College Essay Essentials Review

College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay by Ethan Sawyer

It’s that time of year when seniors start to look at the mountain of homework Grade 12 provides and the mountain of essays that College Applications require, and they lose their minds.

I receive hundreds of essays that don’t answer the question, don’t reflect the writer, and are just approximations of what students think the colleges want to hear. For years, I have spent countless hours with students trying to mine their lives for the story that will help them stand out during the application process.

Last year I purchased Mr. Sawyer’s online program which was good, but his book is excellent. Rather than just presenting readers with a pile of essays that got other students into the “universities of their dreams,” Sawyer takes students step-by-step through the process of developing ideas, organizing information and writing a compelling and effective essay.

This guide is a bit of a “choose your own adventure” which allows for students to write multiple essays while finding their voice and story. Students can place themselves into 1 of 4 categories and each category has a slightly different approach to the essay. This system can be reused with a different category creating a different essay which can be useful for students who are applying to multiple schools with differing requirements.  He also includes good advice on approaching the “why this school?” topic.

Sawyer’s clear and direct approach, step-by step instructions and excellent advice on pitfalls to avoid provide real guidance for students struggling with this important piece of the College Application.

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