Now is the time most high school juniors begin their college planning process. As the March and April tests bear down upon us, everyone at home or at school seems to be debating whether to take the ACT or the SAT (or both). Some juniors are heavily immersed in discussions with family about the college planning process and others are waiting for college night with the school counselor and/or the upcoming Latino College Fair and the NCAC College Fairs at the NYC Convention Center. It is evident however, that the journey has begun when each day more mail and marketing brochures arrive from colleges near and far.
Although resources are abundant, there are far too many for students and their families to research without becoming overwhelmed. The application process is generally linked to writing the college essay. There are many great apps and tools available to assist students in writing the essay. In our experience at the College Prep Academy, many students have found that using the Common Application saves time, stress and helps to streamline the process.
To help reduce stress for both parents and students, The Common Application’s website, www.commonapp.org, has provided answers to frequent questions and easy-to-read tips for success.
https://www.commonapp.org/how-prepare: For families unsure of where to begin, or how, the Common App provides a four-year timeline that highlights important actions needed and their deadlines that are crucial when applying for college.
https://www.commonapp.org/virtual-counselor: In the age of technology, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter continue to reign supreme. As such, counselors have decided to utilize social media to help answer burning questions and clear up confusion via the hashtag #AskVirtualCounselor
Below are some of the articles and websites we have found helpful in essay writing.
Writing the essay can be one of the biggest challenges in the application process. Learn how these students approached their college essays.
Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay
Trying to write a college application essay and running into writer’s block? These tips will help you take on the essay with confidence.
3 Ways to Approach Common College Essay Questions
College applications usually contain one of three types of essay questions. Find out what they are and learn the best strategies for answering them.
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Sample College Application Essay 1
Read this example of a college application essay. Analyze how it could be improved, and then compare your suggestions with ours.
Sample College Application Essay 2
Read and evaluate this sample essay. Analyze its subject, tone and structure as well as the writer’s style. Then read a point-by-point critique from an expert.
RELATED APPS for ESSAY WRITING (Source: https://collegeinfogeek.com/writing-apps-and-websites/)
Coggle – a free mind-mapping tool that can help you organize ideas.
Storyline Creator – a mapping tool that’s built around individual characters and the flow of events in a story.
Evernote – my second brain. Pretty much everything I write starts out as a note here. Here’s another article I wrote with additional Evernote tips.
Scrivener – a full-fledged application for writing a novel. This is what I finished writing 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades with.
Novlr – a new alternative to Scrivener. It seems like it has a nicer design, but fewer features. I found some recommendations for it on the NaNoWriMo forums.
Byword – a minimalist Markdown editor for OS X. You don’t need to know Markdown to use it… but Markdown is really easy to learn.
Twinword Writer – a tool with a built-in thesaurus that suggests alternative words when you pause in your writing.
Write or Die – an app that will punish you if you don’t keep writing. Punishments can range from annoying noises to “Kamikaze Mode”, which starts erasing your writing!
Written? Kitten! – A more positive take on the Write or Die concept; instead of punishing you, it rewards you with pictures of kittens every 100 words.
750words – the name describes it pretty well; this is a site that can help you build a daily writing habit. It’s got pretty cool stat-tracking as well.
Daily Page – a site that gives you a different writing prompt (e.g. Write about your favorite leader) every day.
Mendeley – I’m not a grad student, but I’d use this if I was. It’s a free tool that can help you manage research documents and PDFs.
editMinion – a tool that can analyze your writing and pick out weak and over-used words. It can also tell you if your sentences are too short or long.
Coffitivity – plays coffee shop noises to give you a nice working atmosphere – a good alternative to white noise generators.
Brain.fm – a web app that uses AI to generate music that’s supposed to help you increase your focus and attention. The site even has research to back up their claims. I’ve tested it a few times, and while I’m not sure if the music is truly working or just providing a placebo effect yet, I will way that it’s pretty darn good music for working.
OTHER USEFUL WEBSITES:
Source: http://tech.co/best-writing-apps-2-2014-07 includes other lists as well.
Admission Essays: An online service for students who need to write good essays and application letters. It provides dozens of free essays to use as samples for students’ work. Here, everyone can learn how to write good papers and compose great application letters.
Dictionary.com: This resource provides more useful information for students than just definitions. A thesaurus, citation formats, many links to useful tools, a style guide, and formats for punctuation, capitalization, and abbreviations – you can find it all here.
Encyclopedia.com: A perfect place for research, where students will find links to many reference books and such well-known and authoritative encyclopedias as the Columbia Encyclopedia and Britannica. More than 100 dictionaries are available here to search for different information related to college writing.
Bid4papers.com/college-paper.html: A resource for students who want to get more experience in college paper writing, learn how to do it properly, and understand all the nuances of academic writing. This resource provides high-quality services together with a very good theoretical base for young people to start writing their essays professionally.
Find Tutorials: A website where students will find a big collection of academic tutorials to help them deal with academic writing. All tutorials are reviewed on their quality, and you can easily see which of them are worth the attention.
TED: Studying in college is impossible to imagine without this online resource, which collects video talks from experts in different fields. You can watch videos on relevant topics, read articles written by professionals, and organize events.
HippoCampus: A good resource for students who are not sure they’ve understood all the material properly. Here you can find lectures and a lot of other information on psychology, algebra, economics, biology, sociology, and many other topics.
Always dreamed of studying in the Big Apple at New York University? You better be able to put those dreams in words and explain why NYU is the choice for you.
New York University’s application asks students interested in studying at their university for an additional writing supplement. Specifically, the prompt questions why applicants wish to pursue their study at NYU. Here’s the exact prompt:
We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. We are particularly interested in knowing what motivated you to apply to NYU and more specifically, why you have applied or expressed interest in a particular campus, school, college, program, and/or area of study? If you have applied to more than one, please tell us why you are interested in each of the campuses, schools, colleges, or programs to which you have applied. You may be focused or undecided, or simply open to the options within NYU’s global network; regardless, we want to understand - Why NYU? (400 word maximum)
Don’t be intimidated by the essay prompt. The essay prompt is long with a lot of details and questions, and you only have 400 words to address all those points. Breathe. The essay prompt provides you with these questions and details to help you brainstorm your answer. Many of them overlap and will help you get to the core of why NYU is the best place for you to pursue your interests and studies.
Let’s break them down.
- NYU Campus: New York University offers 3 degree-granting campuses around the world. Applicants can choose to apply specifically to one of them, or rank them by preference. The 3 locations are in New York, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.
If there is a specific campus you’re applying to, why? What made you decide to choose one over the other two locations? If you prioritized one over the others, what was the motivation behind that?
- NYU School or College: On the New York campus, NYU houses 10 schools and colleges, giving prospective students a broad range undergraduate studies they can focus on. Even if you’re undecided on what major you’d like to study, you must choose a specific school or college to apply to. Here are the options:
- College of Arts and Sciences
- Gallatin School of Individualized Study
- Liberal Studies Core Program
- Meyers College of Nursing
- School of Professional Studies
- Silver School of Social Work
- Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development
- Stern School of Business
- Tandon School of Engineering
- Tisch School of Arts
Choosing which school you want to apply to is akin to choosing which field of study you want to pursue. What experiences do you have that led you to choose your specific school? Why are you interested in your chosen field of study?
- Focused or Undecided: Are you applying with a specific major or a specific field of study? Or are you undecided? You can choose to expand further on why your interests in a major by linking in your extracurriculars and academics.
- NYU’s Global Network: If you are undecided and unsure what you want to study, why is NYU the place to go to help you discover your interests? This will give you the opportunity to dive into what you know about NYU’s student body and campus culture. And, how that aligns with the environment you want to be in.
So, how do you tie all these points together in 400 words? Find a focus. Look at the rest of your application, and think what else are you missing from your application that you really want to emphasize. If you’ve already talked about your interest in your chosen major for your personal statement, then maybe there’s something else you want to share. Whatever that focus is you want to highlight, how does it link to NYU? That’s the connection you want to show in this supplemental essay. Here are some examples:
1. Essay Example 1: Studying Sociology at NYU
Nyudotedu, New York University ‘19
“I can think of no better place to study such phenomena than in New York City and at NYU. There are good reasons why the Sociology program at NYU was ranked one of the best by sociology.com. Not only does NYU offer a solid academic foundation, it also provides a place to conduct fieldwork that not many schools can match - namely, New York City. The department also invites speakers that cover diverse topics to show how sociology is applied to different fields of study. I think the seminars offered at NYU will help me see sociology from many different perspectives. Among the seminars offered at NYU last year, I would have definitely attended “Should We Worry about inequality?” and “Cultural Durability and Social Change.” If given the chance to attend NYU, I would take advantage of such seminars and workshops to add to my classroom knowledge.”
NYU essay excerpt 1 breakdown:
In this excerpt of nyudotedu’s NYU supplemental essay, you can see how she demonstrates her interest in sociology, her knowledge of NYU’s sociology curriculum, and her intellectual curiosity. Her focus here is to further explain her chosen major and why she wants to study computer science at NYU. She not only points to NYU”s curriculum for why she wants to study sociology at NYU, but also to the school’s location—New York City. She makes it clear that there is value for her to be in both NYU and NYC to pursue her studies.
Additionally, she gives specific examples of the type of seminars she’d join, thereby showing her continued interest outside of the classroom and knowledge of what NYU offers. She doesn’t go into detail about the courses, because she doesn’t have to. The admissions officers may know and can find out what those courses entail, and judging by the course titles, it’s another subtle opportunity for them to know she is as a student and person.
Unlock nyudotedu’s NYU profile to read her full application essays and advice!
2. Essay Example 2: Diversity at NYU
Ngozirebecca, New York University ‘19
“I’ve been in love with you for quite some time now. As a young girl, I would admire you from afar, merely a schoolgirl’s crush, staring open-mouthed at your tall, glittering building and vibrant violet banners. As I grew older, my puppy love grew to look past the superficial and I fell hard. I saw the diversity of your student body, a melting pot of talent and intellect, and the care with which you taught them. When I saw you offered cross-school minors, I realized how dedicated you were to comprehensive education, and when I learned the sheer number of student groups available for participation, I realized that you embraced every one of your student’s passions, no one was a “freak,” no one was alone. As I approach graduation and prepare to head out into the world on my own, I finally understand: We fit on another.”
NYU essay excerpt 2 breakdown:
In this excerpt of Ngozirebecca’s “Why NYU” essay, she points out the reasons why NYU is a good fit for her, whilst being completely transparent with her growth and thought process. She demonstrates a sense of maturity in her essay, as she explains how her love and perspective of NYU has changed as she grew up. She’s able to show off her creative writing style, and share what NYU’s academics and student body can offer her. And, most importantly, what she can offer in return.
Unlock Ngozirebecca’s NYU profile to read her full application essays and advice!
3. Essay Example 3: “NYU is creative and determined”
ShaneNYUStern, New York University ‘19
““Are you going to eat all that?” asked another swimmer in the dining hall. “Yup, one bite at a time,” I told him. That’s how I approach things: consistently with determination and creativity. I have been swimming competitively since I was nine. For the past three years, I wake up at 3:50am and swim nine times a week. I am consistent. I am determined and fierce competitor. This past year, I found an outlet for my creativity. I competed as a member of Virginia DECA and won a state award, advancing to the international level and placing in the top 4-percent. NYU is creative and determined. It consistently produces alumni who are amount the best in their field. I hope someday to be one of them.”
NYU essay excerpt 3 breakdown:
ShaneNYUStern to share more about himself and his characteristics in his supplemental essay. In this essay excerpt, he highlights his extracurricular achievements, varsity swimmer and DECA winner, what he learned from them, and how that ties in to his interest in studying at NYU.
Unlock ShaneNYUStern’s NYU profile to read his full application essays and advice!
Hope this was helpful for those of you finishing your NYU applications! Interested in reading these students’ full personal statements in addition to their full responses to the Why NYU supplemental prompt? Unlock all of them in one go with our Why NYU Package!
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About The Author
Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.