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How to Write an Unforgettable College Essay

On the last day of school each year high school students across the country breathe a sigh of relief to be free of the academic demands of school for at least a couple of months. However, if you are a rising Senior you may feel more anxious than relieved on that last day because you know that “College Application Season” is looming on the horizon and you are expected to begin writing your main college essay, the personal statement, over the summer. The personal statement essay is a daunting task to say the least and a great essay requires what we like to call “personal archaeology”, the digging and sifting through your memories, hopes, dreams, fears and failures to be truly outstanding. We provide some unique tips to help inspire you and jump start your writing process at .

The most difficult part of writing is getting started so now is the time to familiarize yourself with the Common App Essay Prompts which can be found at You will notice that the last prompt (#7) is open ended and allows you to pick a topic of your choice so feel free to brainstorm and tell the story that best represents what you want admissions to know about you that cannot be found in your application. Remember: there is no right or wrong answer. The college just wants to know who you are and how your mind works. While there are no bad essay topics there are some that admissions frown upon.

Try to stay away from the following topics:

Winning or losing the big game.

Death of a pet.

Friendship problems.

Religious or philosophical epiphanies.

Telling troubles to a journal.

Anything that suggests that you don’t see the world beyond high school.

Simple solutions to world problems.

Essays in poor taste.


Cynicism almost never plays well.

It is important to know how your essay will be evaluated. Admissions may consider the following:

Is your writing mechanically sound?

Is your writing style comfortable?

Can you write a good sentence? Can you write a good paragraph?

Do you address the question asked?

Can you form a thesis? Can you discuss a theme?

Is your argument logical?

Can you get in and out of the essay with some finesse?

Do you write with style, nuance and creativity? Do you write with a distinctive voice?

Ultimately your college essay needs to be a good story, well told. Essential College Coaches offers Essay Writing Packages to help you craft the essay that will lead to ACCEPTANCE!

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