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College Application Essays Made Easy

College Application Essays Made Easy
College application essays earn college admission and scholarships. Read this executive summary for busy parents and teens to learn the 11 keys for compelling essays. Read more Tips for Tackling College Application Essays Grab a free instant dow...
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Application Essays That Work

Application Essays That Work

Application Essays That Work


My biggest college application essay tip is to write something that might make grandma gasp. (College Admission Essay Tip: Make Grandma Gasp, Not Blush!) But, what does a great college application essay look like? Johns Hopkins University actually posts their favorite essays each year. Look at them to help you guide your child through the college admission procedure.

Read the article: Essays That Worked (Class of 2019)

Of course, each essay is completely different. An essay should be a unique self-portrait, so it can't be borrowed from others. They show something unique about the student - something that simply can't be learned from transcripts, course descriptions, and lists of activities. These are self-reflective essays about a moment in time. Johns Hopkins explains, "These entries are distinct and unique to the individual writer; however, each of them assisted the admissions reader in learning more about the student beyond the transcripts and lists of activities."

Take a moment to see what colleges really want. Look at the first sentences for each one. Can you hear grandma gasp?

Breaking Into Cars by Stephen
"I had never broken into a car before." In the beginning of this essay, Grandma's definitely thinking her sweet grandson is a thief. Yes, she gasped. And no, you don't get into the "essays that worked" category if you actually DO steal cars.

How to Become an Adult by Michaela.
She talks about being a parent to Stanley, and you are a few sentences into the essay before you figure out that Stanley is a plant. She's not an unwed mother after all.

Building a Twenty Story Apartment Building by Kyle
The essay begins with a discussion of his job in construction, but gives a great example of how to include school-specific personalization in his second paragraph. "Hopkins’ professors are change agents whose research connects structural engineering challenges to economic and environmental considerations. I am fascinated by Professor James Guest’s work in..."

Returning to Peru by Anna
This wonderful essay does a great job of demonstrating her diversity. Plus, Grandma would definitely be shocked when she heard, "The memory of a destitute boy, surrounded by waste, consuming water from a filthy communal tap in a dilapidated shantytown of Lima, Peru still haunts me."

Community Service Isn’t For Me by Kyla
The title alone is awesome. It really makes you wonder what she means - who would say that to a college, right? She mentions "straw-thatched, mud-brick homes of host families, of learning bits and pieces of the Chichewa language, of exploring the dynamics of multi-chief, polygamous villages." Those amazing details would certainly make grandma gasp. Not until the end of the essay does she provide the conclusion. "Community service isn’t for me, it’s for Esther and Amai and all the others I seek to serve."

So the application essay is a self-portrait about an amazing moment in time - a personal story that happens to be true. Do you need to do some more research about that?

Read this article:
What's the Big Deal about a Little Essay? Keys to the College Application Essay

Or grab this book:
Coffee Break Book: College Application Essays: A Primer for Parents

Learn more about the college application process, and guiding your child to college admission and scholarships, with this reference book: The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships

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Help! I need opinions for my book title!

Help!  I need opinions for my book title!
Help! 

I need some opinions on a book title!  I'm just about done with my next book.  This one is about college application, admission, and scholarships.  It's going to include information about curriculum, testing, finding colleges, elite university admission, check lists for junior and senior year, merit and need based scholarships, letters of recommendation, application essays, competitions, interviews.  Tons of college admission stuff.  Very different from my last book about homeschool records.


We decided we like having the main title called "Courting the Colleges"  because we are including a scripture verse and a quote from the Princess Bride on every chapter.  So what I'm really looking for right now is a subtitle.  I need something long that clearly spells out exactly what is in the book, but hopefully in a fun, catchy way.  For example, this title is HILARIOUS and so it's very catchy:  The Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Helicoptering, Hot-housing & Micromanaging (I just about died laughing!)  I don't need something THAT funny, though.  I guess I'm not thinking "hilarious" so much as "catchy."

Can you please share ideas for a neat title and subtitle?  Do you like "Courting the Colleges"??

Here are some ideas we are pondering:
How to Win the Love of Your First-Choice University and Earn Quick Admission and Huge Scholarships
Secrets Homeschoolers Know about Wooing and Winning University Admission and Scholarships
A Successful Homeschooler’s Secrets for Wooing and Winning University Admission and Scholarships
How to Help Your Homeschooler Woo and Win University Admission and Scholarships
Help Your Homeschooler Woo and Win University Admission and Scholarships
A Homeschooler's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Finding the Perfect College for Your Unique Child
How to Prepare your Homeschool Student for College Admission and Scholarships
How to Find a University that will Love your Child and Shower Them with Huge Scholarships!
A Homeschooler's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies to Woo and Win the Perfect College for Your Child
Learn a Homeschooler's Secrets for College Admissions and Scholarships: Strategies for Finding, Affording, and Loving the College of Your Dreams
Secrets for College Admissions and Scholarships: A Homeschool Family's Guide to Finding and Affording the College of Your Dreams

Here are some other books on amazon on the same subject - don't want to sound too similar:

College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step
Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College
A Is for Admission: The Insider's Guide to Getting into the Ivy League and Other Top Colleges
Countdown to College: 21 To Do Lists for High School: Step-By-Step Strategies for 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Graders
What You Don't Know Can Keep You Out of College: A Top Consultant Explains the 13 Fatal Application Mistakes and Why Character Is the Key to College Admissions
College Admissions - A Step By Step Guide Through the Process
How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out)
The Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Helicoptering, Hot-housing & Micromanaging
College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step
How to Make Colleges Want You: Insider Secrets for Tipping the Admissions Odds in Your Favor


I am now the Seattle Homeschool Examiner.  You can read my homeschool articles here.
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