The authors of the bestselling Cash for College TM show students how to win at one of the most intimidating tasks of the college scholarship and admissions process: writing the essay. From basic rules of good writing to actual questions admissions committees ask and featuring more than 100 dramatic "essay makeovers" showing how a weak essay can be pulled into exceptional shapeit's all here.
More than grades, application essays showcase a student's uniqueness. A great essay can make your college and scholarship dreams come true. The McKees have field-tested their techniques with thousands of students through their workshops and powerful, intensive, five-day "Scholarship Boot Camp."
The McKees reveal what admissions and scholarship committees look for in an essay and how to make yours stand out. A personal questionnaire helps students highlight their strengths. Additional chapters offer advice on organizing your thoughts, topics to avoid, essential rules of grammar, and how to edit your completed essay.
When it comes to getting into college or getting cash for college, you only have one chance to get it right. Let Cash for College's TM Write It Right help you do exactly that.
About the Author
After locating more than $340,000 in college scholarship money for their son, Cynthia and Phillip McKee were flooded with requests for help from parents and students. So in 1989 they founded College Resource Materials, a family-owned and -operated company. Through their popular workshops and products, the McKees have helped thousands of students of all ages find the financial resources to attain the education of their dreams.
After locating more than $340,000 in college scholarship money for their son, Cynthia and Phillip McKee were flooded with requests for help from parents and students. So in 1989 they founded College Resource Materials, a family-owned and operated company. Through their popular workshops and products, the McKees have helped thousands of students of all ages find the financial resources to attain the education of their dreams.
Read an Excerpt
Getting Ready To Write
Where does a person start when getting ready to write? Many people think they must be inspired to write. Professional writers will tell you that “getting inspired” is baloney. If you make your living by writing, the most important ways to get ready to write are sitting your rear in a chair and putting pencil to paper'or, with the new technology, putting fingers to a keyboard.
Once you've done all those little things you “must do” before starting, such as sharpening all your pencils, turning on the radio or turning off the radio, and so on, you can do one of two things. You can just jump in with both feet (figuratively speaking) and start writing, or you can answer four basic questions.Four Questions To Ask Yourself
- Who's going to read what you've written?
- What are you writing?
- When and where are you writing it?
- Why are you writing this assignment?
Who's going to read what you've written? Are you writing to your parents, in your diary, to a professor, or to a scholarship committee? This question is closely related to what and why you're writing. You must consider the expectations, level of interest, and level of understanding of the person or persons who will read what you're writing. If you're just writing to your parents about the great time you're having at camp, you primarily have to assure them that their money was well spent in sending you to camp. On the other hand, if you are trying to convince the members of a scholarship committee that they should invest scholarship money in you, you might write a completely different type ofessay.
If you're writing an essay for a scholarship sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the essay will be vastly different from a scholarship essay you might write for the local Optimist Club. One organization is run by a group of women dedicated to preserving history. The other organization is made up of upwardly mobile, businessmen. What you emphasize in each essay therefore will be quite different.
What are you writing? The assignments in this book are designed to help you write an essay that could get you free cash for college or may enable you to get into the college of your choice. Of course, there are many types of essays. An opinion essay will be different from an essay written for a scholarship committee.
When and where are you writing this essay? Are you at home, preparing to write an essay that will determine whether you'll be able to attend college in the fall? Are you in a classroom, writing an essay for a portion of a standardized test? Will you be meeting the people on the committee who will be evaluating your essay? Do you know if they do their reading and evaluating individually or as a group? You must consider the situation in which your essay will be read.
Why are you writing this assignment? In this book, most of your assignments will be to write essays concerning your goals: educational, professional, short-term, or long-term. Knowing why you're writing establishes the relationship between you, the writer, and the reader or committee member. Are you writing a letter to your parents from camp? Or are you writing a letter to your parents to defend your decision to change majors or even schools? Your letter about camp will be informal, maybe even funny, while a letter telling your parents you've decided to transfer to another college would be much more serious. An essay written for an English class will be vastly different from a letter to the editor at a newspaper.
You must keep those four questions in mind when you are writing any type of paper or essay. Maintaining a constant awareness of who, what, when, where, and why will make your writing more effective. You don't want to shift your topic (start with one topic and then go off on a different tangent), change your natural tone (for example, trying to impress people by using highly technical terms), or introduce a conflict between tone and topic (for example, writing about how the death of a friend affected your perspective on life, but ending the essay with a joke). If your essay has any of these problems, your reader will question the reasoning behind your presentation.
Once you've answered these four questions, you can proceed to the next phase of your assessment. Will the assignment require any research? If you're writing a paper on the economic impact of the Civil War on the South, you'll need to do some research. If you're writing an essay on what you expect to get out of a college education, you must do some personal reflection, but you don't necessarily have to do much research.
Completing the Personal Questionnaire in Chapter Four will help you get an idea of some issues you might want to discuss in a personal essay.
If you're writing anything longer than one paragraph, you must get your thoughts in order. If you're taking the writing portion of a standardized test, such as the SAT II or Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP), your essay needs to be at least three to four paragraphs long. The test grader will be assessing whether you can put your thoughts in logical order. A well-constructed essay must consist of more than one paragraph, because you will be discussing more than just one thought or idea on a topic.
Each paragraph should develop one idea or central point. The first paragraph should start with a topic sentence, which you should be able to derive from the assigned topic or essay question. Each sentence in the paragraph should build upon the one before to support the main point of the paragraph. Think of the paragraph as a jigsaw puzzle and of the sentences as puzzle pieces that fit together to present the complete picture of your topic. If you find that you have two main points or ideas in a paragraph, you need to rework or edit that paragraph into two paragraphs or remove the second point.