The Influence of Money on College Essay Topics

They say that money doesn’t buy happiness. Well, it apparently also doesn’t buy wise decision-making when it comes to choosing a topic for the Personal Statement in college admissions. A piece in yesterday’s New York Times by Arvin Ashok entitled “The Persistent Grip of Social Class on College Admissions” focuses … 

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Vulnerable Confessions in College Essays

Thinking about writing about something embarrassing in your college essays? Maybe about a time you accidentally wet your pants or let out a fart in public? In a recent piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education by Matt Feeney entitled “The Abiding Scandal of College Admissions,” he shares the story … 

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Red Flags in College Essays

Today, we thought we’d share with our readers some verbiage that college applicants so often include in their college essays — or elsewhere in their applications — that significantly hurts their chances of admission to highly selective universities. In our experience, these students don’t realize these words will essentially ding … 

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A Pet Peeve in College Essays

Every paragraph, every sentence, every word matters in college admissions essays. So often, students flippantly include words or phrases that can have a catastrophic impact on their cases for admission. And, so often, these students don’t even realize that they’ve just placed all of their great high school work in … 

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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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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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Avoiding Sob Stories in College Admissions Essays

Many students and parents are under the mistaken impression that sharing sob stories in college admissions essays will pull on the heartstrings of admissions officers at highly selective college and inspire them to want to offer the student admission. Maybe it’s a story about enduring a childhood illness, like leukemia. … 

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Use the Maximum Word Count in College Essays

If the maximum word count for a college admissions essays is 650 words, applicants should not write 500 words. They should write 650 words — or pretty close to it. When you’re a real estate developer in Manhattan and you’re allowed to build twenty-five stories, you don’t build ten stories … 

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College Essays and Pizza

LeBron James, currently locked in an uphill battle against Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, recently declared that everybody likes pizza. Or maybe that was just a meme. Who knows. But who doesn’t like pizza? There’s even gluten-free pizza these days. But, Ivy … 

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Importance of Essays in Admissions

A piece in “The Washington Post” by Judy Mandell entitled “What college admissions officers say they want in a candidate” features a quote from Tim Wolfe, the associate provost for enrollment and dean of admissions at the College of William & Mary, the second college in the American colonies. We … 

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