The Fingerprints of Parents in College Essays

One question we sometimes get from parents during free consultations goes like this: “Can’t college admissions officers tell you had a hand in your students’ essays?” Our answer goes like this: “If college admissions officers suspected we had a hand in our students’ essays, we wouldn’t be very good at … 

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Misconceptions About College Essays

A core objective of our college admissions blog is to correct misconceptions about the highly selective college admissions process, misconceptions perpetuated by students, parents, high school counselors, private college counselors (yes, there are plenty of private college counselors who give some pretty bad advice!), admissions officers, journalists, and, heck, even … 

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2018-2019 Stanford Supplemental Admissions Essays

No conversation about highly selective universities with the most supplemental essay prompts would be complete without a mention of Stanford University. Stanford has historically not been shy about requiring applicants to answer a host of admissions essay prompts. This year is no different. In fact, Stanford asks this year’s applicants … 

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Wash U 2019 Essay Prompt

For quite some time, Washington University in St. Louis has been an exception to a rule in highly selective college admissions. The school, ranked #18 in the latest “US News & World Report” ranking of best national universities, has not asked applicants to answer any supplemental essay prompts. That will … 

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Yale University 2018-2019 Essay Prompts

The Yale University 2018-2019 essay prompts are out and we’ve got them for our readers. Traditionally, Yale has one of the more extensive supplements, requiring students to answer multiple short and long essay prompts. This year’s supplement is no exception. There’s a 100-word Why Major essay, a 125-word Why Yale … 

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Dartmouth College 2018-2019 Essay Prompts

Dartmouth College has released its admissions essay prompts for the 2018-2019 cycle. The first prompt, which should be 100 words, is essentially a Why Dartmouth essay. So it is the task of an applicant to cite lots of specifics about the school in this relatively small amount of real estate. … 

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University of Chicago 2018-2019 Essay Prompts

The University of Chicago may have changed its testing policy by going test-optional this year, but one thing isn’t changing — the school’s essays will still be quirky. As our regular readers know well, the University of Chicago traditionally asks students to respond to some very bizarre essay prompts. We … 

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Choice of Topic for Personal Statements

The choice of topic for a college applicant’s Personal Statement doesn’t matter so long as the essay is well executed, right? Wrong. The choice of topic for the Personal Statement matters a great deal. After all, admissions officers at highly selective colleges must read thousands of Personal Statements. They also … 

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Princeton Requiring Graded Writing Sample

While the headline grabber may have been that Princeton University recently dropped the SAT or ACT essay admission requirement, this shouldn’t have been the headline. After all, when a highly selective university drops the SAT or ACT essay requirement, it means absolutely nothing other than the school is trying to … 

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Name Dropping in College Essays

Name dropping in college essays is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea. It seems obvious on the surface why dropping names in the Personal Statement and supplemental essays is ill-advised. Nobody likes a name dropper. That photo of mom smiling at a function with former President George W. … 

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