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Writing the Penn Supplemental Essay

Penn took a cue from one of its founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, by getting a jump on the 2015-2016 college application process. Yesterday, it released its writing supplement. The prompt is:

How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania?

Students must stay within the 400-650 word […]

They’re Out: the 2015-2016 Essay Prompts

With prom season upon us, not to mention AP exams, SATs, ACTs, SAT Subject Tests, spring sports, and plain ‘ole school work, high school juniors have a lot on their plates.   Why should you care that the 2015-2016 common app essay prompts have been announced?

Because you can get a jump on things before September […]

Do I Have To? Tackling the Common App’s Additional Information Essay

The quick answer is, no, you don’t have to…but of course you may.   Before hitting submit, take a step back and look at the total picture that you have painted.  What does the Common App say about you?  Does it provide a rounded view of who you are, what you have achieved and where you […]

Writing a 150-word or, yikes, 150-character Essay

When faced with an essay prompt that carries a low word count or character limit, your first thought might be, “Great, I can knock this one off quickly.” However when you start writing the essay, you may find that the word count poses significant challenges. Just when you’ve started to develop […]

Write, Then Cut

You’re ready to dig into your supplemental essays and notice that the word limit is 100. What do you do? What can you say in just 100 words? A lot, as it turns out. Try not to […]

Why Kwasi’s Essay Was a College Essay That Worked

By now you may have heard about the Long Island teen, Kwasi Enin, who gained admission to all eight Ivy League colleges. While College Essays That Work did not assist Kwasi with his winning essay, an examination of that essay reveals why it was so successful.

First, Kwasi did not gloss over the details. Rather […]

What a “Holistic” Review of College Applications Means for your Admissions Essay

If you have attended college information sessions this summer, you may have heard admissions officers say that they take a “holistic” review of applications. What does that phrase mean, and how does it affect their review of your personal statement?

Many of you are familiar with the common refrain, “If you’re not […]

Got Passion?

I’m sure you do, but that word should not appear in your personal statement (unless you happen to be writing about passion fruit).  Here’s why.  If you’ve selected an activity to write about, presumably it’s something that really floats your boat.  Though you may be passionate about that activity, do not come out and state that.  Many students […]

Summer is the Optimal Time to Take Action

You’ve just completed your sophomore or junior year of high school, and what you want to do right now more than anything is…NOTHING at all.

Here’s why that may not be the best plan:  though you deserve a break, and should spend part of the summer relaxing and gearing up for next year, one of the […]