to answer, “Why the University of X?”, you’re not alone. We work with students every year who are trying to find the right way to express their interest in a school without sounding painfully cliché.
 
A great supplement essay is just like a great prom proposal-- it’s memorable, unique, and above all, reflects that you know what the recipient likes. In the Common App essay, your job is to reveal your character. In the supplement essays, your job is to prove that you and the college are a good match. And if a college asks “Why Us?” you can bet they are reading that essay especially carefully.
 
Here are the three steps to take write a supplement essay that will get their hearts pounding:
 
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Topics: college application essay, how to, seniors, supplement essays

3 “Dont’s” For Parents of College Applicants

Posted by Jocelyn Johnson on Oct 16, 2014 5:38:00 PM

By Jocelyn Johnson, Courses and Content Coordinator

With only 15 days until November 1st, the deadline for most Early Action and Early Decision options, the countdown to college is officially on. If you are the parent of a high school senior, you might be thinking “don’t remind me.” You want to do all you can to help your child get into their “dream school,” but there is a fine (if sometimes blurry) line between what helps and what has the potential to harm.

Yesterday, the Washington Post’s The Answer Sheet featured a post by Liz Willen, editor of The Hechinger Report, on ten things not to do when your child is applying to college. Here’s our thoughts on our top 3 favorite tips:

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Finding Inspiration in College Essays by Accepted Students

Posted by Sophie Herron on Oct 16, 2014 11:35:00 AM

Ask anyone who has applied to college and they’ll tell you the college application process takes a toll on you. But what is it about the application that’s so difficult?

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Topics: essay examples, Guest Post

From College Applications to College Graduation

Posted by Jocelyn Johnson on Oct 14, 2014 12:49:00 PM

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article by Melissa Korn found that “A Bit of College Can Be Worse Than None at All.” The article examined data from a Drexel University Center for Labor Markets and Policy survey, and discovered that young adults who dropped out of college don’t fare much better than their peers with only a high school diploma. The article also reports that the number of students who start, but never finish, college is growing--according to the study, nearly one-third of college freshmen in 2012 didn’t return to a U.S. school the following year. This adds a new layer to the question:  “Is a college degree still worth it?

High school students should consider the implications that earning a few credits could actually hurt rather than help in the long run. But how can students applying to college decide if college is actually right for them?

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Topics: college application, application process, college graduation

Blockbuster College Essays: Start Your College Essay with a Bang

Posted by Sophie Herron on Oct 10, 2014 2:25:00 PM

by Sophie Herron, Course and Coaching Advisor

College application essays should start with awesome sentences. Which is not intimidating at all. And when you’ve been writing analytical essays for English class, research papers for History, and lab reports for Science, it can be tough to think of an opening that doesn’t sound a little cliché. The great news is: we are surrounded by excellent role models. 

When I'm teaching courses and we are working on openings, I often ask, “How do movies begin?” It sparks a lively discussion (and a lot of movie spoilers). From examples given by both students and teachers, we've formed a list of techniques that draw readers in as effectively as Up’s tear-jerker, Fight Club’s shock, or Saving Private Ryan’s tragedy, just to name a few.

Let’s take a detailed look at the four techniques to creating a successful opening in your college essay.

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Improving College Aid in the United States

Posted by Sophie Herron on Oct 8, 2014 7:00:00 PM

by Sophie Herron, Course and Coaching Advisor

This morning, New York Times economics expert Eduardo Porter tackled the slow growth of college attendance in the US in “Why Aid for College Is Missing the Mark." He points out that especially among low-income students, the United States is falling behind countries it led only 20 years ago. Porter states that while the US government has a robust program of student aid, that aid is mis-allotted. 25% goes to for-profit colleges, who often hike up their tuition prices in response, effectively erasing any financial benefit to the student.  He suggests lawmakers look to Great Britain as a model of a higher-education program that provides wide-ranging access.

We applaud Porter for furthering the discussion about college access in the United States. We also touched on this issue last fall in Carol's article in Reuters, “How Can we Expand College Access to Low Income Students?

What are your suggestions for improvement in college access? 

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Topics: college access,, news, new york times,

4 Ways to Prepare for Writing Essays in College

Posted by Sophie Herron on Oct 8, 2014 12:03:00 PM

by Naomi Tepper, Kibin Content Manager
 
Today, we bring you a message from Kibin to the class of 2014, as they begin your college careers: what to expect when writing essays in college
 

You’ve worked hard, crafted an amazing admissions essay, and succeeded in getting into your dream school. Congratulations!

Now that you can stop worrying about getting into college, it’s time to start worrying about all that college homework—particularly writing college essays. (Did someone just play the theme song to Jaws?)

Whether you are planning to major in English or engineering, your journey into college essay writing is just beginning.
 
Are you ready?
 
You might not be. It turns out that 60% of incoming freshmen aren’t prepared for college-level courses. How can you make sure that you’ll be one of the 40% who are ready to tackle college-level writing head on?
 
If you’re reading this post, then you are probably ahead of the pack. Continue on to learn 4 critical things you need to know about writing essays in college.
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Supplement Tuesday: George Washington University Application Essay

Posted by Sophie Herron on Oct 7, 2014 3:37:00 PM

by Sophie Herron, Course and Coaching Advisor

This year, George Washington University changed its supplement essay prompt from last year’s “Why GW?” to questions that are slightly more oddball.

The new prompts are slight variations on the “Why GW?” theme, just a little more pointed. It is with this in mind—George Washington wants to be convinced you know what they’re about, and that you’ll be a perfect fit—that applicants should approach the new prompts.

The supplement section prompts applicants to choose one of the three following questions in essays of 250 words or less. Let’s take a brief look at each.

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3 Unexpected Questions Parents Are Asking About College Applications

Posted by Carol Barash on Oct 3, 2014 5:43:00 PM

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

The college application process can often be equally as stressful for parents as it is for high school seniors, especially when it comes to the college essay. With the pressure to do all they can to help their child get in to their “dream school,” many parents tell me they find it challenging to balance providing constructive criticism and being supportive and encouraging.

Last night, I spoke at the New York Parents League about college admission and scholarship essays, and ended the discussion, as always, with a question and answer session.

One mother raised her hand. “Carol, you mentioned the Common App essay, but I was wondering. My son is applying to 10 schools, and he has over 10 supplement essays to write as well. Are they as important?”

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5 College Application Essay Mistakes + 1 More

Posted by Sophie Herron on Sep 25, 2014 11:30:00 AM

by Sophie Herron, Course and Coaching Manager
 
This past Monday, Story2, our free, online interactive college essay writing toolkit, went live. Since then, students essays have been pouring in.
 
As we've reviewed these essays, we noticed a couple of trends, and we wanted to share our observations with all the students working on their college applications this fall.
 
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Topics: college application essay, juniors, seniors, dos and don'ts, story2

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