Posts Tagged ‘College Essay Tips’

College Essay Tips: Make the Most of Your Summer!

Sure this doesn't look so fun...BUT it will pay off!

The summer provides a good opportunity for students to get a head start on their college applications and essays. Some colleges have already begun posting applications for the 2010-2011 application season, and many more will do so as the summer goes on. Our friends at College Essay Organizer (CEO) are constantly updating their extensive database of college essay requirements, so that students can get started with their essays as soon as possible. Here’s why starting applications over the summer is the way to go:

  • The college essay is generally thought to be the most time-consuming and overwhelming aspect of college applications. Get it over with!
  • Writing an essay is a multi-step process—a really good essay is typically brainstormed, outlined, drafted, edited, proofread, and finalized. Working on it gradually over the summer gives you time to really work through all these stages. 
  • When school, homework, and after-school activities start up again, and it comes time to apply to your colleges, you’ll be WAY more carefree having already completed the most dreaded part of applications.

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Getting started on essays and applications early will make the college application season far less overwhelming.

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More importantly, the essay is a significant component of any application, giving admissions officers an opportunity to look beyond the numbers and allowing students to put a personal stamp on applications. But writing an impeccable college essay is a process that requires a lot of time, preparation, and effort. The Vocab Videos team encourages you to get ahead of the game by working on applications and essays over the summer before the hectic school season starts up again.


SAT Vocabulary: Vocab Videos Discount for Military Families

To show our appreciation for our military’s service and sacrifice, the Vocab Videos team is offering military families 25% off a Vocab Videos subscription through If applicable, create a account to get the details of this special offer (listed under the “Education” category).

Vocab Videos’ parent company, A-List Education, is also offering military families a 25%  discount on its college essay service, College Essay Organizer (CEO), which can find all of your college essay requirements in an instant. CEO’s Essay QuickFinder results will give a comprehensive list of the exact essay questions for each of your colleges, including all long and short essay questions, as well as all department-specific, program-specific, and optional questions. The CEO Essay RoadMap then instantly simplifies your entire list of essay requirements so students write only what they need to write. The RoadMap will show you how to write perhaps only two or three original essays that satisfy all of your essay needs, giving you different essay topic options for each original essay. The result is less work and more creative, compelling essays. You can also take advantage of this special offer through


College Admissions: Applications to Selective Colleges Rise as Admission Rates Fall


Let Me In!!!

The New York TimesThe Choice college admissions blog recently published statistical admissions data to some of the nation’s most selective colleges. The Vocab Videos team encourages you to check out this 2010 admissions tally that will be regularly updated.

The article gives us some insight into just how difficult it is for students to get into top colleges these days. The Choice shares that undergraduate applications to Harvard rose nearly 5% to 30,489 with only 6.9% (or 2,110 students) admitted—that’s down from 7.5% in 2009. This trend, however, doesn’t stop at the Ivy Leagues. With more and more students trying to gain admittance to college, it’s growing more difficult for students to get accepted into all colleges in this increasingly competitive college admissions atmosphere.

But there are things you can do to make yourself a more “desirable” candidate. Consider the important admissions criteria below:

  • SAT/ACT Scores: Whether we like it or not, standardized tests continue to play a significant role in students gaining admittance to college. Be sure to fully prepare for whichever college entrance exam you’re planning to take. Whether you have a tutor, are enrolled in a course, or are preparing on your own—do some test prep as often as possible. Whether it’s a few questions a day or a practice test a week, practice more than anything else, is going to help you master and feel comfortable with the exams. To get an early start on SAT and ACT prep, start up on your vocabulary; it’s something that can be easily incorporated into your daily test prep routine.
  • Get Involved: If you’ve ever seen a college application, you’ll know that somewhere it’s going to ask you for your principal extracurricular, community, volunteer and family activities and hobbies.” Here, it’s your chance to show that you’re about more than grades and SAT scores. Because you know they’re going to be asking you for it, you should be aware of the importance of getting involved—in some way. You don’t have to join every club and sports team in addition to spending your weekends volunteering, but showing commitment to a few activities is imperative. (And if you’ve never volunteered, give it a shot, we’re sure that you’re going to find it quite rewarding).
  • College Essay: The college essay is also crucial, and it’s something you can get an early start on. You’re generally given some degree of choice when it comes to essay topic (take a look at the Common App’s essay options below), so this is an opportunity for you to share something about yourself that you’d like colleges to know. The essay helps to distinguish you as an individual and proves that you’re more than a test score. Be sure to write about something you’re passionate about and take your time with the essay writing process. A thoughtful, well-written essay can make a big difference in distinguishing you as a candidate.
    • Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
    • Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.  Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
    • Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
    • A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you
    • Topic of your choice.

Getting a head start on these items is going to make the college admissions process far less stressful for you, and doing each of them well is going to improve your chance of gaining admission to your top-choice colleges.


College Essay Assistance: The Answer is College Essay Organizer

Many of you have just recently heard back about early decision college applications, which means you’re either feeling major relief or some disappointment. If you didn’t have too many backup options lined up, it may be time for you to get some regular decision college applications in order somewhat last minute. These applications may include essays. “Essays”—always the dreaded word on college applications. Let’s face it- filling out your general information and your activities does not require too much thought, unlike your essay. College essays can be the most stressful, time-consuming aspect of the whole college admissions process, and organizing and writing all of your essays is certainly a process in itself.

If you have recently been denied admission to your first choice school, and find yourself in this kind of situation, there’s a service out there that is ready and willing to help, and trust us—it’s going to make your lives a lot easier. College Essay Optimizer (“CEO”)will reduce your workload to make certain that you meet all your application deadlines. Here’s what they have to offer:

  • College Essay QuickFinder: If you’ve ever tried finding anything on a college website, you know that it tends to be more difficult than it needs to be. College Essay Optimizer allows you to find ALL of your college essay requirements in one place! When you’re operating on a tight schedule, it’s even more essential that you’re organized, so let CEO save you some time and stress.
  • College Essay RoadMap: So now you have all your college essay requirements, but CEO is ready to offer more assistance and make your life easier. Write only the essays you need to write! CEO draws up a game plan, the Essay RoadMap, that helps you complete your essays effectively and efficiently. Can I use this one college essay to apply to multiple colleges? A lot of times the answer is “yes,” so be sure to get your college essay RoadMap before you create any extra work for yourself!

Let College Essay Organizer help you ensure that you make all of your college application deadlines! Click here to check it out!

And remember, if you didn’t get accepted into your early decision college, try to keep your head up. While not getting into your top choice college is undoubtedly disappointing, it’s not the end of your world! Things tend to happen for a reason, and chances are it’s going to work out for the best.

The Starting Place for College Essays


SAT Vocabulary: College Admissions Essay Writing Tips (Part 3)

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”—Thomas Edison

So at this point, you’re well on your way to having an impeccable college essay that will blow college admissions officers away, but you also probably don’t want to look at your essay anymore, let alone read it—again. But here’s a little advice: DON’T RUSH THROUGH THE CRUCIAL FINAL STAGES!  Remember the difference between a good college essay and a great college essay is that extra time you put into the writing process, so give it 100% every step of the way.

  • College Essay Writing—PROOFREADING: There’s no room for spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in your college essay, so lets get rid of them! Also consider making appropriate changes for improving writing style and consistency. This would be the stage in which it might pay off to have someone else take a look at your college essay. You’ve probably been working on your college essay for more than a week at this point, and the words may have started to jumble together. A new set of eyes could very well pick up on something that you’ve missed.  
  • College Essay WritingPOLISHING: You’ve finished proofreading and correcting all of the silly errors in your college essay. Now, it’s time for the finishing touches. Does everything read well and flow smoothly? It should! Could you have used different language to better express yourself in this sentence? If you effectively worked your way through each stage of the college essay writing process, polishing should simply be matter of crossing your “t”s and dotting your “i”s.

And, how could I forget the best part of the college essay writing process? It’s now time for the final stage: CELEBRATING. Congratulations you’ve written a perfectly polished college essay that’s ready for submission. Go celebrate. You’ve earned it.

If you found this advice helpful and would like some more assistance with college essay writing check out Vocab Videos and College Essay Organizer (


SAT Vocabulary: College Admissions Essay Writing Tips (Part 2)


When applying to college SAT test preparation is important, but there is more to the college admissions process than standardized test preparation and SAT scores. English author, Samuel Johnson, once said, “What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.” And, in case you didn’t know—you want to please your college admissions officers!  Again, your college essay is so significant because it shares a part of your life story, allows college administrators to get to know you beyond your GPA and SAT test scores, and in a way personalizes your college application.

The core of the college essay writing process involves the drafting and editing stages. After you’ve brainstormed on a college essay topic that’s going to make you shine like the brightest college applicant star that you are, and outlined your college essay to establish its structure, you’re ready to begin writing.  And, while your college essay outline makes it easier to reach your total page count, don’t expect your freshly-written college essay to be immediately ready for submission. College essay writing, like any other form of writing, is a process. Drafting and editing, are two necessary steps that are going to help you submit your best work to colleges. Consider the advice below:

  • College Essay Writing—DRAFTING: Get your ideas down on paper in some rough form. Use your outline for structure and transform outline bullet points into complete sentences. Write as much as possible on your subject matter. This will make it easier to get rid of non-essential points and eliminate the process of scrounging for ideas just to meet the page count quota. A first draft will likely be messy and full of errors, and that’s okay.  The purpose of your draft essay is to get your main ideas and supporting points down on paper, not to compose a perfectly polished college essay.
  • College Essay Writing—EDITING: Your college essay rough draft is complete, congratulations! Now it is time to begin the editing process. “Perhaps this point would fit in better at this part of my essay,” or “Maybe this really doesn’t support my topic” might be a few of the considerations that come to mind while editing your college essay. Review every element of your essay with a critical eye. Do my ideas flow logically? Do I get across what I was aiming to convey? How are my spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation? Good editing skills and attention to detail will help you transform your rough draft into a polished college essay.

Again, the college admissions essay could be one of the most important essays you ever write. So, it is absolutely worth investing the necessary time and effort into each and every one of these writing stages.

If you found this advice helpful and would like some more assistance with college essay writing check out Vocab Videos and College Essay Organizer ( Look out for College Admissions Essay Writing Tips Part 3!


SAT Vocabulary: College Admissions Essay Writing Tips (Part 1)


When applying to college SAT test preparation is important, but there is more to the college admissions process than standardized test preparation and SAT scores. The college essay gives you the opportunity to share a part of yourself that an SAT score or high school transcript cannot reveal. Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Harvard College, William R. Fitzsimmons, recently wrote in a piece for The New York Times, “One of the great clichés of college admissions is the exhortation that students find their own voices in the essay (and interviews)—and ‘be themselves.’ It’s a cliché because it’s good advice” ( 

The early stages of college essay writing, brainstorming and outlining, are perhaps two of the most important. If your teacher assigns you a 5 page paper, when you (finish procrastinating and…) finally sit down to begin, you’ll often find that it’s difficult to start putting your thoughts to paper, or perhaps that you’ve said everything you wanted to say after just one page. A little forethought could help you avoid these frustrating situations. Taking the time to brainstorm and outline will not only help you to save time in the end, but to write a better, more organized essay. Consider the suggestions below: 

  • College Essay Writing—BRAINSTORMING: You’re generally given some degree of choice when it comes to the college essay. Whether you get to choose your own essay topic, or just the direction in which you take the college’s topic, make it your own. Brainstorm! Think about what you want to say, how you want to say it, and how you’re going to turn your thoughts into the words that will fill the number of pages the application requires. Use the choices you have to write about something that you’re passionate about, something that inspires you, or something that has contributed to making you the person that you are. If you do this, chances are you’ll have a lot more to say and you’ll be able to write with a lot more feeling because the subject has significance to you. This is your chance to show college admissions officers who you are. Really think it through for the best results.
  • College Essay Writing—OUTLINING: After you’ve brainstormed to find your subject matter and what you’d like your colleges to know about you, outlining can really help with the organization of your college essay. How will your essay be structured? What’s your thesis, or the general idea you’re trying to get across in your essay? What are the most important points of your argument or message? What are the sub-points of your topic? Remember: You may not be able to say everything you want to say because you’re often limited by length requirements, so choose the sub-topics that serve to support your position best. Outlining to create the basic framework of your essay offers invaluable assistance throughout the writing process.   

The college admissions essay could be one of the most important essays you ever write. Taking the time to write it well, to really find your voice in your subject matter, could pay off—big time.

If you found this advice helpful and would like some more assistance with college essay writing check out Vocab Videos and College Essay Organizer ( Look out for The College Admissions Essay and why it Matters, Part 2!