If you (or your child) is a rising senior, now is a good time to get started on the dreaded college essay.
If you’re applying to a Common Application school – and there are now nearly 500 colleges and universities that use this form – you will have six college essay choices.
If it’s any consolation, schools don’t want a long essay. Before the 2011 college admission season began, the Common Application decreed that essays could not exceed 500 words.
Some students and counselors squawked, but I think the word-count ceiling is a good thing. Frankly, most teenagers don’t know how to write a compelling admission essay that’s short, much less one that is 750 or 1,000 words or more. I admit that I have no statistics to back this up, but I have read many college essay drafts and most of them have ranged from horrible to is this really the best you can do?
College Essay Topics
The six essays topics on the Common Application remain the same as last year’s. Here they are:
Schools that Use the Common App
If you’re wondering if schools on your list use the Common Application, here is a list of the organization’s members.
College Essay Advice
Need inspiration? Here are six terrific sample college essays from students who attend Connecticut College. The admission staff liked the essays so much that they posted them on the liberal arts college’s website: Essays That Work
You can find more great essays at Johns Hopkins University’s website.
….And here is great essay advice from a senior assistant dean at the University of Virginia:
Still More College Essay Advice
Here are some previous posts that I wrote about college essays:
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of the second edition of The College Solution, which was released in May. It contains more advice on college essays.