One of the most stressful aspects of the college application process is the essay. Most students worry about what an admissions officer looks for in a writing sample. But that’s the wrong way to approach this vital component, says former college admissions officer Harry Bauld. At Brown and Columbia, he saw what prospective students often did wrong—and now tells you how to do it right.
On Writing the College Application Essay is his inside guide to writing a college application essay that will stand out from the pack. Baum advises you on how to avoid platitudes and find your authentic voice, gives you tools and ideas that will spark your imagination, and shows you how to approach themes with originality and panache to make even the most tired topics—the ones most students should stay away from—fresh, such as:
- The trip (“I had to adjust to a whole new way of life.”)
- My favorite things (puppy dogs, freedom, and chocolate chip cookies)
- The pageant contestant (“I think World Peace is the most important issue facing us today.”)
- The jock (“Through wrestling I have learned to set goals and to work with people.”)
- The autobiography (“Hello, my name is . . . ”)
- Tales of my success (“But, finally, when I crossed the finish line . . . ”)
- Pet death (“As I watched Buttons’s life ebb away, I came to value . . . ”)
Getting into the college of your dreams is tough. The competition is fierce. For more than twenty-five years, On Writing the College Application Essay has helped thousands of students improve their chances. Now, let it work for you.
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About the Author
Harry Bauld has been a writer, teacher, and speaker for thirty years. He has worked in admissions and college counseling at high schools and universities, including Brown and Columbia, and is currently an English teacher at Horace Mann School in New York.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition xi
1 The Gray Area 3
2 Know Your Audience 17
3 Danger: Sleepy Prose Ahead (or, The Sandman Cometh) 33
4 Chilling Out (or, Everything I Say You Can t Do, You Can Do) 41
5 Warming Up 49
6 Coming Alive 63
7 Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite! 75
8 Tinkering 87
9 Evolution of an Essay 103
10 A Not-Brief-Enough Rant About Supplements (or, Will Someone Please Scrap the Common App?) 115
11 Exhibits: The Quick and the Dull 125
12 Anthology 145
13 Exhibits II 157
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The first thing I would tell someone about this book is that it is funny. That is great because the application process itself is so humorless. As a professional who works with teenagers and a parent of a college applicant, I am well aware of the usual advice. There is fresh information here and more detail than any college counselor could have the time to provide. He also speaks from authority and can give an insiders perspective. It is also just short enough that an average impatient college applicant will read it.