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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The College Essay Expression

One of our pet peeves is when parents or students write in asking if we can help them with their “college essay.” College essay? Do they mean the Common Application Personal Statement? Because there is not one single college essay. There are many college essays with just about every highly … 

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Done with College Essays

When folks write in saying that they’re basically done with their college essays, including their Personal Statement and all of the supplemental essays required of the universities to which they’ll be applying, we typically cringe. Just because a student has entered 650 or 500 or 250 words into a document … 

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Cliche Drivel in College Essays

As seniors work on their Early Decision and Early Action applications, we’ve received a number of messages from parents (and students too) saying something like this: “My daughter is basically done with all of her essays to her Early Decision school, but we wanted to have a second set of … 

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Words in College Essays

At Ivy Coach, we love data. We consider ourselves to be the purveyors of Ivy League admissions data. Nowhere will you find more comprehensive information on admissions statistics than on Ivy Coach’s website. And we’re always intrigued by a Moneyball approach to highly selective college admissions. After all, it’s an … 

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