Writing a Successful College Application Essay

Writing a Successful College Application Essay

by George Ehrenhaft Ed. D.

Paperback(Fifth Edition)

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A well-written application essay gives students a big advantage in the admission process at many of the nation's best colleges. This book guides prospective college entrants through the do's and don'ts of the essay writing process and offers them three easy steps for success.

  • Step One: Read the book’s sample essays and pay special attention to the critiques that point out their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Step Two: Pick a topic matters to you—one that opens a window to your personality, your passions, and your mind—a topic that tells colleges who you really are.
  • Step Three: Let author George Ehrenhaft guide you through the process of planning your essay, writing a rough draft, and editing it to perfection

This new edition analyzes both the increasingly popular Common Application essay topics and numerous supplementary essay topics required by many colleges. Included are several full-length sample essays from recent applicants, each with a critique that discusses its strengths or indicates missteps. This book offers crucial essay-writing instruction and advice for all college-bound students.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781438001494
Publisher: Barrons Educational Series
Publication date: 05/01/2013
Edition description: Fifth Edition
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 757,578
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

George Ehrenhaft has been writing for Barron's for over three decades. During that time he has been the author or co-author of books on the SAT, the ACT, and both the AP English Literature and AP English Language exams. Other titles relate to English grammar and essay writing, especially writing college application essays. He has also written several Barron's Book Notes titles about literature, including The Grapes of Wrath and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Ehrenhaft spent most of his career teaching English in Westchester County, New York, at Fox Lane and Mamaroneck High Schools. He is now a resident of Moraga, California, where he has become a prolific watercolor painter.

Table of Contents

Greetings from the Author viii

1 Admit? Wait List? Reject? 1

How Colleges Decide 3

Why Do Colleges Ask for an Essay? 4

2 What to Write About 7

Common Application Topics 7

Topic #1 The "Identity" Question 8

Topic #2 The "Failure" Question 14

Topic #3 The "Challenge" Question 20

Topic #4 The "Setting" Question 27

Topic #5 The "Coming-bf-Age" Question 32

Supplements to the Common Application 38

Why Go to College? Why Here? 39

Who Are You? 43

Would You Tell Us a Story About Yourself? 46

What Is Important to You? 50

What Would You Like to Tell Us About Yourself? 54

Thinking of Ideas to Write About 57

3 An Essay That Works 60

Write Honestly 62

Write About Something Important to You 64

Write a Unique Essay?the One That Only You Can Write 66

Focus on a Single Area 68

The Boasting Problem 69

Dangerous Areas: Proceed with Caution 71

The "Jock" Essay 72

Last Summer I Went to … 73

Answering the Offbeat Question 76

Answering the Ordinary Question 78

Humor in Your Essay 80

Reading Your Essay 82

4 Composing Your Essay 92

Thinking About Your Reader 94

Warming Up 94

Writing the Essay 100

Introductions: Hooking the Reader 101

The Body: Putting the Pieces Together 104

Transitions and Paragraphs: Taking Readers by the Hand 107

The Conclusion: Giving a Farewell Gift 109

5 Rewriting and Editing 114

Having Another Look 115

Finding Your "Voice" 115

Editing for Clarity 118

Plain Words 118

Exact Words 119

Clear Sentences 121

Clear Meaning 122

Harmony 124

Editing for Interest 126

Down with Verbosity! 126

Show, Don't Tell 129

Active Verbs 130

Active Sentences 133

Fresh Language and Surprises 135

Surprise with Comparisons 136

Sentence Variety 138

Short and Long Sentences 140

The Final Check 142

6 Presenting Your Essay 144

Online and Paper Applications 144

Proofreading 145

Getting Help 146

In Addition to Your Essay 148

When It's Done 150

Appendix A Essays in Progress: Drafts Ellie E Chuck D 151

Appendix B Completed Essays: Essays Paul G Peter S Betsy S 162

Appendix C Student Contributors 170

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