Writing a Winning College Admissions Essay

Writing a Winning College
Admissions Essay
The Complete Package Checklist
Courses – Difficulty
Test Scores
College Admissions Essay
Why the College Admissions Essay
Application rates are higher.
 Over the past 3 decades, college enrollment rates have
increased from 26% to 41%.
Admissions rates are lower.
 University of Florida: 2013 (42.21%) vs. 2012 (44.10%.)
 Ivy League colleges: 90% of applicants are denied
 Class of 2018: 6% (Yale) to 14% (Cornell).
The Purpose of the College
Admissions Essay
• Distinguish yourself from the other applicants
• To show who YOU are beyond a GPA and test
Unsure of Where to Begin?
Analyze the Essay Prompts
1. 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.
2. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How
did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What
prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
4. Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly
content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it
meaningful to you?
5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that
marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your
culture, community, or family.
Break Down the Essay Prompts
Story  Identity
Incident  Failure  Lesson
Challenged belief  Repercussions  Lesson
Meaningful place  Experience
Accomplishment or Event  Cultural,
Community or Family Growth
New Essay Prompt
We often hear the phrase "the good life." In fact, the
University of Florida's common course required of all
undergraduate students is titled "What is the Good Life?"
The concept of "the good life" can be interpreted in many
different ways depending upon the experiences, values and
aspirations of each individual.
In a concise narrative, describe your notion of "the good
life." How will your undergraduate experience at the
University of Florida prepare you to live "the good life"?
Analyze the Essay Prompt
 Define: What does the “good life” mean to you?
 Describe: Experiences, values and aspirations.
 Connect and Apply: Your college goals.
What is the “Good Life?”
Aristotle’s Theory Explained
 Concept of Excellence = Happiness (virtue)
 Three Kinds of Virtue:
 Moral Virtue – character development
 Intellectual Virtue – wisdom
 Interpersonal Virtue – utility
The Three P’s
 Purpose: The essay is a snapshot of your life that
serves a purpose to show who you are.
 Powerful: The essay must be a powerful story that
grabs the reader’s attention within the word limit.
 Personal: The more personal the essay, the more
you will connect with your reader.
Writing About Yourself
How The Writing Guru Can Help You
 Brainstorm
 Draft
 Revise
Brainstorm: Think, Plan and Outline
“What do I want this college to know about me?”
Draft: Write and Personalize
 Evoke emotion. Make your reader cry or laugh.
 Get personal. Open up about yourself.
 Be creative and descriptive. Use sensory details.
Revise: Edit and Proofread
Ordering a College Admissions
Essay Package
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