How to Write a Killer College Application Essay
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Are you or someone you know in Essay Hell?
You've been told how much these dreaded college applications essay matter. A bad one can keep you out of your dream school. And a great one could get you in.
To write a great one, however, everyone tells you to "Be Yourself!" and "Tell a Story" and "Stand Out!" But how exactly do you do that in about 500 to 700 words? No one ever taught you to write about yourself--let alone how to come across as intelligent, likable and an ideal student.
Until now. The good news is that you can learn to craft a killer college application essay, and it doesn't have to take weeks and months. You just need help finding a hot topic, and then follow the simple steps to write your own "slice-of-life" story using a narrative (storytelling) style. College admissions officers love these!
Why believe me?
As an award-winning journalist, English teacher and author, I have worked with thousands of college-bound students throughout the world on their essays over the last 8 years. And almost all have landed in their top-choice college and universities--many despite unremarkable GPAs and test scores. There's no reason you can't, too!
(Check out my instructor bio at the bottom of this page to learn about my professional background and experience, and my college essay writing web site, called Essay Hell.)
Like having your own private writing coach
In this crash course, I literally step you through the exact approach I use with my private students--helping brainstorm a unique topic, find your real-life stories, map out a writing plan, learn powerful literary and creative writing techniques, and finally edit and polish your "slice-of-life" essay.
Along with my 11 short video presentations, I share the most effective tips and advice through instructive handouts and worksheets, which include sample essays from real students and unlimited access to ALL FOUR of my popular essay writing guides, published on Amazon.
(Students can read my popular companion essay ebook writing guide, Escape Essay Hell!; and my ebook collection of 50 sample college essays by real students, Heavenly Essays; and my latest ebook writing guide, the Writing Survival Kit; and my ebook strategies for the five Common Application essay, popular supps, transfer essays and more in Essay Hell's 2015-16 Prompts Primer.)
I know how busy you are, so in this crash course you will quickly learn exactly what you need in your essay to set you apart from the pack, and then the steps (brainstorming, writing and editing) you need to take to write your own.
You start by learning exactly what college admissions officers want in these essays, and then launch into the 10 steps of crafting your own. During the crash course, you will:
Also, without even trying, you will have dramatically boosted your writing ability and learned language tools and techniques that will help you once you land in your dream college, as well as with future projects in the workplace.
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|Section 1: Introduction: What Makes a Great College Application Essay?|
Read the six sample essays from real students to see the type of narrative-style essay you will learn to write yourself during this step-by-step course. You can also get great ideas for your own topics.
|Section 2: Find a Hot Topic for Your College Application Essay|
Printout or download this super helpful worksheet so you can collect your defining qualities and characteristics, and after you watch Lecture 3, you can start to add your real-life stories as well.
You will learn how to brainstorm specific moment or experiences that relate to your core qualities, which you will later learn how to craft into grabber anecdotes to power your essay.
Read this short handout to learn what essay topics you might want to avoid.
You can make sure your real-life stories are exciting and interesting by making sure they involve some type of problem.
|Section 3: Learn to Tell Your Story|
You can see how you will use your anecdote and what you learned about it to structure and weave a meaningful narrative essay.
|Section 4: Master the Art of Showing|
Learn how to use literary and creative writing techniques--including sensory details, descriptive language, dialogue and scene setting--to craft an anecdote to power your essay.
|Section 5: How to Tell Your Life Lessons|
Learn how to explain the meaning of your anecdotes to reveal to the reader how you think, what you learned and what you value.
|Section 6: How to Add Depth, Interest and Meaning|
Learn how to review your rough draft and find ways to tighten the focus, and increase meaning and make sure its effective and memorable--and helps you stand out from the crowd.
|Section 7: How to Write a Memorable Conclusion|
Learn whether or not to include a formal conclusion, and how to write a "kicker" last sentence that makes your essay unforgettable.
|Section 8: Make It Perfect! How to Edit Your Essay|
Learn how to make sure to revise your essay to meet the word count, and cut out unnecessary language to give it a sharp and impactful focus. Also, learn to get the right help with proofreading so your essay turns out exactly how you want it: to reveal what makes you YOU!
|Quiz 1||14 questions|
This short quiz will help you review some of the key points about writing a narrative-style, slice-of-life essay.
|Section 9: BONUS! The Complete Essay Hell Library|
My step-by-step guide: Escape Essay Hell!
My collection of sample essays: Heavenly Essays
My Writing Survival Kit
My strategies for prompts: Essay Hell's 2015-16 Prompts Primer
|Section 10: RESOURCE CENTER: Info on Common Application Prompts and More|
Common Application PromptsPreview
Video: How to Answer Prompt 4 of the Common App
ApplyTexas Prompts (for UT and other TX institutions of higher education)Preview
University of California Prompts (incoming freshman and transfers)Preview
Sample Essays That Show Grit
A former journalist, English teacher and author, Janine Robinson is the leading writing coach in the world for teaching students how to write narrative-style essays for college applications. Her popular blog, Essay Hell, where she shares free tips, advice and strategies for writing standout college application essay, has received more 2 million visitors, and averages 10,000 visitors a day during the admissions "season" seeking her guidance.
Through her private coaching services from her hometown in Laguna Beach, California, and online platforms, she has helped students throughout the world craft essays that helped them get into all the most competitive colleges and universities.
While helping her own college-bound daughter in 2008, Janine realized that students are told to make their essay "About You" and to "Be Unique" and "Tell a Story," but no one had taught them how to do that with their writing. She couldn't believe the pressure and stress put on these dreaded essays.
Drawing off her extensive writing and editing experiences working with award-winning newspapers and magazines (The Miami Herald; Orange County Register; Los Angeles Times,Entreprenuer Media, ...) , Janine began developing resources to teach students, and those who work with them, how to power their essays with literary and creative writing techniques. With Janine's step-by-step approach outlined in her popular writing guides, she helps novice writers quickly find their real-life stories, and learn to tell them using an engaging and effective narrative style.
No one knows for sure how much an essay can impact your chance for admission, but college experts agree that they often are the deciding factor--especially for the most competitive schools. If nothing else, the college application essay is your No. 1 chance to show schools you are more than just your GPA and test scores. A well-conceived "slice-of-life" essay is the best way to put a likable face on your application and show your dream school why you are the perfect fit for their learning community.