Hoonies and Baby Teeth

Eric rewrote and revised his essay over and over and over again. He wrestled with what little events meant to him, and worked hard to get each sentence just so. This sounds exactly like Eric. He was accepted to all eight schools to which he applied and graduated from...

Common Application Essay: The Mighty Beowulf

This fun and energetic college essay shows off the student’s unique voice, perspective and experience. He tells an engaging story while giving a sense of his personality and intelligence.  “Dare you doubt me? I will send you to Valhalla for your insolence!”...

The Squirrel (Sample Common App/University of Washington essay)

Writing about a sensitive topic is a challenge. How to get the tone just right? How to avoid pity? How to leave the reader hopeful and positive, rather than sad? This writer struggled with all of these questions, and took some detours that didn’t work (and one...

When I Was Younger, I Flew (Sample Common App Essay)

The author wrote the lyrical first and last paragraphs of her essay in no time at all; she didn’t change a word. It took months of exploration and writing to craft everything that comes between. The best college essays are unique in how they talk about everyday...

University of Washington Essay: Knitting

  She smelled of vanilla and coconut and spoke in a soft and never demeaning tone. “Hello class, you can call me Grandma Pearl. We’re gonna be knitting today.” The way she smiled while introducing herself made me instantly admire her. Reaching into the plastic...
Secrets to Writing a Great College Essay

Secrets to Writing a Great College Essay

Writing college essays is very different from most of the writing you do in high school. Your audience isn’t a teacher, and you are the subject of your essay. These seven secrets will help guide you to an effective essay: Grab attention, keep attention. Your essay...