College Essays: 3 Tips to Succeed in Your College Applications

April 26, 2014 at 10:25 AM

In a 2012 NACAC study of over 2000 college admissions officers, essays were the most important factor in college admissions after grades and SAT/ACT scores. In the crowded application pool, the essay plays a key role in helping admissions officers choose between candidates with similar test scores and GPAs. 

College application essays reveal your character; they show admission officers who you will be on their campus and in their community. In a survey of 48 admissions officers from selective private colleges, admissions officers said that they look for three things when reading your essay: a unique perspective, strong writing, and an authentic voice.

Let’s look at the three keys to admissions essay success more closely:

Sign Up for E-News

1. Unique perspective

A unique perspective shows how you see the world and what difference you have made through your actions. List 20 or more moments when you learned a key lesson, changed in a fundamental way, or made a difference in the lives of others. These can be simple moments, like a family meal or late night conversations with friends. Narrow the list down to focus on things you did, not concepts you realized or believe in. And remember: admissions officers aren’t looking for expensive trips or fancy experiences--in fact, sometimes that kind of extravagance can be a little off-putting. Colleges read your essays to learn more about you, not what your parents can buy. Share personal moments that reveal who you are as a human being.

2. Strong writing

You might think admissions officers are looking for essays like you write in English class, with a strong argument and tight grammar. Not so! The most important thing is the narrative. It’s important to proofread your essays and clean up any grammar snafus, but much more important is to write with the power of storytelling. 

3. Authentic voice

An authentic voice sounds like an individual. To access your authentic voice, start by telling your stories out loud into a phone or computer. If you can gather a group of friends and tell your stories to one another--even better. Telling your stories out loud is your authentic voice, and builds a powerful emotional bridge between you as an individual and your audience. Use these storytelling sessions to draft your essays in a way that sounds like you and conveys your personality. This will connect you to your audience, the people who read your applications in admissions offices.

A bonus tip: don’t repeat your achievements in your essays; they already show up in your transcript and lists of awards and activities. Essays provide a unique opportunity to add another dimension. Which stories show who you will be as a classmate? Roommate? Fellow leader of a campus activity?

On April 29 and May 6, I will be leading a webinar series about the Story To College method for completing successful admission and scholarship essays. Space is limited; sign up today and learn how you can get in and get money at selective colleges.

South Orange resident, Dr. Carol Barash has taught her proprietary college essay curriculum to over 10,000 students and 500 educators. An award-winning professor at Princeton, Michigan and Rutgers, where she served on the admissions committee of Douglass College, Carol founded Story To College and published Write Out Loud (McGraw Hill, 2013) to revolutionize college admissions by teaching students from all backgrounds to write essays that connect.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Speaker Ryan Signs Lance Bill

December 4, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Vice Chair of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, today joined U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan as he signed off on Lance’s  Consumer Review Fairness Act.  Lance’s consumer protection legislation passed both the House and U.S. Senate and now heads to President Obama.  The legislation will allow ...

Registration Begins Next Week for Indoor Riding Lessons at Lord Stirling Stable in Basking Ridge

BASKING RIDGE, NJ – Winter weather doesn't have to mean the end of horseback riding for equestrians in Basking Ridge and nearby. The Somerset County Park Commission has announced that registration will begin next Saturday, Dec. 10, for a 10-week session of Winter Horseback Riding Classes at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 S. Maple Ave. in Basking Ridge.

Lessons are ...

Holiday Specials for Personal Training

Stay active this winter and get in shape for the spring!  Whether you are looking for a meaningful gift or a way to get healthy, the Summit Area YMCA has a variety of options that will be sure to help you and your family reach your goals this winter season! Take advantage of our holiday personal training specials available at both the Summit YMCA and Berkeley Heights YMCA to get healthy and ...

Cures Bill Passes, Securing Lance Victories

 Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today hailed passage of the 21st Century Cures Act in the U.S. House.  Lance, the chair of the Congressional Rare Disease Caucus and a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Committee, praised the landmark bill which has been two years in the making:

“This legislation is for anyone who has lost a loved one from cancer,  had a ...

Letter to the Editor by Edmund Tom Maciejewski

December 4, 2016

Dear Editor,

 

In accordance with a ballot question that was passed in November 2005, Berkeley Heights switched from a Township Committee form to a Mayor-Council-Administrator form of government under the Faulkner Act or OMCL ( Optional Municipal Charter Law ).

There are 4 categories of municipalities under the Faulkner Act. The Mayor-Council-Administrator form that was chosen by ...

BH Town Council, Where's the Zero?

To the editor: 

In a recent Mayor’s Roundtable, the town council mentioned that Berkeley Heights uses zero-based budgeting. The Nov 17, 2016 stream of the Mayor's Roundtable explained the budgeting process and made it clear that Berkeley Heights is not using ZBB by any definition of the term.  

Our council used to have five or six budget review meetings to publicly go ...

Unwanted guests leave a bad taste

Dear Editor,

Last Friday night, six friends gathered at a local Italian restaurant to catch up about the week's surprise events and enjoy each other's company.   Our dinner was interrupted by a surprise serving of bigotry and intolerance.

A different couple, strangers who had just ended their dinner, approached our table and interjected their opposing views on the ...

Beckerman’s Theory of Everything

Any armchair theoretical physicist knows that Stephen Hawking has pursued a lifelong quest to come up with a Theory of Everything. This all-encompassing theory would tie together general relativity (large scale and high mass galaxies, stars, etc), quantum theory (quantum mechanics, quarks, atoms, subatomic particles), and Newtonian physics (gravity on small bodies, gas laws, electromagnetism) to ...

The Mayor's Roundtable November Edition

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Mayor's Round Table is a monthly show hosted by Dr. Donald DeFabio, who sits with Mayor Robert Woodruff to talk about current issues that affect the township as well as answer questions submitted by citizens. 

Included in this episode are discussions regarding the next step to creating a Peppertown Park committee; Board of Education ...

Shannon's six week transformation story

Shannon just finished her 6 Week Transformation, here were her results: 

Dropped 2 Pant sizes
Energy Level went from a 2 to a 9
Confidence level from a 5 to a 9

She was very happy and satisfied with these results, but the best result was taking her focus off the scale! For years Shannon only measured her success for her health by weight loss.

When we sat down in the ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_96fe69a843c33a88747d_dab3f69e0779f6f216b2_merry_fitness

Mon, December 5, 5:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Merry Fitness – A Program To Get You Through The ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_d5ddab0d259a295c0a15_20d17dee9fefa83e1abc_mahjong

Mon, December 5, 12:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Mah Jongg

Arts & Entertainment

Mon, December 5, 1:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Pickleball Weekly Games for Adults!

Health & Wellness Sports

Mon, December 5, 6:00 PM

Union County College, Cranford

Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) -- ...

Education

Carousel_image_6435a3c7c84d3883aa2e_animal_shelter

Tue, December 6, 5:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Give Back & Help a Local Animal Shelter

Giving Back

Carousel_image_96fe69a843c33a88747d_dab3f69e0779f6f216b2_merry_fitness

Tue, December 6, 5:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Merry Fitness – A Program To Get You Through The ...

Health & Wellness

Which is Best: Lump Sum or Pension Annuity?

Is a lump sum offer from an employer a better choice than a pension annuity for life? The former provides an immediate up-front amount (say $300,000), but the pension annuity gives you a stream of payments for life (example: $1,350 per month). A number of employers dangle a lump sum offer to employees in part to remove future liabilities from their balance sheets. It’s tempting for ...

Chris Brown Named President at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties is proud to announce the appointment of Chris Brown to President of the 21-office real estate brokerage headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey. Previously serving as Executive Vice President and General Sales Manager, Brown is a member of the company’s ownership team along with Bill Keleher, Seymour and Nancy Litwin, and Steve Janett.

Local Students Lend a Hand at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Gov. Livingston seniors Hannah Probst and Gillian Mitreuter walk in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade for the second yea.. Last year they were a part of the 'All star' baseball clown group and this year they were a part of the first ever Girl Scout float group.

"It was such an honor walking with the Girl Scout's inaugural float as we were both Girl Scouts ...