Georgia Tech says it best when it comes to essays!
What we are looking for…
Essays are evaluated for both content and writing/grammatical skills. So, before submitting your application, you should take the time to edit and review your essay thoroughly. Strong essays:
- Demonstrate authenticity and thoughtfulness
- Brings you to life on paper
- Are excellent in topic, style, and grammar
They also share a few other tips…
- Get started early. Don’t wait until the last minute to complete your essays!
- Don’t write what you think we want to read. Write what you want to say!
- Don’t blow off the essay! We wouldn’t ask you to write it if we didn’t find it to be an important way to get to know you, and what you have to bring to Georgia Tech.
What we have to say…
Excellence in topic, style, and grammar is our Essay Expert’s area of excellence, and where we have been told we add tremendous value in our 1:1 work with students as we help them craft surprising, authentic, and effective college essays.
We are gearing up for a summer busy with college essay support so that students can start senior year with less stress (and ready to submit apps!). If you are or know a junior who might want to work with one of our essay experts, contact us to schedule a free consultation call.
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We’ve seen too many students wait until the summer after 11th grade to try to develop and implement the strategies needed to tackle the college application process successfully and with ease. Often, there is just not enough time to do the pre-work that results in the most effective essays, outreach, and positive admissions outcomes.
The best time to start? Now.
Juniors, right now you can:
- Develop relationships with admissions officers and regional reps (the people who make key decisions on your application) as well as current students and faculty (we can fill you in on why these connections are so important)
- Open up a Common App account to get familiar with the system + complete the base data
- Make the best of campus visits and leverage contacts at colleges on these visits
- Craft a preliminary college list that maximizes the 5+ application plans colleges now use
- Start brainstorming for the Common App essay (the MOST important essay of most apps)
We hate seeing the second half of junior year go to waste!
Contact us today to discuss what you can do now to always stay a step—or three—ahead of the game.
We are also co-hosting a free online event on March 14th at 8pm eastern. Join us to hear top tips and effective strategies for the college process + ask us anything in the live Q&A! Register today!
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Complete Your Common Application Essay in One Week!
Want to get the most important piece of writing in your college application completed efficiently, effectively, and early?
In one week of focused 1:1 work, you will be able to check a very important college application item off your list: the Common Application essay.
In this bootcamp you will:
- Attend a live session to learn what makes a successful Common Application essay.
- Complete our specialized brainstorming process, working with an essay expert 1:1 to decide on the most unique approach to your essay.
- Draft your essay and receive detailed, targeted feedback to take it from a rough draft to a polished final essay.
You’ll also get access to sample personal statements by students we’ve worked with (and who have gained admission to selective colleges and universities!).
When is this program offered?
- Bootcamps are offered on-demand in March, April, and May! Let us know your preferred week, and we will reach out to you with our availability. If we are not available for your preferred week, we will work with you to find another time that fits both of our schedules.
Who should sign up for this program?
- High school juniors who are ready to write their Common App essay (aka the personal statement) and who have one hour daily to dedicate to it over the course of one week.
How do I get more information and pricing?
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It’s almost time to start writing essays!
Now is the best time for juniors to start with us!
- Don’t worry about the prompts. It’s helpful to read through the prompts to see if doing so sparks any ideas; however, there is no need to stress about writing an essay that exactly “answers” a prompt. Your goal is to write the best essay you can about whatever you decide is best to write about. Working with students 1:1, we totally disregard the prompts and usually find that their essay still easily fits under one of the questions. And, if not, there is often an open-ended prompt such as: “Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.”
- Do open with a scene. A strong opening scene draws the reader into your essay. Admissions officers and their first-round readers have hundreds of applications to get through—make yours stand out from the first sentence. Intrigue them or scare them or make them laugh. Make them want to keep reading.
- Do focus on a single story. You only have 650 words. Perhaps that sounds like a lot to you: it’s not. There is no reason you should worry about filling it up. Through our process, you will find out how to generate enough detail to write an essay about any story. Nor should you worry about cramming as much as possible into the personal statement. Remember that colleges have all of your application data and that trying to do too much in the essay will only end up making your essay feel rushed and scattered.
- Do make sure that your story has a clear beginning, middle, and end. You can tell your story out of order—for instance, opening with a scene from a stressful moment in order to build suspense before jumping back into chronology—but you always want to make sure your story has each of these elements. Skipping any single one will confuse your reader and make your story feel incomplete (because it is!).
- And yet don’t get bogged down in detail. We usually find students have trouble generating enough detail. But sometimes we get a student who is unable to summarize effectively, too. Having too much detail can make your story confusing and also mean that your reader will have trouble understanding what the most significant elements are. It usually also means you don’t have room for reflection—the most important element in the essay!
- Do present yourself in a positive light. We actively encourage you to tell a story that showcases your vulnerabilities, failures, weaknesses, and mistakes. However, either your narrative or your reflection (or some combination of the two), needs to ultimately redeem you so that your essay, in the end, shows you to be someone who is actively working to improve—to rectify mistakes, move past failures, or strengthen weakness. Your essay should be honest, but its main purpose is to make you seem like someone admissions officers want to see at their colleges! Make sure you come off well.
- Don’t use huge thesaurus words. Again: you aren’t trying to impress the admissions officers! You are trying to show them who you are—and you are trying to make them like you. Using big words can mean using words you don’t quite know how to use, and that will show. Even if you do know how to use them, unless your essay is about how much you love long words or languages, using the big, 25-cent words can make you sound pretentious and overly formal. The language should sound like you and be relatively casual—not curse-word, talking-with-friends casual, but maybe talking-with-your-grandmother casual.
- Do use vivid, interesting words and varied sentence structure. Being casual doesn’t mean the writing shouldn’t be good or interesting! Do push yourself to use words you might not use in your everyday speech, and do mix up the sentence structure to keep the writing varied and exciting. Do feel free to include words from your personal vocabulary—words from the language you speak at home or from a regional dialect or words you’ve made up. That can add a lot of texture and personality to an essay. Just make sure you define the words for your reader if the meaning isn’t clear from context.
- But don’t use emotional language: I was happy; I was sad. Instead, let an action depict the emotional state. That is, instead of saying “I was happy,” you might write, “I couldn’t help skipping a few steps down the street after hearing the news.” And, instead of saying “She was sad,” you might write, “Her shoulders slumped, and she cradled her head in her hands.” You can’t see an emotion, and you always want to give the reader something to see.
- And don’t use cliche—i.e. common, predictable, overused—language. Cliche language includes (but is definitely not limited to!) phrases like:
- I need to be true to myself.
- Time heals all wounds.
- Every cloud has a silver lining.
- Good things come to those who wait.
- I learned more from them than they did from me.
- Every rose has its thorn.
- You win some, you lose some.
- Little did I know.
Of course, your essay might have one of these messages at its heart. Maybe you did learn more from the kid you tutored than they learned from you. Maybe you did find the “silver lining” in a terrible situation. Both of these could make for great essays. But you want to verbalize that realization in your own unique and surprising way.
For more, grab a copy of The Complete College Essay Handbook. It’s a no-frills, practical guide that will give students the confidence and know-how they need to craft the best essays for every single school on their list—in less time and with less stress.
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Hi. If this were a podcast, this would be the part where we’d say, in our distinct voices: “I’m Brittany.” And then: “I’m Emma.” We’ve been working together to guide students through their college applications since 2016. After a few years, we realized our process was not reflected in any of the essay materials we found elsewhere, so we decided to write it down. What started as internal documents for our students eventually turned into a book. Since it is time to start thinking about essays, remember that…
The Complete College Essay Handbook is available on Amazon!
It’s a no-frills, practical guide that will give students the confidence and know-how they need to craft the best essays for every single school on their list—in less time and with less stress. The Complete College Essay Handbook walks students through:
- What makes an essay stand out, drawing on sample essays by real students to illustrate main points
- Brainstorming activities to find the best topics for the personal statement and supplemental essays
- How to write the two central components of every application essay: scene and reflection
- Editing and revision—including techniques to cut down or expand an essay to hit the word limit
- The four types of supplemental essays and how to decode the different essay prompts, using actual essay questions
- The strategy behind a well-rounded set of application essays
We are excited to get our expertise and years of experience into the hands of as many students as possible—especially now that it’s college application season!
We’d be so grateful if you shared a link to The Complete College Essay Handbook with friends and family, and if you decide to purchase it—thank you, and also consider leaving a review (verified Amazon reviews are huge for increasing exposure). If you have feedback—or just want to say hi—email us at email@example.com.
Thank you for your support!
Brittany & Emma
Below is the full set of essay prompts for 2022-2023. They have also retained the optional COVID-19 question within the Additional Information section.
- Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
- Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
- Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
Need essay advice? The Complete College Essay Handbook has you covered. If you decide to purchase it—thank you, and consider leaving a short review. If you leave a review and share it with us, we’ll send a copy to a school, library, or non-profit (that serves high school students!) of your choice. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know where you want a copy sent.
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Penn Admissions has shared four great informative guides to help students with their college application process—and they are NOT Penn specific (although the samples they provide are)!
Narrowing Down Your List
Fill out a worksheet for each school on your list while visiting school websites, exploring virtual tours, and attending information sessions. Compare worksheets and see which schools match your must-haves. Download Guide 1
Curriculum & Majors
This second guide will help you narrow down which colleges will be the best fit for you based on academics offered. Use this worksheet to learn more about a school’s curriculum, majors, and learning opportunities. Download Guide 2
Tracking Application Requirements & Deadlines
There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re applying to multiple colleges. Use this worksheet to stay organized and take some of the stress out of the application process. Download Guide 3
Highlighting Your Extracurriculars & Activities
This worksheet will prepare you for the activities section of your college applications. Think of this guide as a way to brainstorm what you’ve been involved in through high school, what your commitment looked like, and how things may have changed in the past year. Download Guide 4
Bonus: Watch this video for even more tips on activities!
Thanks, Penn! Pair this advice with The Complete College Essay Handbook and get ready to apply!
Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Time: 7-7:30 PM EST/4-4:30 PM PST
During this virtual session, college admissions expert Dr. Brittany Maschal will discuss how to select the best topic for the personal statement and supplemental essays, what makes an essay stand out, and the best strategies for presenting a well-rounded set of application essays.
GenHERation will also raffle away a copy of The Complete College Essay Handbook at the end of the session!