Introducing a New Live Admissions Essay Online Workshop!

Introducing a New Live Admissions Essay Online Workshop!

I try to help every student who reaches out to me, but I’m a one-woman business and have to limit who I work with to make sure everyone gets the most personalized attention. But all that changes next month because...

[Drumroll please…]

I’m introducing two affordable live classes this summer! Best part? I will cater to your schedules, so please let me know your timing preferences in the Google Form below.

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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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What Admissions Officers Are Looking For In Your Personal Essays

What Admissions Officers Are Looking For In Your Personal Essays

"As an admissions officer, I analyzed students' personalities. If I read an admissions essay, and the student came off as arrogant, entitled, mean, selfish, or, on the flip side, funny, charming, generous, witty, I wrote that exact trait in my notes. It's not enough just to be smart at top schools. Students must also show that they'll be good classmates and community builders."—Angela Dunnham, Former Assistant Director of Admissions, Dartmouth College [Business Insider]

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What High School Doesn't Teach You About The Admissions Essay

What High School Doesn't Teach You About The Admissions Essay

Most high schools focus on teaching you the academic essay: you know, thesis statement, supporting paragraphs, and a closing paragraph summarizing the above. There is a pretty exact formula you have to stick with and not much room for creativity. Your tone is overly formal and you are expected to cite and analyze texts for a unique argument and conclusion. The good news: You spend 4 years learning this academic skill, which is helpful and will be what you are expected to write in college. 

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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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Admissions Essay Gimmicks Not to Fall For (The Hashtag Essay is Not a Thing)

Admissions Essay Gimmicks Not to Fall For (The Hashtag Essay is Not a Thing)

Writing the admissions essay is so stressful that I don't blame students for reading about seemingly easy, out-of-the-box approaches and thinking, well, if it worked for this guy, why not me? The problem with such methods, though, is you're not the only one thinking that. Once an admissions trick becomes a trend (and a national news story), it's no longer out of the box. Translation: instead of looking creative, you look lazy.

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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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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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