Spring is here, and now is a time when many students and families (especially Juniors in high school) are immersed in the college process. One of the integral components of college admission is essay submission. This month, TVT experts are sharing insights on writing college essays, as well as extending an invitation to our upcoming Summer College Essay Writing Workshop.
Telling Your Story
According to Ann Wilson, TVT tutor specializing in college consulting, the college essay is how an admission representative learns more about you and your unique experiences. While many applicants can look the same on paper, the essay can help you to stand out and tip the scales in your favor. College essays can actually be the deciding factor for schools to either admit or reject a student, so it is critical to put forth maximum effort in the writing process to adequately showcase your story.
Essays are important for sharing hardships. Students with academic, emotional, or circumstantial challenges have the special opportunity to share those hardships with the admissions committee through the Optional Common App Essay.
Approaching the Common App Essay
The Common App Essay is for showing who you are, while the Optional Essay provides an opportunity for additional storytelling and showcasing a student’s experiences. When TVT are tutoring students, we often remind them that essays should be primarily SHOWING and not TELLING. This means writing the essay in a narrative form and creating a memoir moment on the page that puts the reader in your shoes.
“In an admission process full of grades and test scores, the college essay gives students an opportunity to personalize their story with words,” said Kate O’Reilly of TVT. “While other candidates may have similar GPAs and ACT/SAT scores, the college essay can help a student stand out.”
“The college essay allows students to tell a piece of their story, something that may or may not be present on the rest of the application, and tell it in their own voice, giving admissions officers a stronger glimpse of the individual behind the application,” said Lynn Lach of TVT.
Finding Your Voice
When it comes to essay writing, we remind our students that essays do not have to be about something monumental, life changing, or dramatic. They just need to be true. TVT has seen some of the best essays written around ordinary topics, but with the student emphasizing how they learned a lesson through the experience or discovered something new about themselves or others.
Another component to essay writing that is important to consider is supplemental essays. These are essays students write when they want to attend a particular institution or study a specific major. For these essays, Ann encourages students to conduct ample research to understand what makes the institution unique, why the major appeals to them, and what unique opportunities they can pursue at the university.
Attending the Summer Workshop
Our TVT team is excited to announce the Summer College Essay Writing Workshop to help students cultivate their personal voices and hone their writing skills. This two-hour session will be led by our TVT tutors specializing in college essay writing and will focus on the following:
Upon completion of the workshop, students will have crafted a detailed working college essay outline. Additional one-on-one sessions will also be available for interested students.
If you wish to be included on our communication about this workshop, please contact Suzanne.Petree@thevillagetutors.org and we’ll be in touch in the coming weeks with more details.