High Schoolpersonal statements

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Avoiding clichés in your Common App essay
The Common App essay is a near-universal hurdle for American high schoolers. Millions of essays from the same seven prompts are written each year for admissions teams to read. As a result, a handful of clichés have emerged about the Common App essay: the school community service trip, the death of a grandparent, the sports injury—I could go on…
How to make the college admissions process less stressful and more rewarding
Let’s put it bluntly: the college admissions process can be taxing. Between standardized tests, constant deadlines, and the dreaded personal essay, there are myriad sources of stress facing every college applicant. But while studying for any particular exam might provoke some degree of automatic anxiety, the process itself can be rewarding. ...
Writing advice: know your audience!
Writing, in all forms it takes, can be very scary. This is because writing is hard! If you’re anything like me, you may also worry about what others will think of your writing. It’s inevitable that some people won’t like or agree with what you say, but what you can do is make sure that your writing is as foolproof as possible. You’ve probably ...
How to write the Common App essay
It may seem overwhelming to write a college essay for the first time. Especially when that college essay is for the Common Application and will be sent to every school that you apply to. In this post, I’ll go over some tips for writing the Common App essay, and what steps you can take to make your essay as compelling as it can be.
Avoiding the “Tragedy of the Commons" or the key to a killer Common App essay
For every rising senior, the infamous Common Application Essay is a bright spotlight. Some fear it, some relish in it, and many grapple with exactly how they can use it to shine in sea of strategic and significant applicants. Initiated as a movement to streamline the process of presenting yourself to a large assortment of schools, the Common App ...
Stuck on your common app essay? Forget the prompts!
If you’re anything like many of the students I have tutored (or like me), you opened the Common App essay questions and became very overwhelmed very quickly. There are so many options! And how are they both so vague and so specific? You read:
10 steps to completing your college essay before school starts
It’s that time of year: you’re probably working on your college essay. You might even have a first draft. Great job! Take a breather and enjoy some of your favorite summer activities. When you’re ready to confront your document again, take a look at these revision tips that I’ve put together over years of helping students make their essays into ...
Where to begin on the personal essay
You’re nearing the end of eleventh grade, and you’re approaching that daunting but thrilling task that you’ve been imagining for years: you’re applying to college! Even before you make a College Board account or begin narrowing down your college choices, you probably already know about that one super critical piece of the puzzle: the personal ...
Application essays: the power of story
The blank page can be a daunting place for even the most experienced writers, and application essays can be particularly stressful. How do I encapsulate myself in something like six hundred words? What do I need to come across about myself to the reader? And how do I best convey it? It can feel like a tall order, I know.
How to fit you into your personal statement
The question “what do you like to do for fun?” has always stressed me out. As someone who preaches work-life balance and champions new experiences, I like to imagine myself as the type of person who would quickly rattle off an impressive and well-rounded list of hobbies and activities. The truth of the matter is that each time I am confronted with ...
4 ways to beat writing anxiety on the personal statement
Writing is a daunting task. To transform your nebulous thoughts into a linear string of words requires a special kind of concentration. And when it comes to writing personal essays, like those required for most undergraduate and graduate applications, you are asked to not only concentrate but also be introspective. It’s no wonder that many of us ...
How to spend the summer before your senior year of high school
If you’re a high-school student at the end of the spring semester, you’ve likely got two things on the brain: passing your finals and summer vacation. Hopefully, in that order. But summer vacation is no longer all fun and games. These days, there’s the expectation to fill June, July, and August with resume-building activities. Family vacations get ...
How to write a successful personal statement
The personal statement is an integral part of a job or school application because it showcases the applicant’s personality in an intimate way. The resume is a list of objective accomplishments and successes that the applicant has earned, but the personal statement highlights passion and aspirations that cannot be listed in simple bullet points. ...
To write a memorable college essay, tell a story
Essays Without Concrete Information Are Quickly Forgotten As I regularly tell students in my AP English classes, essays full of generalizations aren’t worth the paper they are written on. An essay that fails to include concrete examples of the concept under discussion is forgotten the moment the reader reaches the end—if, indeed, the reader gets ...
How to draft a college personal statement in 4 easy steps
There is no use beating around the bush: drafting your personal statement is one of the most challenging components of the college application. Even the most confident writers struggle to distill their identity within the bounds of a word count. The personal statement requires serious introspection about your life and long-term goals, and thus can ...
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