COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

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5 tips to crafting the perfect essay
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/5-tips-to-crafting-the-perfect-essay-835

Posted: 2015-09-01

by Lulu Curiel

Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors

College admission essays fill the gap between you and your test scores. They are a crucial part of the application process as they allow colleges to see into your head, to get to know you, your worldview and personality. Your essays will make or break your application, so it's imperative to put time and effort into them.

The actual process of composing your essay may seem grueling … and it will be if you have never told a story before. But with the correct amount of discipline and practice, you can create a strong and unique depiction of who you are, both as a candidate and an individual. So what strategies are most useful to remember when crafting your essay? What techniques, when practiced and perfected, will give you a leg up in the essay writing process?

RELATED: How to get to the Ivy League

1. Learn how to tell a story

The most important thing to remember is that each part of the essay should flow together. Admissions officers read hundreds of essays each application season, so you must write an essay that is easy to read, enjoyable, and memorable. In order to do that, you must tell a story. Your story should include personal information—not just your academic achievements. It should show officers who you are as a person and should highlight the best of your writing skills. Mastering this art can take years of practice, and even then, don't expect to write the perfect narrative on the first try. (Good writers understand that writing is hard.)

RELATED: Want to land a great job? Here's where you need to go to school.

2. Fully address the prompt

It is important that you don't beat around the bush. The question colleges ask you to answer is the one that they feel will best tell them who you are, so if you don't directly address the prompt, they will quickly be disregarding your essay. Read every aspect of the question thoroughly and critically—what are they asking? Are there any hidden aspects to the question? Read the prompt aloud to yourself several times to make sure you fully understand it and feel comfortable with what is being asked.

3. Write about yourself

Applicants are often tempted to create a whole new persona in their essays, but universities want to get to know your personality, whether you would personally contribute to their student body. If your essay seems disingenuous, that will hurt your chances of being admitted. And should you be admitted, you might find that the school is a bad fit for you.

4. Keep your writing clear and concise

Admissions officers know your skill level, and they won't be impressed if you use a 15-letter word where a three-letter word would do. It seems pretentious, not genuine. Write eloquently, but directly. Your job is to impress them with your accomplishments and wisdom, not the size of your vocabulary or access to a thesaurus.

RELATED: 4 things to watch out for when applying to a top school

5. Don't be afraid to ask for help

The writing process can seem very tedious and stressful, but it doesn't have to be. Asking those around you for help and encouragement (teachers, family members, counselors) if you get stuck can help you prepare a solid essay that you can take pride in. It's also imperative to have someone proofread your essay for grammatical errors and typos that you may have missed. The written section of any admissions application can be very intimidating, but through preparation, time, and practice, anyone can create an essay that is both memorable and representative of who he or she is as an applicant and future student. Use these five steps, take a deep breath, and get started on your application journey!

RELATED: Building a competitive student profile for your Ivy League application


Lulu Curiel is the Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors, a leading Admissions Consulting company that helps people with their application process for college and graduate school. Lulu has helped over hundreds of people construct their application strategies and gain admissions to their respective dream schools. Prior to Ivy Advisors, Lulu worked at Apple and Deloitte Consulting. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University.



Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors

College admission essays fill the gap between you and your test scores. They are a crucial part of the application process as they allow colleges to see into your head, to get to know you, your worldview and personality. Your essays will make or break your application, so it's imperative to put time and effort into them.

The actual process of composing your essay may seem grueling … and it will be if you have never told a story before. But with the correct amount of discipline and practice, you can create a strong and unique depiction of who you are, both as a candidate and an individual. So what strategies are most useful to remember when crafting your essay? What techniques, when practiced and perfected, will give you a leg up in the essay writing process?

RELATED: How to get to the Ivy League

1. Learn how to tell a story

The most important thing to remember is that each part of the essay should flow together. Admissions officers read hundreds of essays each application season, so you must write an essay that is easy to read, enjoyable, and memorable. In order to do that, you must tell a story. Your story should include personal information—not just your academic achievements. It should show officers who you are as a person and should highlight the best of your writing skills. Mastering this art can take years of practice, and even then, don't expect to write the perfect narrative on the first try. (Good writers understand that writing is hard.)

RELATED: Want to land a great job? Here's where you need to go to school.

2. Fully address the prompt

It is important that you don't beat around the bush. The question colleges ask you to answer is the one that they feel will best tell them who you are, so if you don't directly address the prompt, they will quickly be disregarding your essay. Read every aspect of the question thoroughly and critically—what are they asking? Are there any hidden aspects to the question? Read the prompt aloud to yourself several times to make sure you fully understand it and feel comfortable with what is being asked.

3. Write about yourself

Applicants are often tempted to create a whole new persona in their essays, but universities want to get to know your personality, whether you would personally contribute to their student body. If your essay seems disingenuous, that will hurt your chances of being admitted. And should you be admitted, you might find that the school is a bad fit for you.

4. Keep your writing clear and concise

Admissions officers know your skill level, and they won't be impressed if you use a 15-letter word where a three-letter word would do. It seems pretentious, not genuine. Write eloquently, but directly. Your job is to impress them with your accomplishments and wisdom, not the size of your vocabulary or access to a thesaurus.

RELATED: 4 things to watch out for when applying to a top school

5. Don't be afraid to ask for help

The writing process can seem very tedious and stressful, but it doesn't have to be. Asking those around you for help and encouragement (teachers, family members, counselors) if you get stuck can help you prepare a solid essay that you can take pride in. It's also imperative to have someone proofread your essay for grammatical errors and typos that you may have missed. The written section of any admissions application can be very intimidating, but through preparation, time, and practice, anyone can create an essay that is both memorable and representative of who he or she is as an applicant and future student. Use these five steps, take a deep breath, and get started on your application journey!

RELATED: Building a competitive student profile for your Ivy League application


Lulu Curiel is the Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors, a leading Admissions Consulting company that helps people with their application process for college and graduate school. Lulu has helped over hundreds of people construct their application strategies and gain admissions to their respective dream schools. Prior to Ivy Advisors, Lulu worked at Apple and Deloitte Consulting. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University.



 

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