O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

One-Hour College Application Essay

Book Description

Key features include targeted questions and helpful worksheets, quick-start strategies, professional advice from college admissions directors.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. About This Book
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Contents
  7. A Brief Introduction to Using This Book
  8. Chapter 1: Why You Need a Terrific Essay
    1. A Little Background About the Admissions Process
      1. Admissions Criteria
      2. Other Valuable Information on the College
      3. How Should I Choose Where to Apply?
    2. So Where Does the Essay Fit In?
    3. Timetable for the College Admissions Process
    4. SAT and ACT Testing Information
      1. SAT® Reasoning Test
      2. ACT® Test
    5. Types of Application Decisions: When and How to Apply
      1. Single-Choice Early Action
      2. Early Decision
      3. Early Decision (II)
      4. Early Action
      5. Regular Decision
      6. Rolling Admission
    6. What’s the Reason for an Application Essay?
    7. How an Essay Can Tip the Scales in Your Favor
    8. Key Points: Chapter 1
  9. Chapter 2: Advice from the Admission Pros: Selecting a Topic, Style, and Approach
    1. Some General Advice
      1. Admissions Philosophy
      2. Be Introspective and Express Yourself
      3. Connect the Dots
      4. Keep It Personal—But Not Embarrassingly So
    2. Tips for Selecting the Best Essay Topic for You
      1. Write What You Know
      2. Be Careful with Tragic Subjects
      3. Use the Essay to Clarify Your Application
      4. Be Authentic
    3. Hints on Approaching Your Essay
    4. The Do’s and the Don’ts
      1. The Do’s
      2. The Don’ts
        1. Topic Don’ts
        2. Approach Don’ts
        3. Style Don’ts
    5. Key Points: Chapter 2
  10. Chapter 3: More Advice from the Admission Pros: Assistance, Feedback, Examples, and Trends
    1. Should You Seek Professional Help with Your Essay?
    2. Do Colleges Ever Provide Students with Feedback About Their Essays?
    3. Strange, Curious, Provocative, Mediocre, and Winning Essays
      1. A Life-Changing Experience
      2. Standout Examples—Some Good and Some Bad
        1. “Strangest Essay I’ve Ever Read [Out of More Than 55,000 in a 30-Year Career]”
        2. Poor Writing
        3. A Lack of Depth and Insight
        4. A Risk-Taker
        5. Rising to the Challenge of a Creative Essay Question
        6. A Successful Essay and a Successful Student
        7. A Battery of Short-Essay Questions
    4. Other Trends and Insights from the Admission Experts
    5. Key Points: Chapter 3
  11. Chapter 4: Quick Steps for Crafting an Essay in an Hour
    1. Questions to Get You Started (or at Least Thinking Creatively)
    2. The Creative Writing Process
      1. Framing the Essay
        1. Introduction
        2. Body
        3. Conclusion
      2. Refining the Essay’s Appearance
      3. Editing and Revising
    3. One-Hour College Application Essay Writing Exercise
      1. STEP 1: Select a Topic (5 Minutes)
      2. STEP 2: Brainstorm Initial Responses (5 Minutes)
      3. STEP 3: Complete Your Outline (10 Minutes)
      4. STEP 4: Focus on the Introduction (10 Minutes)
      5. STEP 5: Write the Body (10 Minutes)
      6. STEP 6: Wrap Up with a Conclusion (10 Minutes)
      7. STEP 7: Read for Flow and Consistency and Write the Title (5 Minutes)
      8. STEP 8: Spell-Check by Computer and Visually Proofread (5 Minutes)
    4. Key Points: Chapter 4
  12. Chapter 5: Actual Essay Questions for Practice—Plus Student Advice
    1. The Common Application: First-Year Application for Undergraduate College Admissions
    2. Deciding on an Essay Topic
      1. Essay Questions from Actual Applications
        1. Favorite Book
        2. Subject or Program Specific
        3. Academic Program Choice
        4. Most Interesting Work or Educational Experience
        5. Life Experience
        6. Creative Expression
        7. Writing Samples
        8. Interest in a Particular University
        9. Self-Expression
        10. General Accomplishment or Interest
        11. Unique Opportunities or Obstacles
        12. Additional Questions
      2. Specialty Applications
        1. Athletic Supplement
        2. Arts Supplement
        3. Honors Program Application
    3. Advice from Your (Former) Peers
      1. The Hardest Part About Writing My Essay
      2. Additional Recommendations for Writing a Great Application Essay
    4. Key Points: Chapter 5
  13. Chapter 6: Other Pieces of the College Application Package
    1. The Essentials
      1. High School Transcript
      2. Academic Progress Report
      3. Standardized Test Scores (SAT and/or ACT)
      4. Strength of Academic Curriculum
      5. Rank in Senior Class
      6. GPA
      7. The Application Essay
      8. Letters of Recommendation
        1. Advice from the Experts
        2. Dealing with Forms
        3. Who Should You Ask?
        4. How Will Your Teachers Evaluate You?
      9. Student Interview
    2. Extra Credit
      1. Parent-Peer Evaluations
      2. Work Samples and Portfolio
      3. Student Resume
      4. Personal Statement
      5. Extracurricular Activities
      6. Volunteerism/Community Service
      7. Personalized Cover Letter
      8. Geographic Region Represented/Ethnic Backgrounds/First in Family to Go to College
      9. Extraordinary Skill or Ability (Musical, Artistic, Athletic)
    3. Additional Factors
      1. Relative Rankings
      2. Personal Qualities
    4. Key Points: Chapter 6
  14. Chapter 7: Actual Winning Essays to Inspire You
    1. Essay Theme #1: Why This School?
      1. Why Duke?
      2. Why Tufts?
      3. Finding a School That’s an Ideal Match
    2. Essay Theme #2: Influential Person
      1. Two Modern-Day Heroes—to Me
      2. An Influential Uncle—a Valuable Lesson for Life
      3. An Influential Coach—On the Football Field (and Off)
      4. A Grandfather’s Influence by Example
    3. Essay Theme #3: Becoming a Teacher
      1. Babysitter...to Mentor...to Teacher
      2. Planting the Seed to Become a Teacher
    4. Essay Theme #4: Athletics as a Backdrop
      1. For Her, Running Is a Passion and a Lifestyle
      2. Perseverance and Determination
      3. Going the Distance: On the Course...and in School
      4. Kathy, Softball, and Bugs
      5. A Running Pursuit...and Not Giving Up
      6. As a Flexible Gymnast, Her Ability to Adapt Is Tested by Hurricane Katrina
      7. Shattering a Track Record—and Feeling the Adrenaline
      8. Softball: How Achieving a Goal Made Me Feel
      9. Running Really Did Change My Life
    5. Essay Theme #5: Leadership and Introspection
      1. Tiny but Most Memorable Experience
      2. Drawing on Leadership Skills in College
      3. Confidence-Building: Learning Valuable New Skills
      4. Leaving Technology Behind on the Coast of Maine
      5. Optimism, New Perspectives, and Cooking Pasta in Oil
    6. Essay Theme #6: Making a Difference
      1. Mind-Opening Experience: Leaving My Own Little Corner of the World
      2. Lasting Impressions from Colombia
    7. Essay Theme #7: Music, Literature, and Performing Arts
      1. Piano 101 Cultivated a Work Ethic
      2. Base/Basket/Soft(balls)...and All That Jazz
      3. Starting a Band: A Lesson in Music, Creativity, and Results from Hard Work
      4. From Being Terrified to Being a Natural: Storytelling and Modern Dance
      5. How Music Shapes My Life
      6. An Essay on Romanticism (C Block English)
    8. Essay Theme #8: Who Am I?
      1. A Creative Way of Describing Unique Attributes
      2. Changed by a Sport, a Team, and a Coach
      3. Why Engineering? Why This College?
      4. Bridging Two Cultures, Two Homes
      5. Love of Learning and Life Leads to Changes in College Selections
    9. Essay Theme #9: Challenges, Accomplishments, and New Adventures
      1. From Germany to Studying in the United States: True Cultural Studies
      2. Achieving Eagle Scout: Much More Than a Badge
      3. Volleyball Plus a Hurricane—Unlikely Formula for Bonding
      4. A Man of “New Cheese”—a Wonderful Turnaround Story
      5. No Fear of Any Challenge
    10. Be Inspired
  15. Appendix: The Admission Professionals Who Contributed to This Book
  16. Index