Application Essays

649 WordsApr 17, 20123 Pages
Crafting an Application Essay That ‘Pops’ By REBECCA R. RUIZ The Choice at Nacac The Choice takes readers backstage as nearly 5,000 admissions officers and counselors gather in New Orleans. * Applying to College in the United Kingdom * In Praise of the Teenage Brain * College Counselors Convene in the Big Easy * All Nacac Posts Stanford University’s application for admission includes a prompt directing students to write a letter to their future freshman roommates. The exercise is a good one for all applicants – regardless of their interest in Stanford – as a fun, fresh jumping-off point in the essay writing process, Rebecca Joseph, a professor of education at California State University, said on Friday. “It’s all about loosening up,” said Ms. Joseph, who was on a panel called “Communicating Stories: Strategies to Help Students Write Powerful College Essays,” part of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors conference in New Orleans. She quoted various students’ “Dear Roommate” pieces: “If you want to borrow my music, just ask. If you want to borrow my underwear, just take them.” “I eat ice cream with a fork, and I drink orange juice right after I brush my teeth just for the sour taste.” “If you have anything other than a Dodgers poster on the wall, I will tear it down.” “Using ‘I’ is scary,” Ms. Joseph said, but students must get comfortable with their first-person voice on paper in order to craft successful, resonant essays. Erica Sanders, an admissions officer at the University of Michigan, stressed that writing style – something students may obsess over – is less important than “psychedelic” three-dimensionality and shows of authentic personality. “We can fix that a student’s a comma fiend, that they don’t have verb-tense structure,” she said. Other practical advice included: * Make a chart. An applicant’s first

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