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Okay, guys. I hate to do this, but I need to put on my teacher hat for a moment. (I don’t think teachers actually wear hats, but I’m sure you’re picking up what I’m putting down.) Here’s the thing: YOUR GRAMMAR AND SPELLING IN YOUR COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY MUST, MUST, MUST BE PRACTICALLY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY! You may be rolling your eyes and saying, “What’s a little mix-up between ‘there’ and ‘their’ between friends?” While I don’t think your entire acceptance hinges on one spelling error, I do know that mistakes cast a shadow on your application. For example, if your transcript says that you’ve taken Honors English since freshman year but your essay has several grammatical errors, then an admissions officer might assume that either your grades were inflated or your mom was giving you a little too much help on those final papers. Don’t give the admissions department a single reason to doubt your school smarts. What can you do to perfect your essay? Start with... read more

You may be thinking, “Rosie, your essay advice is great, but my applications are due in just a few months and I’m applying to nine different schools and they all have different essay prompts and I have soccer and homework and my job and babysitting to do. How am I ever going to finish nine different essays? AHHHH! I’m not going to college!” Okay, that last part got a tad Lifetime movie-ish, but you know what I mean. I can certainly understand your frustration with trying to tackle such a big job. But the answer is simple: Take the easy (and smart) route: write one essay and modify it to suit the essay prompts from each school. How do you do this? Chances are that you will be able to find a common thread in the essay options between schools. It’ll just take some creative thinking to find the connection. Don’t get me wrong–you will have to modify your essay for each school. The same core life event (and the meat of your essay) can be reused as long as you emphasize aspects... read more

Greetings and Salutations! I have a bazillion things to say on this topic. In fact, I have so many that I created a whole business for it, but since I just spent some quality time with the awesome folks at MT College Prep, I thought I'd outline some bonus essay writing strategies here. In the interview, I offered these three "onstage" tips to organize your essay: The Opening Number: "You Gotta Get a Gimmick" (Gypsy) [youtube=] Until your essay, most everything on your application is cut and dry: test scores, GPA, number of extracurriculars, etc. Your essay is the one spot you get to reveal YOU. So make it unique, especially with your opening sentence. Find a gimmick, or hook, to capture the attention of the reader. The hook shouldn't be outrageous; it should be fascinating. So instead of this: "Directing a summer play for the kids in my hometown changed my life." Try this: "I... read more

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