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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.

Essay Tips

 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

without sharing

 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

application Bootcamp.

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