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The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price by Lynn O’Shaughnessy

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35. Writing Your Way into College

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.

—Anaïs Nin, author

On a sunny autumn day in San Diego, scores of college guidance counselors from across the country resisted the temptation to walk along the city’s famous beaches. Instead they grabbed seats in a chilly, windowless room. The counselors, who were attending the College Board’s annual convention, had shown up for one reason—to learn the secrets of writing a successful college essay.

Not surprisingly, the room was jammed. With top schools so competitive, many ambitious kids assume that if they write a zinger of an essay, it just might keep their application from getting fed into a paper shredder. So everyone—from ...

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