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Can’t think of a good topic?

14 Oct

NYU tried an experiment in 2009, when applicants to the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service were allowed the option of reacting to this photograph — or any one of a number of others  — as an essay question.

As an applicant, you might not want to touch this image with a 10-foot dandelion. But if you’re stuck on a subject to write about for your common app essay, try staring at this picture  for a few minutes. What do you see? What does it remind you of? Riff on those memories.  Make some stream-of-consciousness notes. Continue reading

What is a college looking for? Part 2

9 Oct

Exercise 1. Day 2. Reading for a College’s Values

These are examples of successful admissions essays that Johns Hopkins shows on its website.

Mark where each of these three essays reflects the values that you described in your one-sentence summary of the pop-out quotes that we studied in Day 1 of  this exercise. Continue reading

What is a college looking for? Part 1

29 Sep

This 10-minute workout helps you figure out what a college values in its applicants.

You’ll find this knowledge very helpful to composing a great essay.

Later we’ll figure out how to use it in your writing. Continue reading