Helping applicants navigate the intricate yet vitally important essay process at elite schools such as Stanford a university that enrolls students from all 50 states and 52 countries and has an admission rate less than five percent this go-to guide helps prospective students see for themselves what it takes to be admitted to selective programs at colleges nationwide. Along with the 50 essay examples that give a detailed analysis of the strengths and even weaknesses of each essay, there are tips from college admission officers and successful applicants and a description of the 25 essay mistakes that guarantee failure. For highly judicious colleges, the essay is one of the most important factors in whether students are admitted or rejected, yet this resource, from a pair of award-winning authors and college application gurus, will help readers temper their fears and inspire their writing.
|Edition description:||Third Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Gen Tanabe and Kelly Tanabe are the authors of 14 books including The Ultimate Guide to America's Best Colleges, The Ultimate Scholarship Book, and How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay. They tour the country as speakers on college planning and live in Belmont, California.
Read an Excerpt
25 Essay Mistakes that Guarantee Failure
For every open slot at Stanford, there are about 15 eager applicants vying for it–and you’re one of them. On paper, most applicants appear very similar. All are well qualified academically with high grades and test scores and solid involvement in extracurricular activities.
Imagine the admissions officer who must choose which of these well-deserving applications to accept. How will he or she make the decision? Very often, the essay makes a difference. The essay is the one chance for you to share a piece of yourself that is not encapsulated in the dry numbers and scores of the application. It is your opportunity to demonstrate why you’d be a perfect fit at the college, how you’d contribute to the student body and why the college should accept you over those other 14 applicants.
The essay is also the one part of your application that you have complete control over. You can write it the night before it’s due and turn in a piece that is half-baked, or you can spend a little time on the essay and turn in one that can set you apart from the competition.
The truth is that you don’t have to be a good writer to create a successful admissions essay. Nor do you need to have survived a life changing event or won a Nobel Prize. Writing a successful admissions essay for Stanford is actually much simpler.
The secret is that any topic can be a winner but it all depends on your approach. If you spend the time to analyze your subject and can convey with words that quality of thought that is unique to you, you’ll have a powerful essay. It doesn’t have to be beautifully written or crafted as the next great American novel. At its core the essay is not a “writing test.” It’s a “thinking test.” So you do need to spend the time to make sure that your thoughts are conveyed correctly on paper. It may not be pretty writing but it has to be clear.
So how do you do this? While we can give you tips and pointers (which is what you’ll read in the analysis section following every essay) the best method is to learn by example. You need to see what a successful end product looks like. While there is no single way to produce a winning essay, as you will read, there are some traits that successful essays share. You’ll learn what these are by reading the examples in this book as well as the interviews with admissions officers. Then you can write a successful essay that is based on your own unique experiences, world view, way of thinking and personal style.
Why are admissions essays so important to getting into Stanford? At their most basic level, essays help admissions officers to understand who you are. While grades, test scores and academic performance can give the admissions officers an estimate on how prepared you are to handle the academic rigors of college, the essay offers the only way they can judge how your background, talents, experience and personal strengths come together to make you the best candidate for their school. For you, the applicant, the admissions essays offer the best opportunity to share who you are beyond the dry stats of your academic record. It’s kind of amazing actually. You start with a blank sheet of paper and through careful selection, analysis and writing, you create a picture of yourself that impresses the admissions officers and makes them want to have you attend their school.
Ultimately, this book is designed to help you create a successful essay that gets you accepted. It will guide you toward writing that essay by sharing with you the successes of others who have written to gain admission to Stanford.
If you’re like most students, you would like to know the magic formula for writing an admissions essay. Although we would love to be able to tell you, unfortunately, no such formula exists. Writing is so individual and the options so limitless, that it’s impossible to develop a combination that will work for every essay. However, this doesn’t mean that we’re going to send you off with laptop in hand, without some guidance. Throughout this book you are going to see the “right way” to do things. So we thought it would be useful to start off with a few common mistakes that other students have made. You’ll want to avoid these. In fact, some of these mistakes are so bad that they will almost guarantee that your essay will fail. So avoid these at all costs!
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: 25 Essay Mistakes that Guarantee Failure
Chapter 2: Stanford Admissions Officer Q&A
Chapter 3: Academic Passion
Chapter 4: Books/Literature
Chapter 5: Career
Chapter 6: Challenges
Chapter 7: Community Service
Chapter 8: Family
Chapter 9: Heritage and Identity
Chapter 10: Humor
Chapter 11: An Influential Person
Chapter 12: Issues
Chapter 13: Leadership
Chapter 14: Personal Growth
Chapter 15: Talent
Chapter 16: Travel
Chapter 17: Stanford Profile Questions
Chapter 18: Advice on Topics from Stanford Students
Chapter 19: Advice on Writing from Stanford Students
Chapter 20: What I Learned from Writing the Essay
About the Authors
What People are Saying About This
About Authors Gen and Kelly Tanabe
“As admission officers look for more subtle ways to make fine distinctions among so many qualified applicants, the personal statement, or college essay assumes growing importance. This book can help students gain the necessary edge that will make their applications stand out. Gen and Kelly Tanabe are nationally recognized experts in every facet of the college application process. They have written several books on the topic and blend humor, organization and specific real life examples with a highly readable style to assure your success.”
David Miller, Director of College Counseling, Stevenson School
“I would like to extend my greatest appreciation to your “Accepted” publication. I recently applied to Cornell University. I read your book from cover to back, wrote an essay about “Snorkeling in Okinawa” (which most people criticized), and got ACCEPTED to Cornell. Thank you very much for your help, and I’ll be sure to refer this book to anyone applying to college.”
“If you’re struggling with your essays, the Tanabes offer some encouragement.”
College Bound Magazine