PPT common application

Considerations for Writing
your College Essays
Focus on the Common Application
What the Admission Committees
Look For
• A student with potential for growth.
• An individual who will contribute to the
quality of life for other students.
• A personality that will fit in on their
• Individuals who are sincere and are
themselves. They can spot a fake a mile
Colleges Use Different Essay Topics
• Some colleges have 1 or 2 prescribed
topics to write about.
• Others allow you to choose among topics.
(Common Application: choose 1 of 6)
• Still others have several categories in
which you must respond
Common Application Essay
3 (of 6) questions:
1. Discuss an issue of personal, local, national or
international concern & its importance to you.
2. Indicate a person who has had a significant
influence on you and describe that influence.
3. Topic of your choice.
There is also one question every student must
Essay Blueprint: Do This!
Find a topic
Write a draft
Revise and rewrite
Get feedback
Final editing
Topics to Help You Start
Write about a time when you:
• have been inspired.
• had fun.
• were intellectually connected in class.
• felt exceptionally alive.
• lost your sense of time because you were
so engrossed in learning something.
More Topic Starters
• What is the best piece of advice you ever
Which one of your personal qualities would you
want someone to write about in a
What is your most important possession?
What one thing annoys you the most?
Describe a time you used humor to get your self
out of an uncomfortable situation.
What are your three biggest mistakes?
Other Thoughts to Consider
• Write about things that interest you or about
experiences you have had.
If you write about an important event make sure
it is genuine and not a story others have told
Include things not already in your application or
Write a snapshot of your life not your whole life
A personal statement can explain your academic
record if it is not strong.
A Good Essay is …..
• Not good because of the topic but because of the voice.
• Show vs. Tell: a good essay shows by using all of the
senses, not just the visual and notices everything that is
Topic: Death in the family (opening statement):
Poor example: From an early age we accept death as
inevitable but do not comprehend its actual denotation.
Good example: The coughing came first then the hacking
in the middle of the night.
Work on these points
• Make your essays personal but stay within the
Length: most colleges set limits. Don’t over
write as admission counselors will not
appreciate it - Make every word count.
Write an attention-getting lead; say something
brief, direct and intriguing but not scary.
Word Choice: weigh each word and substitute
more colorful ones that an 18 year old would
Tone: read your essay out loud. Does it sound
passionate, humorous or reflective?
• Can the reader connect with how you are
thinking or feeling?
Watch out for vague language or inappropriate
word choice i. e use of the word “stuff” “ or
“like, whatever.”
Do not use IM language or shortcuts.
Proofread not just spell check “I am interested
in attending your homely campus.”
Watch out for over use of the pronoun “I.”
Check Your Essay
Correct usage of words and phrases
• Proofread and have someone else
• Often more is less so don’t go on and on…
• Be creative and confident; if you don’t
believe in yourself no one else will.
• Don’t let your parent write your essay;
they can tell if a 59 year old wrote it or if
you wrote it at 11:59 pm.
• You do not have to prove anything.
• Don’t try to solve life’s mysteries.
• Don’t attempt to save the world in your
• They realize you are 18 and assume you
are bright and motivated.
Questions an admissions counselor
will consider after reading your
What did I learn about you?
What do I remember about you?
Do I have confidence in your writing?
Do I have any concerns about you?
Did you come across as thoughtful or
Take time to create a winning essay!
Common Application