We’re often asked about how to turn a community service experience into an amazing common app essay. The answer is that you probably shouldn’t.
The Common Application essay––often referred to as your personal statement, or just “your college essay”––is an integral piece of your total application. The role of the essay is to help admissions’ officers get an idea of how you think. Once they know that, they can craft a well-rounded group of kids. That means your job in your essay is to show how you think and what kind of person you are. Colleges can already see your grades and your test scores. They can read the things your teachers say about you. They can look at a list of extracurriculars you’ve been involved in from the beginning of Time. But the bottom line is that as much as those things paint a picture, the basic point of your college essay is to answer, in your voice, the broadest question of all: “Who Am I?”
Hello. We made it and we’re back with a final blog post on the 2019-2020 Common App prompts. We’ve analyzed and dissected all of the other Common App essay prompts from this year for you, so we’d highly recommend reading those posts if you haven’t already read them. But let’s get right to it because Prompt #7 is our personal favorite.
We’re nearing the end! We’re running through each and every prompt option listed in the Common App 2019-2020 writing section. We’re on prompt #6 out of 7 prompts, which means you might have a good idea of which prompt you’re going to choose, or you might not have a clue and feel ravenously eager for more content. We get that. Let us present prompt #6 for your consideration, with some key suggestions. It’s a fun one.
Continuing our series on the Common App 2019-2020 prompts, we’re reviewing prompt #5. Read on if this prompt intrigues you, annoys you, or you just want to know our thoughts on it. We’re very opinionated, if you can’t already tell. Particularly when it comes to essays. And the titles of them. And everything in-between.
Welcome to our overview of the Common App essay prompts for this 2019-2020 application season. We’re reviewing each prompt, discussing the pros and cons, and deciphering what it’s actually saying. We know that it can get messy and confusing because it’s overwhelming. It’s particularly overwhelming because you know that your personal essay is the most important part of your application. We’re your Google Translate for the Common App. Read on for the ins and outs of Common App prompt #2.
There is no shortage of ways you could fill the summer between junior and senior year: sitting on the couch and watching all of Riverdale, sitting on the beach and playing on your phone, and sitting by your friend’s pool and sending snaps are all things you could do. But none of those things are going to get you into college. Fear not. We have a few thoughts on what will.
The rise of flickering cell phone screens, social media, and the insane competition of college admissions will define this era in history. Alongside the innovations and competition of the 21st Century is a rise of anxiety amongst all age groups, including, and perhaps especially, teenagers. Your anxiety is totally valid. It’s real and it is something that you should communicate to colleges, but you need to know where to send the message.
The college application is holistic. What that means is each part of it should help to complete a picture of the applicant for the admissions committee. As such, no two parts should be the same. A lot of kids end up writing their essays about something that’s already represented elsewhere in the application, like an extra-curricular. While we typically advise against doing that, there is an exception.
The goal of the essay is to tell a story that illuminates something new about you to the admissions committee. Many students take this as an opportunity to try and get deep. Students frequently write about tragedy or major, life-altering obstacles they’ve faced. Some students choose to write about how they’ve grappled with something like addiction or disease. While those experiences are valid, there is a whole separate section just for them. This essay is not the appropriate platform. The trouble with writing about, well, trouble, is that one often falls short of connecting with the anonymous readers, and the whole point if the exercise is to connect with those very people.
Write about something that doesn’t appear in your activities section or resume
Every single component of your application, from essays to short answer supplements, should show the admissions committee a different part of you. Let your personality become three dimensional. Don’t just rattle of the same redundant information they’re going to see on your resume.
Identity is a word that you’ll see often during the college process and it can be daunting to anyone, not just someone writing a college essay.
Not all Common App essays are created equal. In fact, many are garbage. That’s good news for you. In this blog post, we discuss how to get ahead of your competition by creating an excellent and memorable Common App essay.
Spoiler alert: almost none of the best college essays are about sports.
Let’s start with something that most people overlook: the title of your essay is included in the 650 count word limit. This causes a lot of our students to have a mini meltdown (you’re not alone) so we wanted to get that out of the way.
The Harvard supplement is optional, which is one of the reasons for their very, very low acceptance rate. Plenty of unqualified kids think, “Hey. No essay? I’ll throw my hat in.” If you’re serious about applying and your scores and GPA fall into Harvard’s range, then write the essay.
There are a million different ways to write your common app essay, but in this post we’re going to share the process that we use with TKG students. We like this method because it helps us zero in on topics and ideas that students commonly overlook. It works with every personality type and any potential interest, from introverted interior designers to extroverted entrepreneurs.
Most students we work with are familiar with essay introductions that look something like the below:
“Due to my diverse background and upbringing, I’m able to relate to many people because of the experiences I’ve had throughout my life.”
Humility, self-awareness, and a sense of humor. These are all traits applicants should seek to convey in their college essays, and essays about failure are a great vehicle for doing so. Students are sometimes hesitant to highlight failures. After all, isn’t the objective to cultivate and showcase a cluster of assets on the application? In short, the answer is ‘yes.’ However, highlighting a weakness, if done properly, can also mean underscoring growth, as well as an ability to think critically and learn from past mistakes. Simply put, it’s humanizing.