Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps, Second Edition: Crafting a Winning Personal Statement [NOOK Book]


A guide to crafting a meaningful and polished college admissions essay that gets students into the school of their dreams by expressing their unique personality, strengths, and goals.

Stand out from the crowd with a memorable,
meaningful personal statement that will capture
the attention of college ...
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Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps, Second Edition: Crafting a Winning Personal Statement

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A guide to crafting a meaningful and polished college admissions essay that gets students into the school of their dreams by expressing their unique personality, strengths, and goals.

Stand out from the crowd with a memorable,
meaningful personal statement that will capture
the attention of college admissions officers.
Writing a college admissions essay is no easy task—but with college essay coach and New York Times contributor Alan Gelb’s accessible and encouraging step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to write an honest, one-of-a-kind essay that really shines.
Gelb’s ten-step approach has garnered great results for the students who have tried it, many of whom were accepted into their dream schools (Harvard, Brown, Yale, and more). This to-the-point handbook shows you how to identify an engaging essay topic, and then teaches you how to use creative writing techniques to craft a narrative that expresses your unique personality, strengths, and goals. Whether you’re an A-student looking for an extra boost or a less-confident writer who needs more intensive help, Gelb’s reassuring and concise guidance will help you every step of the way, from your initial draft to final revision. In the end, you will have a well-polished, powerful, and profound personal statement that you can feel proud of—a college essay that doesn’t feel “pre-fab,” but is a real reflection of your own individuality.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This indispensable resource clearly outlines the qualities and techniques that make for superb personal statements. With an educator’s attentiveness and editor’s keen insight, Gelb provides applicants with much-needed advice as well as the confidence and skills they need to win over the admissions dean.”
—Sue Wasiolek, Dean of Students at Duke University and coauthor of Getting the Best out of College
VOYA - Lindsay Grattan
In the second edition of Conquering The College Admissions Essay In 10 Steps, Gelb focuses on one major aspect of the college admissions process: the personal essay. He introduces the text by explaining his own experience raising two sons in a small rural town, where the local high school provided the basics in preparing students for college. Gelb found the school lacking in the kind of intense college preparation offered by exclusive private schools or affluent suburban high schools. This text stems from Gelb's efforts to help his sons achieve their dreams of attending a four-year college. He realizes that the personal essay can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection to one's preferred school. Gelb outlines the road to a successful essay in ten steps. As a professional writer, he takes great care in explaining from start to finish how to write an essay that is authentic without being overly sentimental or too self-promoting. He explains everything from choosing a compelling topic that captures the interest and attention of the admissions staff to point of view, structure, tone, and conflict. His tips on self-editing and proofreading are vital to a well-written narrative. Perhaps the biggest bonus of the book is the inclusion of several personal essays written by students who were accepted into their college of choice. This allows students a chance to see examples of the final outcome and what colleges are ultimately looking for. A newly added teacher's guide in the appendix is a great resource for the classroom. Reviewer: Lindsay Grattan
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607743675
  • Publisher: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 881,201
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

ALAN GELB is a college essay coach and professional writer whose clients include colleges and universities across the country. He is the author of The Complete Student, A Survival Guide for Professionals, and Most Likely to Succeed, among others. Alan lives with his family in East Chatham, New York. Visit for more information.
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Read an Excerpt

If you’re looking for an instruction book on how to write the college application essay, don’t worry—there are quite a few excellent ones on the market. In fact, if you have all the time in the world, I suggest you check out as many of these as you can. Chances are, they’ll all contain some useful ideas. But if you’re pressed for time—and what high school senior isn’t?—then you can feel confident that the book at hand is your fastest and surest way to produce the kind of application essay you’re after.
How is this book different from all the others out there? First of all, it has been pared down to the essentials. I’ve coached a great many students through this process and know that it doesn’t make any sense to choose the first semester of the senior year as the time to “share secrets from college admissions counselors” or “sample essays from great writers like E. B. White, George Orwell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.” This is the time when you want to focus exclusively on that which is absolutely critical, eliminate anything that feels like padding, and simply get the job done in the best possible way as fast as you can.

To that end, I’ve organized this learning process into a ten-step system. I’d like to say ten “easy” steps because “easy” is such a persuasive word, like “new,” “improved,” and “best ever.” But the truth is that some of these steps are not that “easy.” That said, none is insurmountable. If you follow this book in its logical sequence, you will arrive at your destination—a well-turned college application essay designed to linger in the minds of those who read it.

This book is different from others on this subject in that it focuses entirely on process. As I said, I will not be offering any extraneous material, like “secrets” from admissions counselors at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale. Such secrets are enticing, but ultimately do little to help your cause. What will help is to truly understand the elements of a well-constructed narrative, which is what this book will be teaching.
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