College Applications and the Essay

Written By College Prep Academy Staff

Now is the time most high school juniors begin their college planning process.   As the March and April tests bear down upon us, everyone at home or at school seems to be debating whether to take the ACT or the SAT (or both).  Some juniors are heavily immersed in discussions with family about the college planning process and others are waiting for college night with the school counselor and/or the upcoming Latino College Fair and the NCAC College Fairs at the NYC Convention Center.   It is evident however, that the journey has begun when each day more mail and marketing brochures arrive from colleges near and far.

Although resources are abundant, there are far too many for students and their families to research without becoming overwhelmed.  The application process is generally linked to writing the college essay.  There are many great apps and tools available to assist students in writing the essay. In our experience at the College Prep Academy, many students have found that using the Common Application saves time, stress and helps to streamline the process.

To help reduce stress for both parents and students, The Common Application’s website, www.commonapp.org, has provided answers to frequent questions and easy-to-read tips for success.

  • https://www.commonapp.org/how-prepare: For families unsure of where to begin, or how, the Common App provides a four-year timeline that highlights important actions needed and their deadlines that are crucial when applying for college.

  • https://www.commonapp.org/virtual-counselor: In the age of technology, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter continue to reign supreme. As such, counselors have decided to utilize social media to help answer burning questions and clear up confusion via the hashtag #AskVirtualCounselor

Essay Writing:

Below are some of the articles and websites we have found helpful in essay writing.

Writing the essay can be one of the biggest challenges in the application process. Learn how these students approached their college essays.

Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

Trying to write a college application essay and running into writer’s block? These tips will help you take on the essay with confidence.

3 Ways to Approach Common College Essay Questions

College applications usually contain one of three types of essay questions. Find out what they are and learn the best strategies for answering them.

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Sample College Application Essay 1

Read this example of a college application essay. Analyze how it could be improved, and then compare your suggestions with ours.

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Sample College Application Essay 2

Read and evaluate this sample essay. Analyze its subject, tone and structure as well as the writer’s style. Then read a point-by-point critique from an expert.

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RELATED APPS for ESSAY WRITING (Source: https://collegeinfogeek.com/writing-apps-and-websites/)

  • Coggle – a free mind-mapping tool that can help you organize ideas.

  • Storyline Creator – a mapping tool that’s built around individual characters and the flow of events in a story.

  • Evernote – my second brain. Pretty much everything I write starts out as a note here. Here’s another article I wrote with additional Evernote tips.

  • Scrivener – a full-fledged application for writing a novel. This is what I finished writing 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades with.

  • Novlr – a new alternative to Scrivener. It seems like it has a nicer design, but fewer features. I found some recommendations for it on the NaNoWriMo forums.

  • Byword – a minimalist Markdown editor for OS X. You don’t need to know Markdown to use it… but Markdown is really easy to learn.

  • Twinword Writer – a tool with a built-in thesaurus that suggests alternative words when you pause in your writing.

  • Write or Die – an app that will punish you if you don’t keep writing. Punishments can range from annoying noises to “Kamikaze Mode”, which starts erasing your writing!

  • Written? Kitten! – A more positive take on the Write or Die concept; instead of punishing you, it rewards you with pictures of kittens every 100 words.

  • 750words – the name describes it pretty well; this is a site that can help you build a daily writing habit. It’s got pretty cool stat-tracking as well.

  • Daily Page – a site that gives you a different writing prompt (e.g. Write about your favorite leader) every day.

  • Mendeley – I’m not a grad student, but I’d use this if I was. It’s a free tool that can help you manage research documents and PDFs.

  • editMinion – a tool that can analyze your writing and pick out weak and over-used words. It can also tell you if your sentences are too short or long.

  • Coffitivity – plays coffee shop noises to give you a nice working atmosphere – a good alternative to white noise generators.

  • Brain.fm – a web app that uses AI to generate music that’s supposed to help you increase your focus and attention. The site even has research to back up their claims. I’ve tested it a few times, and while I’m not sure if the music is truly working or just providing a placebo effect yet, I will way that it’s pretty darn good music for working.

 

OTHER USEFUL WEBSITES:

Source: http://tech.co/best-writing-apps-2-2014-07 includes other lists as well.

Admission Essays: An online service for students who need to write good essays and application letters. It provides dozens of free essays to use as samples for students’ work. Here, everyone can learn how to write good papers and compose great application letters.

Dictionary.com: This resource provides more useful information for students than just definitions. A thesaurus, citation formats, many links to useful tools, a style guide, and formats for punctuation, capitalization, and abbreviations – you can find it all here.

Encyclopedia.com: A perfect place for research, where students will find links to many reference books and such well-known and authoritative encyclopedias as the Columbia Encyclopedia and Britannica. More than 100 dictionaries are available here to search for different information related to college writing.

Bid4papers.com/college-paper.html: A resource for students who want to get more experience in college paper writing, learn how to do it properly, and understand all the nuances of academic writing. This resource provides high-quality services together with a very good theoretical base for young people to start writing their essays professionally.

Find Tutorials: A website where students will find a big collection of academic tutorials to help them deal with academic writing. All tutorials are reviewed on their quality, and you can easily see which of them are worth the attention.

TED: Studying in college is impossible to imagine without this online resource, which collects video talks from experts in different fields. You can watch videos on relevant topics, read articles written by professionals, and organize events.

HippoCampus: A good resource for students who are not sure they’ve understood all the material properly. Here you can find lectures and a lot of other information on psychology, algebra, economics, biology, sociology, and many other topics.