The College Essay

It's Essay Season - The Three Types of Essays Required of College Applicants

overwhelmedHigh school students are asked to write three types of essaysthroughout the college application process.  Each essay type is unique and requires a unique approach.

Know the essay purpose.  Know the reader/audience.  Know the format.  Have a plan.

SAT/ACT Essays (1-3 handwritten pages written under time constraints)

The Standardized test essays are persuasive essays.  They measure:

  • how clearly a student can express and defend an opinion
  • a student’s ability to write a traditional 5-6 paragraph essay
  • grammar, usage and mechanics
  • the ability to write under time constraints

Scores are not base upon accuracy of facts. Students are not judged on their opinion, but their ability to express and defend it.

The Personal Statement Essay ("your story" usually 650 words or less)college essay rescue

  • This is, essentially, a personal story or autobiography. It is the student’s way to set himself apart from the other students who present similar transcripts and test scores.
  • It is a way for the college to get to know the student.
  • It requires the student to dig deeply inside himself and reflect upon his life, who he is, and what he values.

The Supplemental Essays ("why us?"  "tell us more" usually 250 words or less)

  • These short essays tend to be either fact based or creative.
  • The fact based prompts require the student to research and explain or defend something.  They should contain accurate information.
  • The creative prompts are ways for the admissions readers to dig deeper into who the student is.

The three essay types above are very different and need to be approached differently.

 EDNavigators offers assistance with all of these essay types.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

Related Articles:

Essential information about the SAT Writing Score and the Essay

The New SAT vs the Current SAT vs the ACT - A Preliminary Look

EDNavigators Introduces Guided Path for Comprehensive Management of the College Process

Common Application Essay Prompts for 2014-15

EDNavigators Introduces Custom College Plan for Comprehensive Management of the College Process

Another College Application Question With Varying Answers

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 11.24.14 AMRising Seniors are encouraged to begin their college applications over the summer between Junior and Senior Year.  This sounds like a simple task, but considering that colleges work with different applications and on different timelines, it gets complicated quickly.  The first question students must find the answer to is:

When Do College Applications Go Live?

For schools that accept the Common Application and the Universal Application, these dates apply:

  • The Universal Application opens on July 1, 2014
  • The Common Application opens on August 1, 2014

At some schools, like The University of Chicago, you can start and submit your supplement before you complete the Universal or Common App.

Some schools with rolling admission, like Delaware Valley College, accept applications anytime after the student completes his/her junior year of high school. Others with rolling admission, like Pennsylvania State University make the application available September 1.

Bottom Line:

Check the website or call each school to which you plan to apply to get its specific application timeline.

Use a system to keep track of what is due when.

If you are planning to apply to colleges that accept the Universal Application or Common Application, start the main essay as soon as you can and supplemental essays (common app prompts are here) as soon as they are released by the school.  Early Decision/Early Action Dates of Nov. 1 and Nov 15 come quickly.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

 

 

Rising Seniors - Summer Timeline for College Applications

College Application Checklist for Rising SeniorsFirst semester senior year is busy.  Class rigor and grades for senior year count toward college admissions. EDNavigators encourages students to remove some of the senior year stress by beginning applications over the summer. What can a rising senior do over the summer in preparation for college applications?

June and July: 1. Plan and adjust college by researching and visiting colleges. 2. Prepare for the SAT or ACT if taking it in the fall. 3. Go to the website of or call the college of interest to find out: • If it accepts The Common Application - If yes, are supplements required? Are they available yet? Supplements to the Common Application become available on a school-by-school basis. Princeton University’s Supplement to the Common Application for the Class of 2015 is available now as well as Purdue, Amherst and Penn. • If it accepts The Universal College Application - If yes, are supplements required and are they available yet? • If it has its own application - If yes, is it available? For schools with rolling admission, the sooner you complete and submit the application, the better your chances of getting in. Penn State's application becomes available September 1. There are different application requirements and different timelines for each school. The only way to get the information you need specific to each school is to go to the school’s website or call the school’s admissions office. 4. Write the common Application Essay. The Common Application Essay prompts will remain the same as they were last year. They are available now. 5. Take time to do things you enjoy

August: 1. On August 1, The Common Application and The Universal College Application go live for the next school year. Complete the core sections during the month of August. The Common Application and The Universal College Application for Fall 2015 will be available August 1, 2014 2. Continue to adjust and revise the college list 3. Continue with test-prep 4. Take time to do things you enjoy.

 Specifics for the Classes of 2016 and 2017

Common Application Essay Prompts for 2014-15

2014-15 Common Application Essay Prompts Rising Seniors, use this summer to write your Common Application Essay.  The Common Application itself will go live on August 1, 2014 but the essay prompts are available now.

As stated in The Common Application Knowledgebase:

"The Common Application will retain the current set of first-year essay prompts for 2014-15, without any edits or additions. The essay length will continue to be capped at 650 words. The feedback received from member colleges and school counselors has been positive. The essay prompts will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that they continue to serve students and member colleges well.

The essay prompts are as follows:

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn? Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again? Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you? Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family."

EDNAvigators offers assistance with the College Essay Process