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College Admissions Essays The Datray Do-It-Yourself Guide.

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1 College Admissions Essays The Datray Do-It-Yourself Guide

2 Writing the Essay: Audience, Purpose, Tone Who is your audience? –College Admissions Officer, Educated Adult What is your purpose? –To persuade the college admissions officer to admit you to her/his school. –To paint a positive picture of yourself as a potential student. –To demonstrate your ability to articulate your ideas in words. How do you achieve that purpose? –Tell a story. –Show rather than say.

3 Tips for Writing the College Admissions Essay Personalize your essay to distinguish from the work of others. Tell a story; use narrative. Show what kind of student, worker, leader you are through your story. Relate your experience if possible to your academic performance. Remember always your audience and purpose in selecting your topic, story, and words/language.

4 There are several different types of essays. A short answer essay may just require a list or brief paragraph. When writing longer essays, students should remember that the admissions essay readers are reviewing 100’s or 1,000’s of essays. What will make their essay stand out. Students should individualize their essays, using wit and humor as appropriate. When asked for a writing sample, students should submit a 3-5 page essay. It’s ok to turn in a school assignment, even one that has teacher comment and a grade.

5 WHAT YOUR ESSAY TELLS ABOUT YOU Your preferences Your values Your thought-process Your writing ability TYPES OF ESSAYS SHORT ANSWER List Paragraph (mini-essay) ESSAY Individualize your essays Read questions carefully Use wit and humor Keep it simple WRITING SAMPLE 3-5 pages School assignment ok Original w/ teacher comments College Admission Essay

6 “YOU” Question Select one aspect of yourself Back it us with real and vivid events Avoid an autobiography “WHY US” Question School concrete knowledge of the school - names - course offerings - professors - facilities Make a clear connection between the school and you - interests - preferences “CREATIVE” Question Consider risky topics (readers get tired of “safe” essays) Only answer issues questions if you’re very informed Write about a genuine concern, not “what they want to hear” Include substance Types of Essay Questions

7 Share a dilemma that challenged you Discuss something not too racey or personal There is no need to divulge SUPER personal information What aspirations (or experiences, or person) has motivated you This is where you get to shine through something or someone else This is not the place for you to dis your family This is not the place for whining There may be personal information you’d like included Here is where you get to “sell” yourself Highlight anything that didn’t have a place somewhere else on the application Try to provide concrete examples “You” Question

8 The Format The first thing you should do is intro with a statement about yourself. While this is a personal narrative, you should attempt to use elevated language Once you have made a broad statement about who YOU are, then it’s time to provide that proof I keep talking about

9 The Proof Just as you would provide proof of arguments during an academic essay, so too must you provide proof in this personal narrative Choose specific examples that prove your amazingness while being believable A concrete example is more powerful than a vague reference to something you did

10 The Wrap-Up End the essay with some statement about how you like who you are End with some sort of statement that shows you are also very willing to grow and add more depth to your personality Add wit and humor, but keep it to a minimum An A-Ha! Moment is always a good ending

11 Why have you chosen this school Although this appears to be about the school, it is really about you and how you will fit into the school Highlight the types of achievements you have that align with the school’s goals or ideals How will you contribute back to this school’s community Again this is about making YOU shine through how your amazingness will contribute to the school Do not make the mistake of just listing extracurricular events you’ve participated in Why have you selected your particular major What do you want to be when you “group up”? Highlight how you will contribute to the whole field of discipline you will be a part of “Why Us” Question

12 The Format If you don’t know about the school, you better do some research. Begin with a statement about some organization or aspect of the school that you admire Showing the school you know about THEM shows them you have done your homework

13 The Proof Although this essay appears to be about the school, it is really more of how YOU will fit the school The “proof” in this essay is how your personality aligns with the ideas and goals of the university. Again choose specific examples of experiences you have had that make you an ideal match---like two pieces of a puzzle

14 The Wrap-Up Acknowledge that although you know some of what the school has to offer, the best way to learn more is to immerse yourself in the culture If you have family connections with the school, the ending is the best place to wrap- up with a statement about keeping it in the family, etc.

15 Choose an issue of importance to you Please stay audience and age appropriate Choose an issue of global perspective and importance then relate it to your own, smaller community Unless applying to a religious school, it is safer to stay away from issues of faith or morality Describe a character in a film (history, art, etc) It is always better to choose someone who is classically important rather than a pop or film star It is also a good idea to choose someone who is important and relevant to the field you will be a part of after graduation Topic of Your Choice Although you may be tempted to go crazy and be your usual creative self, keep things in perspective Try to stay audience appropriate and remember the age range of your audience too “Creative” Question

16 The Format As frequently happens, the place where you get to be the most creative is usually the place where you get the most distracted from your purpose Keep a specific outline of exactly what points you want to focus on Remember that this is just another way for you to “sell” yourself to the school

17 The Proof Because this essay is focused on so many diverse topics, there is no one sure fire method of writing them. The best advice is to not go too far out of the frame of reference. Don’t pick a character or topic that is so obscure or counter-culture that it might set you apart as a “bad seed” Provide real evidence that supports any statements that you do make about the person or topic

18 The Wrap-Up This is another essay where the A-Ha! Moment can work really well Remember that the point of this essay is to see your creativity, but only in a way that reveals the high quality of your writing style. Best advice? Avoid the “choose your own” topics.

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