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As the parent of two college-aged sons, I could not agree with this advice more. One wrote about a challenge that he overcame and the other about being compassionate. Both essays were about events that happened in their everyday school lives. Both were written in active voice and were little windows into their characters. Neither used the words challenge or compassionate. I am convinced that it was the strength and sincerity of their essays that opened the doors at the top schools that said “Yes” to my sons. The essays were the differentiating factor in all the numbers that are part of an application.
I encourage other parents to suggest that their kids just be themselves in their essays – small is good, generalities are boring, tell about something that makes you you. Oh, and read The Gatekeepers – – it offers the best insights into the college admissions process of any of the dozens of books I read on the topic.

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My younger brother is a high school junior, and he has Asperger’s. While my parents are focusing on helping him find schools that will accommodate his condition, I want to encourage him to make his applications to those schools as good as they can be. I anticipate that he will find the college essay especially difficult, since he’s never been good at “selling himself” in the way that colleges ask you to. Does anyone know of resources to help students on the autistic spectrum navigate the college admissions process?

How To Write Good College Admission Essay

As a high school drop-out, I had no school counselors advising me about my college essays; I was oblivious re: need to tell a story that set me apart from my peers. etc. etc. etc.I applied to only one university, a US News & World Report top 20. I got in, and graduated in May ’09. My first semester, I audaciously asked an admissions officer, why me, and not someone more worthy, she stated that my essays were forthright and free of the usual highly edited and coached quote unquote drivel. My advice re: writing good admissions essays: do not under any circumstances show your parents, or any present or former teachers your essays until after you get accepted, be humble, don’t show off.

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