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Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps, Second Edition: Crafting a Winning Personal Statementby Alan Gelb
If you’re looking for an instruction book on how to write the college application essay, don’t worry—there are quite a few excellent ones on the market. In fact, if you have all the time in the world, I suggest you check out as many of these as you can. Chances are, they’ll all contain some useful ideas. But if you’re pressed for time—and what high school senior isn’t?—then you can feel confident that the book at hand is your fastest and surest way to produce the kind of application essay you’re after.
How is this book different from all the others out there? First of all, it has been pared down to the essentials. I’ve coached a great many students through this process and know that it doesn’t make any sense to choose the first semester of the senior year as the time to “share secrets from college admissions counselors” or “sample essays from great writers like E. B. White, George Orwell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.” This is the time when you want to focus exclusively on that which is absolutely critical, eliminate anything that feels like padding, and simply get the job done in the best possible way as fast as you can.
To that end, I’ve organized this learning process into a ten-step system. I’d like to say ten “easy” steps because “easy” is such a persuasive word, like “new,” “improved,” and “best ever.” But the truth is that some of these steps are not that “easy.” That said, none is insurmountable. If you follow this book in its logical sequence, you will arrive at your destination—a well-turned college application essay designed to linger in the minds of those who read it.
This book is different from others on this subject in that it focuses entirely on process. As I said, I will not be offering any extraneous material, like “secrets” from admissions counselors at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale. Such secrets are enticing, but ultimately do little to help your cause. What will help is to truly understand the elements of a well-constructed narrative, which is what this book will be teaching.
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