How To Write A Winning College Essay

The essays were slipped to us by college professors, high-school guidance counselors, independent admissions consultants, and even staffers at student newspapers.

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(A few more: Don't write about mom and dad's divorce, and no general philosophizing—you're 17, get over yourself.) Admissions season is under way, and with early applications deadlines starting November 1, you've only got a few more days to polish your make-or-break essay.

Straight As and stellar SAT scores won't be enough.

"I once heard one [essay-writing] professional brag about slipping in mistakes to throw off admissions officers," he says.

"That's just disgusting."Rule #1: When Tackling a Global Issue, Make it Personal Brown Freshman Nawal Traish could have chosen to write about U. relations with Libya or general unrest in the Muslim world.

“Families are going through hell right now, and it’s the very personal experiences that will resonate the most.” Then again, Poch adds, “Sympathy isn’t the only reason we let kids in.”Despite what admissions guidebooks tell you, there's no surefire formula to the college essay.

Poch confesses even a small error or two will not necessarily kill your chances of getting in—as long as it's not on purpose.(Scroll down to read the essays, unedited and in full.)You'll need the help: Competition at these schools is fiercer than ever.For every kid who’s hung prayer flags on a mountain summit in Tibet, there are a dozen others who’ve studied a Bantu language in Rwanda, worked with Guatemalan orphans, cooked with a celebrity chef, or been on reality TV.And yet she chose to write her essay about giving up on ballet, rather than persevering once she'd tired of it."It's OK to let down your guard, not be safe and sanitized," says Poch."It can allow us to relate to you as a real human being.( Click here to read Abigail's essay.)Nawal Traish Brown University Class of 2013One glance out the window, where palm trees swayed as cars sped by, and I could have been at LAX.With early application deadlines upon us, guidance counselors, professors, and admissions consultants slipped Kathleen Kingsbury seven essays that helped get kids into top schools last year—and she examines exactly what they did right. These are a few topics on independent consultant Arun Ponnusamy’s list of what not to write about in your college application essay. What you learned about poverty on your ,000 trip to Africa."I remember in the days after [Hurricane] Katrina, I had an otherwise thoughtful and engaged kid sitting across from me bemoaning how the kids in New Orleans were 'going to have awesome essays,'" says Ponnusamy."This sense amongst upper-middle-class kids that 'nothing bad has ever happened to me' is always amusing. The essay that got Isabel Polon into Yale swells with appealing and insightful details that show her meticulous nature.

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