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GUIDANCE SPRING 2014 College Essay Workshop. Which colleges need essays? Types of Colleges Essays NeededNotes CSUNo UCYes 2 mandatory prompts (1000 word.

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Presentation on theme: "GUIDANCE SPRING 2014 College Essay Workshop. Which colleges need essays? Types of Colleges Essays NeededNotes CSUNo UCYes 2 mandatory prompts (1000 word."— Presentation transcript:

1 GUIDANCE SPRING 2014 College Essay Workshop

2 Which colleges need essays? Types of Colleges Essays NeededNotes CSUNo UCYes 2 mandatory prompts (1000 word limit, shorter one should be no less than 250 words) 3 rd optional prompt: ONLY answer this if you have not talked about something in another part of your app Other state schools Check school website Refer to their applications Private schoolsCheck school website For Common App: 1 general prompt (650 words) + supplements ( words) For other private schools: refer to their applications

3 DESCRIBE THE WORLD YOU COME FROM — FOR EXAMPLE, YOUR FAMILY, COMMUNITY OR SCHOOL — AND TELL US HOW YOUR WORLD HAS SHAPED YOUR DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS. TELL US ABOUT A PERSONAL QUALITY, TALENT, ACCOMPLISHMENT, CONTRIBUTION OR EXPERIENCE THAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU. WHAT ABOUT THIS QUALITY OR ACCOMPLISHMENT MAKES YOU PROUD AND HOW DOES IT RELATE TO THE PERSON YOU ARE? UC Prompts

4 SOME STUDENTS HAVE A BACKGROUND OR STORY THAT IS SO CENTRAL TO THEIR IDENTITY THAT THEY BELIEVE THEIR APPLICATION WOULD BE INCOMPLETE WITHOUT IT. IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE YOU, THEN PLEASE SHARE YOUR STORY. RECOUNT AN INCIDENT OR TIME WHEN YOU EXPERIENCED FAILURE. HOW DID IT AFFECT YOU, AND WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN? REFLECT ON A TIME WHEN YOU CHALLENGED A BELIEF OR IDEA. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO ACT? WOULD YOU MAKE THE SAME DECISION AGAIN? DESCRIBE A PLACE OR ENVIRONMENT WHERE YOU ARE PERFECTLY CONTENT. WHAT DO YOU DO OR EXPERIENCE THERE, AND WHY IS IT MEANINGFUL TO YOU? DISCUSS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR EVENT, FORMAL OR INFORMAL, THAT MARKED YOUR TRANSITION FROM CHILDHOOD TO ADULTHOOD WITHIN YOUR CULTURE, COMMUNITY, OR FAMILY. Common App Prompts

5 ● HOW WILL YOU CONTRIBUTE TO DIVERSITY ON OUR CAMPUS? ● WHY ARE YOUAPPLYING TO OUR COLLEGE? ● DESCRIBE YOUR ACADEMIC INTERESTS. HOW WILL YOU PURSUE THEM? ● WHAT SHOULD YOUR ROOMMATE KNOW ABOUT YOU? ● BETWEEN LIVING AND DREAMING THERE IS A THIRD THING. GUESS IT. ● IF YOU HAD 5K, HOW WOULD YOU USE IT TO DESIGN YOUR OWN PROJECT? ● YOU'VE JUST REACHED YOUR ONE MILLIONTH HIT ON YOUR YOUTUBE VIDEO. WHAT IS THE VIDEO ABOUT? Sample Common App Supplemental Essay Prompts

6 Video transcript: Experts share tips on application essays [Mike Sexton, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Santa Clara University (CA); Jeff Brenzel, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Yale University; Stuart Schmill, Dean of Admissions, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Marty O’Connell, Executive Director, Colleges That Change Lives; Emmanuella R. Belzince, Coordinator of Postsecondary Projects, Atlanta Public Schools; Suzanne Colligan, Director of College Counseling, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School] Mike Sexton: The essay is one of the few places where an applicant can be more than the same blanks that everybody else filled in. Jeff Brenzel: First of all, you want a college to take you, not your imaginary friend. Stuart Schmill: So don't try to be somebody else. Marty O'Connell: Everybody has a story that they tell about you. You need to hear those stories, and somewhere in there is the kernel of a really great essay. Mike Sexton: Is there something else about me that this college should know about that there wasn't a blank for? Emmanuella Revolus Belzince: Bring me to that date, describe how it felt. Jeff Brenzel: Presenting yourself as who you are is your best bet in the college admissions process. Suzanne Colligan: We're going to focus on who you are and who you think you want to become. And then we're going to go from there. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/essays

7 Do’s Adapted from the UC Davis website for Undergraduate Admissions Write it yourself … about yourself. Answer the prompt. Be yourself: Colleges want to know YOU, not what’s on your resume. Be reflective, provide specific examples, and maintain a positive tone. Write clearly and concisely: keep the essay focused. Be honest: Address the gaps/deficiencies in your academic record. Have someone, other than a peer, read the essay to ensure your tone and message are appropriate.

8 Common Essay Pitfalls From the UC Davis website for Undergraduate Admissions Not reading the instructions or the prompt. Reiterating information listed elsewhere in the app. Listing accomplishments without explanation or detail. Using gimmicky writing techniques. (ie, poems/quotes) Using cliches. Writing about someone else other than yourself (ie, my awesome mother, uncle, etc.) Rambling, unfocused thoughts. Being overly humorous, self-deprecating or glorifying.

9 Strong opening statements from I change my name each time I place an order at Starbucks. When I was in the eighth grade I couldn’t read. While traveling through the daily path of life, have you ever stumbled upon a hidden pocket of the universe? I have old hands. I was paralyzed from the waist down. I would try to move my leg or even shift an ankle but I never got a response. This was the first time thoughts of death ever cross my mind. I almost didn’t live through September 11th, The spaghetti burbled and slushed around the pan, and as I stirred it, the noises it gave off began to sound increasingly like bodily functions. I have been surfing Lake Michigan since I was 3 years old. I stand on the riverbank surveying this rippled range like some riparian cowboy -instead of chaps, I wear vinyl, thigh-high waders and a lasso of measuring tape and twine is slung over my arm. I had never seen anyone get so excited about mitochondria.

10 Activity: Read Some Samples Here are some sample essays from Johns Hopkins University’s class of Read the two essays and respond to these two questions: What did you learn about this student? Why would Johns Hopkins be interested in this student?

11 The Unathletic Department—Meghan “The first thing that stands out about this essay is the catchy title, which effectively sets up an essay that is charmingly self-deprecating. The author goes on to use subtle humor throughout the essay to highlight one of her weaknesses but at the same time reveals how she turned what some might have considered a negative event into a positive learning experience. Not only is this essay well-written and enjoyable to read, but it reveals some important personal qualities about the author that we might not have learned about her through other components of her application. We get a glimpse of how she constructively deals with challenge and failure, which is sure to be a useful life skill she will need in the real world, starting with her four years in college.” —Senior Assistant Director Janice Heitsenrether

12 Undecided—Daniel “This essay was clever, humorous, and gave insight into the writer’s personality. He effectively used a fictional character as a way to talk about himself; this overcomes a common mistake I see in essays where applicants don’t make a strong connection between themselves and the character they are writing about. From the essay, I was able to get a sense about how he handles challenges, his ambition, and how he is as a friend. These are all important aspects that we look for in an application. His voice was clear in his writing, gave me the sense that I knew him, and made the essay memorable.” —Assistant Director Patrick Salmon


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