4 Writing Tips I Used For My Business Insider Essay

4 Writing Tips I Used For My Business Insider Essay

The Hollywood cheating scandal has caused widespread outrage—and for good reason. I wrote about the issues inherent in the college-industrial complex for Business Insider, from my perspective as both an admissions essay guru and as a senior who went through the application process myself. 

Though my essay is more op-ed than personal statement, I thought it would still be helpful to share the writing techniques I used to help you with your personal essay:

1) Set A Time Limit For Your First Draft

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Answers to Your Most Pressing Admissions Essay Questions

Answers to Your Most Pressing Admissions Essay Questions

I know you're supposed to “show don't tell.” How do I do that, exactly?
The best way to show is to use anecdotes, specific examples, and lots of detail. Telling is saying, “I am curious.” Showing is describing an anecdote where you got in trouble with your parents because you snuck into the cabinet and ate coffee beans just because you were curious. Picture your essay as a screenplay and that will help.

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3 Ways to Beat Admissions Essay Writer's Block

3 Ways to Beat Admissions Essay Writer's Block

Whenever you’re sitting at the screen panicked like a Cathy cartoon, just remind yourself that you will revise it into a masterpiece later. For now, just get it all out, hide it in a locked treasure chest in your secret nuclear bunker (these are required for 2017, no?), wait a week, then revisit it with a fresh mind and perspective. Voila!

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Stuck On Your Essay? This Writing Mantra Will Save You

Stuck On Your Essay? This Writing Mantra Will Save You

The hardest part about writing is getting out of your own head and silencing your inner critic. This quote helps remind you that all you can do now is word-vomit your first draft and then take time later to finesse it into perfection. 

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BOO: 4 Scary Personal Essay Mistakes To Avoid

BOO: 4 Scary Personal Essay Mistakes To Avoid

In honor of last night's Halloween shenanigans, let's talk about terrifying mistakes not to make in your admissions essay. As someone who helps students brag about themselves for their admissions essays, I’ve realized there’s a fine line between impressing someone and irritating them. So what do you do when the cover letter practically begs you to be #blessed all over the place? Check out our killer tips for wowing their socks off without turning them off. 

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Admission Essay Lessons from Tonight's Election Debate

Admission Essay Lessons from Tonight's Election Debate

Whatever your politics, you can agree that presidential debates can bring out the best in people—or the worst. Some people onstage look calm, educated, and even presidential. Others look mean-spirited, angry, and even unstable. So what does that have to do with the admissions essay? Republican or Democrat, you have to come across as LIKABLE in your personal statement. Based on countless interviews with admissions officers, that is the #1 quality they look for when making the decision to accept you or not. So how do you that exactly? 

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5 (Very Tempting) Personal Essay Habits to Stop Right Now

5 (Very Tempting) Personal Essay Habits to Stop Right Now

Let's establish something from the start: admissions essays are freaking hard. Most schools don't emphasize personal essays in their academic curriculum, so it's not surprising that many students struggle with the form. Unless you're a creative writing prodigy, you may not know how to be confessional without revealing TMI, how to impress strangers without being annoying, and how to write well without sounding like a blowhard. Here are five newbie mistakes any senior should avoid in their personal statement, from Ivy League valedictorians to veteran admissions reps.

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Why This Ivy League Admissions Essay is Going Viral

Why This Ivy League Admissions Essay is Going Viral

Your parents may be asking if you heard about high-school senior Brittany Stinson, who is making the Internet rounds for her acceptance to not one, but FIVE Ivy League schools (Yale, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, and Cornell). Oh, and Stanford, which has an acceptance rate of 4.69%. 

The lucky overachiever spoke with Business Insider to explain how she came up with her winning essay topic about...Costco. Yup the wholesale giant suburban parents swear by. Here's what you can learn from her brilliant idea. 

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Where to Start: 4 Ways To Choose Your Admissions Essay Topic

Where to Start: 4 Ways To Choose Your Admissions Essay Topic

The hardest part of any writing assignment is where to start—even for professional writers. The pressure is even worse when it's the one essay that could help determine your future.

Be prepared to go through multiple topics and even drafts before landing the right approach. (It's a little easier if you have some help). I recommend using the summer to start writing and see what clicks. The topic should reveal who you are, what you're passionate about, and how it makes you the perfect fit at your dream school.

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The Admissions Essay Mistake You Can't Make

The Admissions Essay Mistake You Can't Make

The New York Times recently revealed a major red flag in the admissions essay: the cliched community service trip. In Frank Bruni's column, "To Get to Harvard, Go to Haiti?" he explains how disingenuous that idea comes across:

It turns developing-world hardship into a prose-ready opportunity for growth, empathy into an extracurricular activity.
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7 Things Admissions Officers Wants to See In Your Application Essay

7 Things Admissions Officers Wants to See In Your Application Essay

Admissions officers can seem like distant mythical creatures who are impossible to impress. The truth is, they're just trying to find the right fit for their college as much as you are. And luckily, they escape their mystical perch every now & then to spill some insider info. They recently spoke to The Washington Post about what they're looking for.

Show Your Personality
"I look for beautiful, clear writing that comes to life on the essay page and offers insight into the character and personality of the student. Beware of being someone you are not in the essay." --Martha Blevins Allman, Wake Forest University dean of admissions

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