Everything* You Need to Know About Writing Your College Essays You Need to Know About Writing Your College Essays ... We mean figuratively, ... for me? No matter how you open your essay, ...

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*That we can fit on the front and back of one sheet of paper Everything* You Need to Know About Writing Your College Essays Your essay is an opportunity. It may seem more like a punishment when youre staring at a blank screen, but it truly is your chance to show the selection committee at your school of choice why they should want you. How do you do that? By sharing something, in your unique voice, that makes them realize youre not like every other candidate. You will bring something special to their campus if given the chanceshow them what that is. Theyll already know your grade point, your activities, and your test scores. So use your essay to take them beyond the basics. The first step in doing that is This may be the most important part of writing your essay(s). Within the guidelines of the prompt, tell a story that is personal, that highlights your personality, and that no one else can tell in the same way. Pretend you are the person whose job it is to read college essays. How many students do you imagine might submit essays that, for example, recount their experience with just missing a record and then persevering to break it? If these essays tell the story in an unconventional way or have an unexpected twist, you may be interested in reading all of them. But if hundreds of students can (and do) tell the same story in a similar way, your job is going to grow old quickly, and youre going to feel ambivalent about these applicants. The student who brings you something fresh, something different, however that student youre going to remember. Be that student. After finding the right topic, the next step is to We mean figuratively, of course. And the best way to do that is with an opening, or lead, that draws the reader in and makes him or her want to learn more. Your lead doesnt have to be earth-shattering or mysterious. It can simply paint a picture using descriptive words, dialogue, or anything else that makes the reader feel as if he or she is right there while the story is unfolding: Hsss. I hear the warning sound only a second before feeling a sharp pain in my toe and then a slow burning. Im glad my hiking boots are safe in my trunk is my last thought before I sink to the ground and the world goes dark. It can make a statement or ask a question that Choosing the Right Topic Grab Your Reader leaves the reader puzzled: Who would have thought that eating fast food for two years would be good for me? No matter how you open your essay, take your reader along for the ride by using your words to show, (Even when I tried to hold my legs still, I couldnt stop the trembling.) not tell (I felt so nervous.). Once youve piqued your readers interest, youll have him or her until your last word. We are your essay advisors, Susan Elliott Blashka and Hollace Schmidt. We graduated from Solon High School and then earned our bachelors degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. Ms. Blashka runs her own writing and editing business and is a licensed professional mental health counselor; Mrs. Schmidt is a freelance writer for magazines including Parade; O, The Oprah Magazine; and Fitness. Well help you: Brainstorm topics (Make an appointment even if you have nothing writtenwe love that!) Create an outline for your essay Write a lead that hooks the reader Craft an ending that ties back to the opening or looks ahead to the future Explain the so what factorwhat this story says about you Make sure your writing sounds like you (If you dont speak in five-syllable words, you shouldnt be writing with them either.) Convey your thoughts concisely and clearly Find and correct errors in your writing Visit http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4fa4aa2da5f49-shscollege1 to create an account and sign up for spots in August or September (the link to October appointments is http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4fa4aa2da5f49-shscollege2). Youll find instructions there; please follow them! Well start meeting with students in the Media Center on Monday, August 28. Bring two printed copies of whatever youve written and a pen or pencil to each meeting. If you have questions or need to reach us before your appointment, email Ms. Blashka at seblashka@yahoo.com or Mrs. Schmidt at hollacerschmidt@gmail.com. Your Essay Advisors Next Steps http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4fa4aa2da5f49-shscollege1http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4fa4aa2da5f49-shscollege2mailto:seblashka@yahoo.commailto:hollacerschmidt@gmail.com

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