Updated 28 April 2015
Essays for US College Applications
Part 2 (12 May 2015):
- ISL Essay Presentation 2015 Part 2
- Supplemental Essays May 2015 for some colleges from 2014-2015 applications – will need updating after August 1
- Note: Some of the supplemental essays in Common App are tricky to find. Where are Supplemental Essay Questions Hiding
- Create your own list of all the essay prompts you need to write, starting with this file if you want. Be sure to verify all the prompts after the new applications come out after August 1.
- Use this list to make notes about what you plan to write for each prompt, and
- Spot overlaps in prompts.
- If you want to get started on supplemental essays before August 1 – highly recommended! – without being concerned that the prompts will change after you have written them, send an email to the admissions office asking if they have any plans to change their prompts. If you know which admissions reps covers Europe, address the email directly to that person.
- Remember CollegeEssayGuy.com and EssayHell.com as resources if you need inspiration or more guidelines.
Part 1 (28 April 2015):
- ISL Essay Presentation 2015 Part 1
- Assignment – #3 and 4 are aimed at finding an essay topic. #1 and #2 could be done later.
- First create a personal timeline using guidelines in this article about what you want colleges to know about you. Take a legible picture of your timeline and save it.
- Create a separate list in a Google doc of the core qualities, essential values, fun facts, brilliant achievements, important lessons learned that you want colleges to know about you.
- Box of objects: Do this Objects Exercise on College Essay Guy’s website.
- Values exercise: Download values exercise document and do what it says.
- Feel free to use these College Essay Brainstorming Questions if useful in completing any parts of these exercises.
- Pick a topic and write a rough draft of your essay – Send this to firstname.lastname@example.org by 7pm, Sunday, 10 May, 2015
20 minutes – set a timer
Write as if to a friend or relative (late teens – 20s), using your own voice
Write continuously about your idea > Go way over 650 words
Show, then tell: What you saw, heard, smelled, felt – details!.
- Reveal your opinions, goals, dreams, and motivations.
- Don’t worry about first sentences, spelling or grammar – no corrections. Just write.
- Repeat your last line until something else occurs to you.
- Revise if you have time.
Resources – sample essays and essay advice
- Van Gogh’s Shoes, Martin Heidegger and My Little Pony: Embracing the Essay
- Advice for Working on the Essay This Summer
- Johns Hopkins University’s Essays That Worked
- Tufts University’s Past Essays That Mattered
- Hamilton College’s More Essays that Worked
- Connecticut College’s Essays that Worked
- What Makes a Great College Essay
- Full version of Anne Lamott’s essay “Shitty First Drafts”
- About essay style