College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay

College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay

by Ethan Sawyer


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Writing an amazing college admission essay is easier than you think!

So you're a high school senior given the task of writing a 650-word personal statement for your college application. Do you tell the story of your life, or a story from your life? Do you choose a single moment? If so, which one? The options seem endless.

Lucky for you, they're not. College counselor Ethan Sawyer (aka The College Essay Guy) will show you that there are only four (really, four!) types of college admission essays. And all you have to do to figure out which type is best for you is answer two simple questions:

  1. Have you experienced significant challenges in your life?
  2. Do you know what you want to be or do in the future?

With these questions providing the building blocks for your essay, Sawyer guides you through the rest of the process, from choosing a structure to revising your essay, and answers the big questions that have probably been keeping you up at night: How do I brag in a way that doesn't sound like bragging? and How do I make my essay, like, deep?

Packed with tips, tricks, exercises, and sample essays from real students who got into their dream schools, College Essay Essentials is the only college essay guide to make this complicated process logical, simple, and (dare we say it?) a little bit fun.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492635123
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 07/01/2016
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 88,372
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Ethan Sawyer is a nationally recognized college essay expert and sought-after speaker. Each year he helps thousands of students and counselors through his online courses, workshops, articles, products, and books, and works privately with a small number of students.

Table of Contents

Why This Book ix

Questions You Might Have and Where You Can Find the Answers xi

Why I'm the Perfect Person to Guide You Through the Essay-Writing Process xii

How this Book Works xvi

Chapter 1 Brainstorming 1

← Essence Objects Exercise 1

What's Your Story? 6

← Core Values Exercise 8

How the Essence Objects and Core Values Exercises Can Help You Write Your Essay (and Your Life) 10

Chapter 2 Structure 13

Narrative vs. Montage Structure 13

Narrative vs. Montage Structure Takeaways 17

Chapter 3 The Four Types of College Essays 20

Type A "With Debate" 22

Type B "Endodontics" 24

Type C "Raising Anthony" 26

Type D "Scrapbook" 28

What Makes These Essays Great: A Brief Structural Analysis 30

Chapter 4 A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Each of the Four College Essay Types 39

How to Write Essay Type A 40

How to Write Essay Type B 59

How to Write Essay Type C 71

How to Write Essay Type D 89

Chapter 5 How to Revise Your Essay in Five Steps 102

Revising the First Draft 102

Revising Drafts 2-50 106

Chapter 6 How to Bring Your Essay to Life 107

How Do I Grab the Reader's Attention? 107

How Do I Show the Reader I'm Really Smart? 112

How Do I Brag without Seeming Like I'm Bragging? 119

How Do I Make My Essay, Like, Deep? 121

← Feelings and Needs Exercise 127

How Do I End My Essay? 137

What Do I Do if I Feel Like I'm Falling Behind? 140

Chapter 7 Advanced Techniques 142

Advanced Technique 1 Setup and Payoff 142

Advanced Technique 2 Verisimilitude 147

Advanced Technique 3 Turn Something Dark into Something Beautiful 149

Advanced Technique 4 Blow the Reader's Mind by Using The Sixth Sense Ending (a.k.a. Create an Ending That's Surprising, but Inevitable) 150

Advanced Technique 5 Make It New 160

What Makes an Essay Amazing 172

Chapter 8 How to Make Sure Your Essay Is Doing Its Job 183

← The Great College Essay Test 186

How to Bring More Values, Vulnerability, and Insight into Your Essay 187

When to Scrap What You Have and Start Over 201

How to Write Your Essay in Just One Night 202

How and When to Ask for Feedback 204

Chapter 9 A Few of My Favorite Essays 207

Analysis of a Few of My Favorite Essays 213

Chapter 10 Finally 221

Additional Resources 222

1,000+ Ways to Get Inspired Right Now 222

How to Work with a Partner 223

Accountability Agreement 224

21 Details Exercise 225

Everything I Want Colleges to Know about Me List 226

Time Line of My Life Exercise 228

List of Real Student Essays Included in This Book 231

Acknowledgments 233

Index 234

About the Author 238

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