Crunch time for College Application Essays!

This is a busy time of year for college applicants and those of us who are helping them meet their application deadlines. The earliest ones are coming up next week, Oct. 15. In recent weeks, I’ve met with several new families individually and in webinars. They ask me many of the same questions, some crunch time advice here.

College Essay FAQ

Q: What makes a good essay topic?

A: The best essay topics are those that reveal something about who you are as a person. So don’t start with the topic — start with thinking about who you are and what you offer. Are you a fiction lover? Highly ethical? Musician-athlete? Extremely resilient? Hardworking volunteer? Environmentalist? Animal lover? Start with your top traits, then think of stories that demonstrate them. This can be a challenging process for teenagers, so it helps to think through it with someone else. In fact, this is where I start with my clients.

Q: Can I write a humorous essay?

A: Yes, but don’t do it unless you are a very good writer. Humor is hard to write. It’s more challenging than writing factually and can go badly wrong, confusing the admissions reader and distracting them from your story.

Q: I feel weird bragging about myself

A: It’s a fine line between selling yourself and bragging. You are writing a personal persuasive essay: a story about yourself that is intended to persuade the reader to admit you to their college.  If it helps, think of it as selling a product (you) to a buyer (the college). Just tell the facts about what you did, how you thought about it, what was the outcome, what you believe. But don’t outright boast about yourself — “I’m the best in my school  .. ” Because nobody likes a straight-up bragger. 🙂


October 7th, 2022
College Essays