COLLEGE ESSAYS & RESUMES

HOW TO BEST REPRESENT YOU
PREPARING TO WRITE YOUR
COLLEGE ESSAYS

College essays are an important part of your application. This is an opportunity to be authentic and share your interests, values, experiences, and passion about your life. You want admissions counselors to see you as the perfect fit.

It’s your time to shine! Get writing!

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Essay & Resume Tips from our College Planning Experts.

Getting Started with Your College Essays

Once you have narrowed down your college selection, it's time to go get serious on how to stand out among the applicants also applying to the schools you are most interested in attending.

Choose A Theme

CHOOSE A THEME

When writing your college essay, avoid creating a list of your activities and accomplishments.

Tell the reader something about yourself that isn’t evident in the rest of your application. Think about your best personal trait, your interests, values and goals. Focus on one of these qualities and make it the theme of your essay.

For example, your best trait might be determination, creativity, or compassion. Tell a story that makes that trait clear to the reader. Provide evidence by citing specific instances from your life.

Be Clear, Concise and Direct

Be Clear, Concise and Direct

Be clear about the theme of your essay from the first paragraph. Grab the reader’s attention with a compelling opening sentence. Avoid clunky phrasing.

For example, instead of “it was really very important to me – and my parents too - that…” use “it was imperative that I…” Keep your essay around 500 words, unless otherwise specified in the application.

Make Your Story Unique

Make Your Story Unique

Many students write about similar topics in their college essay: family; loss; vacations; sports; career goals. Your job is to make your essay unique. One of the best ways to do this is to use imagery and sensory details.

For example, instead of, "The culture of Paris made an impact on me." try, "My outlook on life shifted as I sat, lost in a whirlwind of language, mesmerized by the Eiffel Tower, while sampling a warm banana-Nutella crepe." Be creative. Your essay will surely stand out.

Use Your Voice

Use Your Voice

Don’t let nerves get the best of you. The college essay may be your only opportunity to show your personality to the admission office. Avoid writing it like a research paper. Instead, let your personal voice shine through.

If you are witty, show the reader your sense of humor (But be cautious. What you think is funny, may not be funny to someone else). If you are more thoughtful, take on a slightly more serious tone, as an example.

Accentuate the Positive

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Even if you are writing about a painful experience, focus on what you learned from it and how it changed you for the better.

Find Balance

Find Balance

Your college essay gives you the chance to talk about your best assets. But remember to remain modest. While your essay should convey your best qualities, you want to avoid bragging too much.

If you write about an activity or an experience, focus not on how good you are or what you have accomplished, but instead on what the experience/activity means to you.

Type Your Essay

Type Your Essay

Unless otherwise directed in your application, type your essay.

Proofread & Edit

Proofread & Edit

You may have a beautifully crafted essay or a wonderful story to tell, but if you don’t take the time to proofread, your essay may be overlooked and end up in the rejection pile. Spelling errors are unacceptable. Careful proofreading shows the reader you care and you aren’t sloppy.

Before you send your essay to colleges, have someone you trust read it and provide feedback. Usually, your English teacher will be happy to take a look.

Write Your Own Essay

Write Your Own Essay

College admission officers are usually able to detect an essay not written by the student. The result is usually immediate rejection.

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CHOICES FOR COMMON APP ESSAYS

The Components of an Amazing College Essay

Here are several necessary parts to writing an amazing college essay. Breaking the writing process down into steps doesn't seem so overwhelming.  Be able to work on the different components of it at a time is easier than trying to craft the whole essay in one sitting.

Find Ten College Essay Tips to Help you Wow Admissions.

DOWNLOAD ESSAY TIPS
The Opening Line

Start your essay with a direct and captivating line. This approach hints at the personality of the writer and makes us want to read more.

The Introduction

Now that you have the first sentence written, you have the opportunity to continue telling your story. Write a few sentences that elaborate on your opening line and think about how those following lines fit into the big theme of your essay. 

The Body

These are the paragraphs that really explain who you are and further solidify what you wrote about in your introduction.  Whatever you choose to share – make it succinct and keep it personal. Your essay should not simply be a repeat of the information you shared on your application.

The Conclusion

Here, you restate the gist of your essay. 

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CREATING A HIGH SCHOOL

RESUME

An important tool to have on hand as you are applying to colleges, asking for recommendation letters, submitting scholarship applications is your high school resume.  Having your high school years documented will save you so much time in completing all applications in an timely, efficient and consistent manner.  You don't want to go by memory to list your 4 years of accomplishments each time they are required

 


What to include in your resume.

FORMATING, CONTENT & ACCURACY

Using these tips high school students can write engaging resumes for college applications. The key to building an effective resume is using simple fonts,  clear organization of work  experience.

Find some great tips in our free download for FORMATING TIPS FOR HIGH SCHOOL RESUMES. 

 

  • Name & Contact Information

  • Education

  • Work Experience

  • Skills

  • Extracurricular & Volunteer Activities

  • Honors & Awards

PROOFREAD

REVIEW, REVISE, & EDIT

Your resume should be carefully edited and proofread. Ideally you would review, revise and edit. Once you have completed your edits have a second set of eyes review your final version. Teachers, guidance counselor or parents can give it the final blessing.

Don't depend on auto correct from Microsoft Word and Google Docs. Double checking for typos and grammar is worth the time. 

Grammarly, is a great resource for catching minor grammar mistakes.

PROOFREAD

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