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Editing Your College Essays

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Replies to: Editing Your College Essays

  • just_forget_mejust_forget_me 2199 replies45 threads Senior Member
    Some examples of brilliant + highly personal essays can be here: http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~gcarroll/archives/misc/essays.htm The writer, Gabriel Carroll, is 2-year IMO gold medalist and in his fourth year at Harvard.
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  • deathcabdeathcab 21 replies0 threads New Member
    my essay was quite longer than the limit set forth on the common application (i think the limit was 1000 words) and i still got into all the colleges to which i applied (except wesleyan).

    the moral of the story: no moral really....other than that you can get away with an essay thats a little too long perhaps
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  • ohio_momohio_mom 4029 replies16 threads Senior Member
    If the essay keeps the attention of the reader, I agree. The danger with a longer essay is that the reader gives up on it and stops really paying attention before the end.
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  • ThomasH32ThomasH32 700 replies31 threads Member
    College essays are always assumed it will be double-spaced. That's normal MLA formats and the like.
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  • semamomsemamom 65 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Hi ohio_mom --

    Excellent suggestions. Application essays can seem an overwhelming challenge until you break down the process into bite-sized chunks like this.

    I do have a related question (in response to comments further down the thread):

    Colleges that request the Common Application (usually in addition to a college-specific supplement) would be receiving a student's initial essay ("Personal Statement") as part of that document. If you send it online, you will be subject to the length restriction, it seems.

    I get the impression that more and more colleges prefer that you submit online (at least the Common Application). Some say so in no uncertain terms, and others waive the application fee if you submit online. So how are people managing to send in principal essays that are longer?

    And a related question regarding the college-specific supplements: Many of them including additional essay questions; some can be submitted online, and some have to be mailed. If a supplement is going to be mailed, does the student just give it to the guidance counselor to be sent in with the transcript and teacher recs? (In our school, those documents must come directly from the school; the student does not mail them).

    I guess I'm a little confused about what seems to be a very disconnected application process, with elements of the student's file coming in via different channels.

    Any thoughts/insight would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
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  • PoloniusMouthPoloniusMouth 252 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Here is the all important advice:

    make your essay funny but keep it moderately. Perhaps a pleasant exchange in which you embarrass yourself. Just don't offend anyone
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  • immajap88immajap88 163 replies21 threads Junior Member
    thanks moms! and also, don't send your essay to JUST ANYONE you meet here on college confidential. This place is full of maniacal, overachieving, Machiavellian midgets.
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  • ohio_momohio_mom 4029 replies16 threads Senior Member
    semamom,
    my son only completed one common app - and that did require a supplement that he was able to complete online. In general, completing as much of an application online as possible is better.

    Last year, I think that the the number of characters was actually counted for some components - the number of words was a guideline that typically could be exceeded. If a print preview feature is available, use that to verify that everything you think is in the application is, in fact, in the application.

    All of the on-line apps that my son submitted provided an e-mail confirmation that the form was received. For the paper bits (transcripts that come from the guidance office and letters of recommendation from teachers) - do yourself a favor and included stamped reply cards. While they don't ensure that the college will file all the transcript materials correctly (one uni lost the hs transcript), if you don't get them back in a couple of weeks or so, you will know at least something is wrong. My son's coded with TR-H (for teacher rec - initial) and so on. If you or your s/d are sending out a lot of apps, check off the cards on a spreadsheet when they are returned. Teacher's not sending rec's is a pretty common problem (they procrastinate, too!). Remember that application will not, in most cases, be reviewed until it is complete (expect for the midyear grades).
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  • ohio_momohio_mom 4029 replies16 threads Senior Member
    immajap88,
    good points. If you send essays to someone you trust, please send them early. We might be doing something fun on new year's eve this year ...
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  • ClaySoulClaySoul 2119 replies57 threads- Senior Member
    I think the danger of having a long essay is also having uneeded or tangential information and corny flowery language. But if shortening your essay will significantly compromise your story/message -- don't do it!
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  • thecmpguruthecmpguru 39 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Sometimes I wish I didn't have to write an essay. I wish that an alumni interview at Duke would be sufficient. I hate bragging.
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  • thecmpguruthecmpguru 39 replies3 threads Junior Member
    The word limit's probably just a suggestion to keep it reasonable.
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  • just_forget_mejust_forget_me 2199 replies45 threads Senior Member
    thecmpguru-First off, Duke's alumni interviews are very informal and not a major factor in their application process. Second, a good essay doesn't "brag" it reveals. Showing and not telling is a big thing here.
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  • Mano82Mano82 95 replies15 threads Junior Member
    anyone iterested in reading an essay and giving their personal opinion of it? If so pm me or post here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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