A lot of the schools I applied to used the Common App, which was great because I could use exactly the same main essay. Most of them, though, required supplements (often in the form of essays about why you wanted to go to that particular school). Most of the schools that didn't use the Common App either asked for a writing sample about anything, or asked an essay question that was so similar to my Common App essay that I could tweak it just a little and make it work. So I ended up with about 4 slightly different versions of one essay, and about 4 supplemental essays. You'll probably end up having to do the same thing.
If you can do it over the summer, write one fantastic essay on a general topic like a person that's influenced your life or the accomplishment you're most proud of. If you can, find the specific questions for the schools you're looking at, but chances are you'll be able to use an essay like that for most of them. You can send that exact essay to multiple Common App schools, and you should be able to tweak it for other ones (I also use parts of my Common App essay for scholarships and even class assignments, so it's a pretty useful thing to have senior year!). The more prestigeous the schools you're applying to, though, the more likely it is they'll require supplemental essays.
You won't have to write 20 essays, but they add up. And they get really draining after awhile. I'm a good student and a hard worker, but I ended up spending 5 hours one day trying to write the first two paragraphs of a scholarship essay just because I was so burned out writing them. It gets really, really exhausting. I applied to 10 schools, and I can't recommend highly enough that you apply to fewer than that. Spend this summer narrowing down your options - visit schools, talk to friends in college, look at guidebooks, read college and college search webpages - and figure out the schools it's most likely you'll go to. Choose a "reach" school or two, a few that you really love and should be able to get into, and one or two "safties" that you know you'll be able to get into and would be happy with. Your applications will be better and you'll feel so much better if you don't get burned out.
Source(s): Way too many weekends (and afternoons, and evenings, and a few early mornings...) spent at home writing college essays!
Anonymous · 10 years ago
If you’re applying to college but don’t know where to start when it comes to crafting the perfect admissions essay, there’s a new website to help you “unleash your story.”
EssayDog.com helps students identify a topic for their essays and provides a step-by-step writing process.
The founders, Howard Reichman and Mitch German, have worked as Hollywood screenwriters for 25 years. Their first software program, Plot Control, helped thousands of screenwriters develop and write scripts, and they saw an opportunity to adapt the same process for student essays.
“We quickly discovered the issues students have writing college essays are the same issues that any creative person has in his or her writing endeavor,” Reichman said.
EssayDog breaks the essay-writing process into four simple steps. Reichman explained that students start by simply filling out four sentences.
“The four sentences are the backbone of every major story,” Reichman said. “You have the structure of your entire story, and now it’s just a matter of fleshing them out.”
The first sentence forms the foundation. The site gives this example: “Every summer, I looked forward to sports camp.” Sentence two is the anticipated outcome: “I made a lot of friends and I couldn’t wait to make more.”
The third sentence is the pivot of your essay, where you write about setbacks or obstacles you dealt with: “One day, my parents told me instead of sports camp, I would be going on a family vacation.” The fourth sentence identifies the discovery, where you write about what you’ve learned: “I was disappointed, but I discovered my siblings could become friends.”
Using this basic structure, EssayDog helps writers develop their ideas and add authenticity to their stories using step-by-step videos and writing exercises.
Instead of starting from scratch and dealing with the anxiety of how to start, Reichman said the software is meant to make the writing process fun and collaborative.
Though this is EssayDog’s first full college application year, they’ve already assisted over 1,000 students. The software starts at $49 for a one-year subscription, and one-on-one consulting is offered for $349.
Use promo code YAHOO on EssayDog.com for 25% off!
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