9780345517272

Write Your College Essay in Less Than a Day

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  • ISBN13:

    9780345517272

  • ISBN10:

    034551727X

  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-09-15
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
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Summary

Strategies from a noted educational consultant on how to ease the pressure, ace the essay, and gain admission into your top-choice school Getting into college has become fiercely competitive, which makes the personal-essay part of the application process even more importantand stressful. But stop worrying! InWrite Your College Essay in Less Than a Day, Elizabeth Wissner-Grossa top educational strategist in this area who counsels students at schools across the countrybreaks down the harrowing ordeal of essay writing into manageable steps, leaving you with a fresh, polished, stand-out piece that admissions officers will love to read. Inside you'll find exercises to help you select an essay topic inspired by your most notable achievementsand winning a Nobel Prize needn't be one of them timed chapters (including snack breaks) to help you brainstorm, create, and critique your essay in only five hours sample essays and grading criteria so that you can play the admissions officerand know what you're up against advice on which writing techniques will score you pointsand which could potentially sink your chances Accessible, savvy, and written with a student's needs and concerns in mind,Write Your College Essay in Less Than a Daygives you all the tools you need to compose an original, professional essay that will help you turn your dream school into a well-deserved reality.

Author Biography

The author understands the fear and urge to procrastinate. After all, she has helped thousands of students through the college application process, since she began advising students more than 12 years ago.

In addition to writing two books on college admissions (What Colleges Don’t Tell You: and Other Parents Don’t Want You to Know, and also What High Schools Don’t Tell You), Elizabeth Wissner-Gross has been leading successful Write-Your-Essay-in-One-Day workshops and speaking at public and private schools across the United States. She has appeared on the Today Show (NBC), The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet (Fox News), I on NY (WPXN), and been heard on Martha Stewart radio (Sirius) and popular radio programs throughout the United States. She is a regular keynote speaker on CollegeWeekLive (online semi-annual college fair that attracts more than 35,000 viewers/participants), and has appeared on panels sponsored by The New York Times, Newsday, The World Journal (Chinese), and the Columbia/Princeton Club of New York. In addition, she has been featured in articles in The New York Times, Newsday, USA Today, The World Journal, and many other publications throughout the United States.

As a private educational consultant, advocate, and strategist, she has helped her students win admission into the colleges of their dreams–even in these most competitive times–by working with individual students to help them develop their own academic interests and passions, and then having them write about their experiences. She advocates encouraging the individuality of each student and celebrating the gifts, talents, and diverse contributions that she believes every student has to offer.

Elizabeth Wissner-Gross graduated from Barnard College, where she studied Political Science and Education and graduated cum laude in 1975. She went on to Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and received her MS in 1976, and then pursued additional graduate study at UCLA. She worked as a writer and editor at the Daily News of Los Angeles, Associated Press, and Newsday, taught journalism at New York area colleges and graduate programs, and has had articles published in hundreds of newspapers nationally and internationally including The New York Times, Boston Herald, and Los Angeles Times. She resides on Long Island, NY and in Connecticut. She has two sons–both attended MIT undergraduate and Harvard for PhDs.

Excerpts

1   Start with the Guidelines (15 Minutes) 

  Don't Worry about the Topic Yet- First You Need to Know the Rules  

Before you set out to write the essay, you need to know what the competitive colleges are looking for-what to write and what not to write-so you don't waste your time writing essays that will get you instantly rejected or deferred. In this chapter, you'll find most of the major rules. Read through all of them. This is really important, and it will take you only 15 minutes. After reading the rules, you'll find some sample essays-both good examples and bad. This will help you to see what colleges want and don't want. You'll notice that most of the sample essays in this book are shortened to save you time reading (your essay will be longer). You'll also notice that we keep referring to "Dreamschool College." That's the name of our pretend college in this book-the college we're all aiming for. And in case you're wondering, the mini essays used in this book are all based on composites and variations of actual student essay drafts. The following rules are listed in alphabetical order in case you want to refer to them quickly on another day. 

  NEGATIVE RULES   (Or What to Avoid Writing, if You Don't Want to Get Rejected Based on Your Essay)  

RULE 1: ADVERSITIES.Do not write about adversities that aren't adverse. If you're going to write an essay about how you have faced a risk or an adversity, make sure it's really a hardship. Not getting a brand new car for your sixteenth birthday is not an adversity. Nor is having parents who won't let you hang out with your friends on a school night, or who insist that you only attend adult-supervised parties.  

RULE 2: ARTSY SUBSTITUTIONS.Do not send a poem or drawing or photo in place of an essay. If the college asks you for an essay, they want to see an essay.  

RULE 3: BAD-MOUTHING.Don't write mean-spirited things about other people. Don't talk of "hating" this one or that one. Don't write in your application that you're smarter than everyone else at school, or that your principal is irresponsible, or that the guidance counselor is inexperienced, or that your whole town doesn't value education, or that your journalism teacher doesn't understand the First Amendment, or that the literary magazine adviser wouldn't know a good poem if she saw one, or that your science teacher plays favorites. High school politics should stay at high school. Don't expect sympathy from a college admissions committee.  

RULE 4: BIAS.Make sure that there is no prejudice or bias in your essays. Colleges are trying hard to achieve diversity and balance among their students and faculty. Claiming or even implying subtly that you don't like this or that group is a sure way to put yourself out of the running. Don't put down others for tattoos, body piercings, sexuality, unusual hair color, race, religion, appearance, disabilities, or nation of origin. Don't refer to other people in your essays as "nerds," "geeks," "dweebs," "twits," "brainiacs," "eggheads"-even if you think you're doing so endearingly, or even if you're referring to yourself or your best friend that way. (For more about diversity and bias, see Chapter 7, The Diversity Essay.)  

RULE 5: ESSAY SUBSTITUTIONS.Do not send an essay that you wrote for an English class or history class in place of the essay requested on the college application, even if you received an A on the essay, and even if your English teacher swears that it's the greatest work of literature he/she has ever seen from a high school student. Write a special essay specifically for the college application. (Exception: A very few colleges such as Union College have been known to request a graded high school paper in place of an essay.)  

RULE 6: FAMILY SECRETS.Do not write about your family secrets, your friends' secrets, o

Excerpted from Write Your College Essay in Less Than a Day by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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