College Essay Tips
August is the month that most high school students enjoy the last few moments of summer. Classes,
homework, and extra-curricular activities will fill the calendar in just a few weeks, making now the
perfect time to start your college applications. The Common Application makes applying to college
efficient by allowing you to complete a single application form and use it to apply to multiple
institutions. The app opens on August 1st for the class of 2023.
This month's blog has tips to help set you up for success.
Gather the Required Information
Create a unique email to only use with college applications and create an account on the
Common App site. Be sure the naming convention reflects maturity.
Consider and note all extra-curricular activities, employment, and dates you participated in
high school. Be prepared to write one sentence stating what you did in each.
List of any awards, honors, and achievements.
Consider two teachers in core subjects who can serve as recommenders. One other is ok if it
relates to a specific program. Request permission from each person first, and be sure you
have the correct email for the teacher to input into the app. Recommendations are sent
directly to the teacher from each university. Please do not ask to see what they say about
Copy and paste your final version into the app instead of writing it within the tool. The app
removes special formatting such as bold or underline.
A complete list of materials you will need can be found here.
The system can get overloaded the day before early action/decision deadlines. Plan
Make sure it is accurate and complete! Do not submit until you have reviewed it multiple
times, then have a trusted adult review one last time.
Decide personal attributes you want admissions reps to know about you before looking at the
Think deeply and reflect on your life to this point. Consider the following:
People who have shaped you
Places that influenced you
Perspectives you have gained, or that changed your thinking
Problems you have encountered, overcome or solved
Passions that are so deep and time-consuming that your application would not be complete
Decide a topic to share your story
Review and decide which essay prompts best fit your topic
Use the writing process (Brainstorm, Outline, Write, Revise, Re-write, and finally, Publish)
Unlike school papers, this essay will be a personal narrative that should tell an interesting
The first sentence must engage the reader and pull them in to read more, have points to
cover, and a strong conclusion.
Read examples of good college application essays available online
Do not try too hard to impress with perfection and lofty words.
Know the culture of the schools to which you are applying. Their admissions reps likely reflect
that culture and will look for students who are a good fit.
The student applicant and ONLY the student applicant should write the essay. They want to
hear the student's voice and perspective.
If you need help with your applications, schedule time with our college advisor or ask about our