Yes, it is that time of year again.  Time for juniors (about to be seniors) to begin writing their Common Application Essay– “The Personal Statement.”  The Personal Statement is widely considered the 3rd most important portion of your application (behind GPA, SAT/ACT).  So what is the best way to knock it out of the park?  Two part answer:

1) Start early
2) Choose prompt #7.  Don’t consider any of the other prompts.

The first point is self explanatory, the second needs a bit of a deeper dive.

The Common Application presents seven possible prompts for the 500-word “Personal Statement.”  The first six prompts are specific, while the seventh is an essay on a “topic of your choice.”  These days, admissions at top universities across the country are becoming increasingly difficult.  So how do you stand out?  Simple: ignore the status quo.  If you pick prompts #1 to #6, you certainly can write a great essay…on a topic that roughly 10-20% of all other applicants have written.  Choosing option #7 allows a student to ignore the status quo, set them apart from the pack.

Of course, choosing option #7 and then writing a poor or average essay won’t do you any good.  Luckily, I’ve helped students for the past 7 years write elite college essays, utilizing tactics that help separate my students’ essays from hundreds, if not thousands, of others.

Interested in learning more about ignoring the status quo & highlighting your unique strengths in upcoming college applications?  Thankfully, I was invited to Vanderbilt’s Entrepreneur Center back in 2016 to give a speech on this exact topic.

The complete speech can be found here.  Disclaimer: I had a pretty big beard back then.  Second disclaimer: when I get excited about things, sometimes my language can become, well, less than perfectly professional…

Happy essay writing,

P.S. – Do you know any families with students in the exact situation described above (juniors/seniors in high school looking to begin college applications)?  If so, pass along my contact link and take the first step in helping those students as they leap into the next stage of their life…