The College Essay

See the Fact Sheet form from Ms. Sheldon
and Ms. Sheehan


See the Step by Step Guide from Ms. Sheldon and Ms. Sheehan

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The college essay is your opportunity to set yourself apart from all the students who have your same grade-point average, who have similar activities, and who have the same SAT score as you and are applying to the same college. It is your chance to let the admissions officers know who you are. Do not underestimate the value that the essay holds for you and for the college admissions officers.


Essay requirements: Find the application essay requirements for the top three colleges of your choice. For each school, write:


·       Name of the college

·       Application due date for early admission

·       Application due date for regular admission


Print out or write out the essay or essay choices for each of the three schools. Attach the questions to this packet.


For help finding a college’s web site, visit Peterson’s guide for the college bound ( Enter the name of your college in the “Search by name field.”


To find application deadlines and essay/personal statement requirements, visit the undergraduate admissions section of the college’s web site. Within that section, look for the application or information on applying. Most colleges will provide a sample or PDF of their application. The essay or personal statement section of the application is usually toward the end.


Web sites: Using the pathfinder, choose three web sites and write an abstract of each, citing the major recommendations for college essays.


Articles: Using EBSCOhost, select two articles about writing college application essays. Write an abstract of each article, citing the major recommendations for college essays.


Books: Choose one of the books listed on the pathfinder. Skim through it, noting the major recommendations. Read one example of a good college essay. Answer the following:


·       Title of book

·       Four recommendations

·       Page and title of good college essay


Summary: List 10 recommendations for writing a good college essay that you have gathered from the readings. List three things that you should never write about in your college essay.


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©2005 • North Hunterdon High School • September 1, 2005