I applied to and was accepted at Princeton, MIT (twice), Stanford (twice), Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, and Carnegie Mellon (I chose MIT for both undergraduate and graduate studies). Yes, I had good grades but so did many, many others who did not get into these colleges. The difference was how I presented my story in my essays.
Now an Ed-Tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, California, I regularly coach high school students on how to tell their stories in an authentic and compelling way. I wrote this book to help you tell your story.
Why you should read this book
Over 3 million students will apply to colleges alongside you. The Ivy League Schools alone will review nearly 200,000 applications. Your essay will get 3 minutes.
This book will show you how to write a much better essay than you can today. You should read this book if you are:
- A high school junior or senior applying soon to colleges.
- A college junior or senior applying to grad school
- A student applying for scholarships and fellowships
- Someone wishing to write un-cringeworthy prose
This book will:
- tell you step-by-step how to construct your story and write and refine your personal statement.
- pick apart real essays to show you exact do’s and don'ts. Among the many samples, you will find instances similar to your own style. Reading their critiques will be like having your writing analyzed and improved by a college coach.
- show you several before-and-after’s, NOT just the after’s. It takes you from raw first drafts (good ones and bad ones), through analysis of the writings, to final, polished essays.
Praise for this Book:
“Strong essays may not transform modest achievements into winning applications but weak essays can hide what makes your accomplishments distinctive. Umair will not let you write a weak essay.” - Jeff Brenzel, former Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Yale
“A wildly engaging, honest, and irreverent book. You will die to share its insights with friends and family....This book offers a concrete action plan for college essay writing, and frankly, for life. We should all read it.” - Dr. Clare Talwalker, Faculty, U.C. Berkeley
“A warm, easy-to-read, and practical guide to a most important part of college application, the personal essay. Khan’s book is a “must-read” for anyone applying to college.” - Dr. Charles Browne, Professor of Applied Linguistics Meiji Gakuin University, Japan
“This essential guide to the application essay writing process can change your essay from weakest link to deciding factor in your favour!” - Thomas Hayton, Former Director, Macmillan Education; former Application Coach, The Princeton Review and Kaplan
“Fun AND instructive! Applicants will find the before and after versions of real college essays especially helpful.” - Radhika Nagpal, Professor, Harvard University
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About the Author
Table of Contents
1. Prologue: Who, How, Why
2. The Three Things Colleges Really Want
3. The Only Thing That Matters
4. A Seven-Step Program
5. Step 1: Study the Prompts
6. Step 2: The Facts of Your Life
7. Step 3: So What’s Your Story?
8. Step 4: A Horrible First Draft
9. Step 5: Another First Draft
10. Step 6: The Hook(s)
11. Step 7: Revision and the Seven Stylistic Sins
12. What Got Me into MIT
13. Essay: The Activist Who Spoke Too Much
14. Essay: The Dentist Who Hated Bugs Bunny
15. Essay: The Student and the Social Contract
16. Essay: The Economist Who Forgot Word Economy
17. Essay: The Animal Lover with Attention Deficit
18. Essay: The Day Creativity Died
19. Essay: The Student Who Forgot the Prompt
20. Essay: The Bookworm Who Ate SAT Word Lists
21. Essay: The Boy Who Ignored Word Limits
22. Essay: We are All Chocolates
23. Essay: The Romantic Aeronautical Engineer
24. Essay: Warning – Turbulence Ahead
25. ‘Why Our College’ & Other Supplemental Essays
26. A Word on Cheating: Don’t
27. Theorem: Applying to College is Stress-free
28. The Greatest Finish Ever
Preview: College Application Hacked – Part 2
About the Author