Countdown to Early Admission: What To Do Now

October 15, 2014

This week, Carol Barash, founder and CEO of Story to College, shares with us what to do with early admissions deadlines on the horizon.

CB: You have three weeks before Early Admission deadlines. Your transcript is set. Your standardized test scores are in. Your recommendations are done. Now, your application and supplement essays are the only elements of your application still in your control. So take time to add information in your essays that does not show up in other parts of your application.

Your personal statement should be personal. Your schoolwork and out-of-school work already show up in your transcript and lists of awards and activities. Essays provide another dimension. Who will you be as a classmate? As a roommate? As the leader of a campus activity? What do you want to accomplish in college, and why? Admissions officers want to know how you see the world and what difference you have made through your actions.

To get started on your essays, brainstorm 20 separate moments when you learned a key lesson, changed in a fundamental way, or made a difference in the lives of others. These can be simple moments, like a family meal or late night conversations with friends. Narrow the list down to focus on ways you took action, not just concepts you realized or believe in. And remember: admissions officers aren’t looking for expensive trips or fancy experiences—in fact, sometimes that kind of extravagance can be a little off-putting and it doesn’t tell your story. Share personal moments that reveal who you are as a human being.

Next, tell your stories out loud into your phone or computer. If you can gather a group of friends and tell your stories to one another, even better. Telling your stories out loud unleashes your authentic voice. Storytelling builds a powerful emotional bridge between you and your audience and connects you with the admissions officers who read your applications. Practice your storytelling, pay attention to stories that surface in your everyday life and when they bubble up from memory. This is how you build a library of stories you can use throughout the admissions process!

Ready to get started? You can use our online platform, Story2, to explore moments from your real experience and transform them into solid application essays. Worried about which Common App question to answer? You can always start with Question #1.

Finally, you’re applying to only one school at a time—so make sure you know it inside and out. What departments are you interested in? What are the professors writing? Know what the college prides itself on, be it service, internships, or interdisciplinary thought. Use the college-specific supplement essays to connect with their unique offerings. Who will you become there that you cannot be anywhere else? Find the moments when you were already living the values and commitments of that college, and show how you will carry them forward as part of their community.


Carol Barash, PhD, founder and CEO of Story To College and author of Write Out Loud, has taught over 12,500 students around the world–from first-generation college students to the children of bankers and CEOs–how to tell their stories and write essays that win admission and scholarships at selective colleges.

 

Read more:




Browse Successful Application Files

ArkBuilder
Stanford ‘20


Accepted to Stanford, Wheaton, Pomona

I love languages, exercising, and eating!
ssen2019
Rice ‘19


Accepted to Rice, Rochester, Case, Emory, Hamilton, Pitt, Union, Miami

Experience applying as daughter of first generation US immigrants. Aspiring physician interested in double majoring in Acting and Cognitive Science.
tifstar1997
Cornell ‘19


Accepted to Cornell, CMU, Northwestern, JHU, UCSD, UCSB, UC Irvine

Cornell Engineering '19
vicamit
Vanderbilt ‘20


Accepted to Florida, Vanderbilt, Duke, Emory, UPenn, Miami, Northeastern, UVA, UNC, Georgetown, Rice

Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholar at Vanderbilt and art enthusiast

New Posts

Dartmouth College 2018-2019 Supplemental Essay Prompts
Dartmouth College 2018-2019 Supplemental Essay Prompts
September 17, 2018

Drafted your personal statement and ready to get started on your supplemental essays? Here are the supplemental essay prompts for Dartmouth College.Dartmouth College requires two additional pieces of writing on top of the Common...

What You Need to Know about Athletic Scholarships
What You Need to Know about Athletic Scholarships
September 14, 2018

For many families, the only way to afford a college education is for their student to receive some financial aid. An athletic scholarship is one way that can help lower the price. Here’s what...

Still Figuring Out What School to Apply To?
Still Figuring Out What School to Apply To?
September 12, 2018

The school year is already in full swing. What if you’re a senior who hasn’t yet decided on a final college list? Don’t panic. Let’s get started. If you’re a...

Freshman Year: My First Weeks at Cornell University
Freshman Year: My First Weeks at Cornell University
September 03, 2018

As many of your are settling into your first weeks at college, we thought we’d ask our College Admits how their first weeks at college were. Here’s a reflection from JerBear, a Cornell...

Load More Posts