Lesson 5: Developing Your College Essay Story
Setting yourself apart in your college application is more important than ever.
Many top colleges are decreasing the % of students they accept each year.
Stanford accepts only about 5% of students who apply.
So, how can you get that competitive edge in admissions? If you’re applying soon, it’s probably going to come down to writing an effective essay.
If you can successfully differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicants, you’ll greatly increase your odds of being admitted.
I want to give you a loose template for how to write essays. Of course, every essay has to be different and unique to the person applying.
However, it’s not enough to give you a template just for how to write them. It’s important to develop a consistent story that covers every part of your application.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about:
– your challenges at school
– volunteer/work/internship experience
– defining characteristics
– future plans
Each example has to support a central theme, and you can use the entire application process as a tool to strengthen your argument.
When you start to structure your college essays, think about how they tie into the rest of your application.
So, how do you develop your story?
James, a student I helped last year who’s now a freshman at Yale, shared this advice:
When you look at the choices you’ve made up to this point, look at WHY you made certain decisions and changes. This matters more than the order in which they happened.
Then, connect those decisions to your future goals. And, if you want to stand out, remember to be creative in some way. I don’t have to tell you that admission officers look at thousands of essays. If you want to make sure that they remember yours, put a new spin on it. Application essays are like commercials. People remember the really unique ones, good or bad. The key is to make it different, make it memorable.
But don’t worry if you’re having trouble settling on a single story, and don’t feel that you need to plan the rest of your life as you write your college essays.
Another student, Nathan, had trouble figuring out his story at first but ended up getting into both Stanford and Cornell:
In my premium college essay course, one of the things I focus on is helping you figure out your college essay topic. I help you develop an effective college essay story that will make you stand out. In the course, I personally advise you as to what you should do, especially if you have a unique situation.
You can get help with developing your college essay story by signing up for my premium college essay course at collegeadmissionstoolbox.com/essaycourse
YOUR ACTION STEP
Write down a list of your unique characteristics. Think about your passions, character, and personality traits, not just your accomplishments. The admissions officers can already see your transcript, test scores, and list of accomplishments.
Things to include are your persistence, creativity, relationship with your family, love of tuba-playing, football, finger-painting, juggling, or whatever you like to do!
Map out a plan for making your college essays as part of a bigger whole – they’re just one piece of the application. Which characteristics do you want admission officers to learn about you from your college essays, and what do you want to show them in your letters of recommendation and interview?
Taking the time to plan your application’s central story is the best way to show them a full picture of who you really are.
Seriously, take at least an hour or two to really think about this, and write down your plan. Then, if you want, copy-paste it, reply to this email, and send it to me. That’s how I’ll know if you actually did it 😉
Although I can’t respond to all the emails I get, I read every single one.
Excited to see what you come up with,