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The College Application Essay IT’S ABOUT YOU ! Presenter: Michael Settanni.

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Presentation on theme: "The College Application Essay IT’S ABOUT YOU ! Presenter: Michael Settanni."— Presentation transcript:

1 The College Application Essay IT’S ABOUT YOU ! Presenter: Michael Settanni

2 Tonight’s presentation Background Roles Getting started Authentic voice The personal narrative Self-editing Do’s and don’ts The new Common Application questions Coaching conference dates Contact information Your questions/concerns

3 My role as a writing coach Explain the rules Make suggestions for locating a topic Help focus and organize the essay Respond honestly Give direction Guide practice I don’t rewrite the essay

4 Your role Focus! Focus! Focus! Edit! Edit! Edit! Work! Work! Work! Read. Your. Essay. ALOUD!

5 Question: How important is the essay really? Answer: Very! Get noticed, but don’t...

6 Subject and Topic Understand the difference YOU are the subject. The topic is what you choose to write about. It can be virtually anything you’ve experienced, from the mundane to the monumental, but it must reveal something true and essential about YOU.

7 Choosing a suitable topic: “People are interesting and so are you.” Make the ordinary extraordinary Present yourself in a favorable light: strengths, characteristics Ask yourself questions (see handout) Select an experience that allows you to demonstrate personal development: What did you learn about yourself, others, the world? Were you changed in some way? Choose your topic with space limitations in mind (a 650- word absolute maximum for the Common Application).

8 The Approach: Am I writing an essay, a memoir, a story? The college application essay is a personal narrative. That is, it’s an essay, memoir and story all at the same time. It should have some of the analysis, observation and interpretation of an essay, some of the reflection on experience of a memoir and some of the conflict and resolution of a story. All in 650 words or less.

9 The NEW Common Application essay prompts Number of prompts reduced from six to five Word limit increased to 650 “Topic of your choice” removed See handout for copy of 2015-16 prompts

10 The personal narrative is...... a story you tell about an experience you’ve had. It should have a beginning, middle, end OR introduction, body, conclusion conflict and resolution, a controlling idea anecdote(s), examples and concrete details Reflection, observation, analysis a point A word about graphic organizers

11 Authentic voice: What is it? It’s how you express your character/make- up/nature/temperament in writing. It can be many things, but it must be genuine.

12 Show, Don’t Tell. Use: Active voice (handout) Strong verbs Anecdotes Dialogue Concrete details

13 The Process Pre-write—Write—Rewrite—Rewrite— Proof—Publish Procrastination (avoid avoiding) Three to four drafts and a final edit (polish) Compress your writing.

14 Self-editing Less is more: Kill your darlings “First word, best word” may have worked for Allen Ginsberg, but it won’t for you. Revise for specifics, telling details, concrete examples Everything counts: spelling, grammar, mechanics Read ALOUD

15 Make sure you Follow directions Respond to the prompt Write with an authentic voice (active, genuine) Show don’t tell (STRONG verbs) Write about something that matters to you Make a point Reveal something positive about yourself Check carefully for errors

16 Avoid Predictability Exclamation points...really! The thesaurus (except to avoid repetition) Unnecessary descriptors (adjectives, adverbs) Writing errors of all kinds (lots of gremlins out there) Boasting, self-promotion A smarmy, self-righteous or overly sentimental tone Fluff, padding Avoiding (don’t procrastinate)

17 Writing Conference Three one-on-one sessions at least one week apart Session 1: Finding a topic: idea generation Session 2: Writing and rewrites Session 3: Polishing the final draft Drafts must be emailed to me at least one day before we meet for our sessions to be fully productive Cost: $300

18 Contact information Phone:(610) 220-3422, (610) 254-0254

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