It’s 1 a.m. Five drafts later, and my college admission essay still doesn’t sound like me. I rub my eyes and try to think of something, anything I can Google for help. It’s all expensive admissions counselors who look great, but whose rates I couldn’t realistically reach for. I already read three blog posts about “The Do’s and Don’ts of the 2015 Common App.” Early Decision is a month away, but it might as well be tomorrow. This just isn’t working.
You know these students. You may be one of these students.
Now imagine a better world. The student finds a site: Story2.com. “It’s all about you,” states the site. “How would you describe yourself?” This feels different.
The student surveys the options. Loyal. Ambitious. Skilled. Creative. Responsible. “‘Responsible,’ that sounds like me.”
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In the next screen, three images show up. She’s prompted to consider each. In what way is she responsible? To others? To herself? She selects the picture of service. These choices have been designed to help her focus on a “moment,” the centerpiece of Story To College’s Moment’s Method(R)—a college essay process used by over 12,000 students to write essays that win admission and scholarships to selective colleges.
On the next screen, it starts to come together. She describes a moment when she acted responsibly. The site offers a couple of suggestions for topics as well as some interesting questions. And forget about pens and keyboards. She records a story into her computer, laughing a little, but getting surprisingly into her story about the time she convinced her grandmother to start recycling. Now, this time, it sounds like her.
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From there, it’s a breakthrough. She transcribes the story she told, and plays with the structure. Where does she want to begin? She decides on describing the garbage in her grandmother’s house—how she noticed all the newspapers. From there she creates a whole world that will draw admissions committees in and tell them who she is.
[Which college essay topics should you stay away from?]
That’s Story2, our vision for taking our college app essay expertise and making it available to help de-stress every student, anytime, anywhere, and at any budget.
Do you think college admission essays should be optional? Comment below.
Carol Barash, PhD, founder and CEO of Story To College and author of Write Out Loud, has taught over 12,000 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.