It's not hard to imagine -- well, maybe just a little -- that even back in the 1300s, picking the right title for your essay was highly important. But seriously . . . today, college consultant Allen Grove argues, having the right title at the top of your essay can go a long way in having that essay do the best job on your behalf when it lands on the admission counselor's desk.
Titles serve three purposes, Grove writes on the College Admissions page of About.com: they grab your reader's attention, they make the reader actually want to read your essay and they provide a sense of what your essay is about.
Grove warns: Be clever or play with words, but don't try to be too cute; be provocative and don't be afraid to push the limits a bit, such as "Puking on the President," "Romeo's Ripped Tights" and "The Wrong Goal"; and don't be afraid to be concise and straightforward, using direct language. "The Job I Should Have Quit" will make that counselor want to pick up your essay . . . and read it.
Five Common App prompts. Five sources of endless anxiety and stress. But better to begin tackling them now, before you face the rest of the stress of senior year, advises Susanna Cerasuolo, writing on the CollegeMapper Blog.
Stay away from falling into the trap of chichéd subjects, advises Cerasuolo, founder of College Solutions LLC. Subjects such as sports injuries, mission trips, death, divorce and eating disorders, Carasulo says, are "nearly worthless."
Instead, she urges students to delve into the time you took a risk, a time you took a stand or something that changed you.
"Be sure not to be negative, or philosophical, or whiny, or come across as an angry kid that no one would want be roommates with," she warns. "If you can show yourself being intellectual and passionate about learning in any way, that’s bonus, points because colleges are schools and schools like students who like to learn."
Advice sometimes best from someone who's "been there . . . done that!"
So is the case with Babson College junior Jeff Andrews, who recently offered advice on the college blog for rising seniors, especially about their college essays.
First off, Andrews advises, "don’t think of the college essay as some major assignment that will forever decide the rest of your life. While the college essay is definitely an important part of your application, you should have fun with it (seriously).
Further, he says, "Don’t think you need to write about what all your friends are writing about either. The college essay should really spotlight something that you’re proud of and think makes you stand out from other applicants."
Arnie Rosenberg is the founder of The Center for Essay Excellence. He writes regularly about college essays and their importance to the college-admission process. Contact him at Arnie.Rosenberg.Editor@gmail.com.
© 2014 The Center for Essay Excellence