Writing Your College Essay on Sports (NOT THE BIG GAME)

Hi friends, Last week I worked with a couple of athletes on initial stages of their college essay brainstorming. A small group of 4 students - they did a free writing exercise on what sports has taught them. And, since I said to lead with a memory, they started writing about THE SAME GAME.

Writing about sports in your college essay can be amazing, incredible even. Sports can reveal unfiltered human emotion and triumph like nothing else; however, make sure you know how to capture the right message along with your story so that you’re memorable and not just another sports essay. Check out this video on quick tips to do just that!

Happy Writing!!!

Writing About Death and Loss in Your College Essay

This weekend I conducted a small group workshop and one of the students was a bit reserved, shy...totally paying attention but not vocal like the other students. And, if you know me in an essay workshop whether online or in person, I need to know you're with me. So I took her outside while the others were on an identity scavenger hunt and we chatted about where she was in the process.

Issue was - she wanted to write about something super delicate, extremely personal and she wasn't sure it was the right call since she couldn't even share it in our small group.

Today's video I address how to write about the death of a loved one or another delicate topic and make it work for college admissions. Hope this helps! Happy writing!

WRITING ABOUT DEATH IN COLLEGE ESSAY (AND MAKE IT WORK) // Have you heard to stay away from the 3 D’s when writing your college essay? Avoid the college essay cliches and don't write about Death, Divorce, Drugs. Writing your college essay about death of a father or your college essay about losing a loved one more broadly can be incredibly honest and powerful but your college essay format and outline should be one of strategy detailing growth. Therefore, for every rule, there’s an exception. Stand out with an emotional, unique personal statement and still honor your story and journey. If you have life experience that touches on death and grief, you can make it work for you and remain authentic and craft a college essay for your Common App that stands out. This video will show you how to showcase your strengths so that your college application essay is unique. With over 10 years of experience, this college essay tutor knows that it's all about how you edit your essay. These college essay tips will improve your personal statement which can be the difference between accepted or not. Remember, your personal statement for college is your direct line of communication to the admissions office.

DOWNLOAD YOUR COLLEGE ESSAY TEMPLATE HERE - https://writeyouracceptance.lpages.co/college-essay-template/

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COLLEGE ESSAY IDEAS (COLLEGE ESSAY PROMPTS THAT WORK BEST FOR YOU)

COLLEGE ESSAY IDEAS (COLLEGE ESSAY PROMPTS THAT WORK BEST FOR YOU) // Are you applying to college with nothing to write your college essay on? This video will show you how to get the writing flowing, assess the strategic dimensions of identity to be unique and memorable to the admission officers. These college essay writing tips will improve your personal statement which can be the difference between accepted or not. Remember, your personal statement for college is your direct line of communication to the admissions office.

Before writing your admissions essay, learn expert tips for how to master the art of telling your story.

DOWNLOAD YOUR COLLEGE ESSAY TEMPLATE HERE - https://writeyouracceptance.lpages.co/college-essay-template/

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Common App Essay Tips (STEAL THE SECRET)

Last couple of weeks I have been hosting meet and greets with students about to start their college essays. Part nervous, part excited, part fried from Junior year they want to see success stories, samples that worked all while starting to think about their own original contribution. Today’s video I share just that!!

Happy Writing!

Here’s the summary -

COMMON APP ESSAY TIPS (STEAL THE SECRET) // Juniors, the Common App Essay prompts are out and it’s your turn to stand out and be remembered on your college application, but how? This video will share key, strategic components of successful college application essays. These college essay tips and college essay examples will improve your personal statement, showcasing your best self and ensuring that you’re memorable to the college admissions officer. The college essay could be the difference between accepted or not. Your personal statement for college is your direct line of communication to the admissions office. Don't fall into college essay cliches that don't advance your candidacy. Do you know if you want to write a college narrative essay or a simply a college essay about yourself...an essay that makes you unique...make sure to ask questions because this college essay tutor has the chops to make you succeed! Before writing your admissions essay, learn expert tips for how to master the art of telling your story. DOWNLOAD YOUR COLLEGE ESSAY TEMPLATE HERE - https://writeyouracceptance.lpages.co...

Say hi on social: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writeyourac... Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writeyouracc... Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/writeyourac... writeyouracceptance.com https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_e4s... #drjosie #collegeessaytutor #personalstatementsamples

Writing a Winning Personal Statement

Whether drafting a personal statement for college, medical school or law school, most students miss the mark. Here's why!!!

In today's video I share the two necessary factors needed for a successful personal statement. Sitting in front of the computer screen ready to write the most important essay of your life can feel like the loneliest, most daunting place. However, with some strategy, knowing what needs to be said where can be the jump start you need. Check out this video for expert tips on how to bring in anecdote and analysis...the secret sauce for a winning personal statement!

Visiting College Campuses (TIPS FOR AN AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE)

Visiting College Campuses (TIPS FOR AN AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE) // Every Spring semester on campus I see a ton of high school students with their parents touring our campus. Walking by I hear the same pitch – and here is the library with hundreds of references and resources, this is 1 of 2 Starbucks on campus and here we have a robotics lab – okay, our campus rocks. However, the tricky part is that no matter the day the speech will be the same; however, the students and families visiting shouldn’t have the same experience. This video will show you key tips to ensure you make your college tour an unforgettable and real experience, showing you and your parents whether THIS IS THE SCHOOL FOR YOU. And, bonus, I share with you a couple habits to keep in mind to then make sure you use the information you receive to elevate the college application essay and why this college supplement.

Remember, your personal statement for college, your campus tour and the overall journey is yours to make it your own. Get invested and make this an incredible experience. And don’t forget to find where the best burgers and doughnuts are!!!

Grab your college essay template and join our mailing list for more videos, goodies and overall amazing inspo – https://writyouracceptance.com

For more guidance one curating an authentic, incredible college campus tour, check out - https://collegescoops.com/

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Here's how to show diversity in your college essays...NO MATTER WHAT!!!

My biggest challenge when working with students is guiding them to their stand out moment. In today’s video I show you how to do just that!

Here’s the video summary -

3 TIPS FOR COLLEGE ESSAY DIVERSITY (STAND OUT NO MATTER WHAT) // Want your college application to stand out? This video will show you how to be unique on your college application essay so your college application is memorable. Whether you claim diversity of identity, thought or values, these college application essay tips will improve your personal statement.

How much is too much info and too little info on the VERY important college essay!

Hi Friends, Let's chat word count. How much is too much info and too little info on the VERY important college essay!

In today's video I discuss the optimal length of the college application essay AND how to lengthen or cut if you're having trouble. Maybe you're super chatty and need to reduce words or maybe you have 1 amazing paragraph and don't know where to go from there. Stay tuned!! 

Here's the summary on the video -
 

HOW LONG IS THE COMMON APP ESSAY (WORD COUNT FOR COLLEGE ESSAY AND HOW TO CUT OR EXTEND) // Do You have one solid paragraph and nothing left to say in your college application essay? Want your personal statement for college to stand out? This video will show you how to write your college essay for admissions making sure you hit the idea target word count. Whether you need to expand your college application essay or chop off longer phrases to hit the target word count, fight writer’s block and write the college application essay that will make your application unique. These college application essay tips will help you get to the point. Your personal statement for college is your direct link to the admissions office.  

Before writing your college essay, learn expert tips for how to start applying to college. Save your word count for only content that matters.

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Questbridge Essay (HOW TO WRITE A MEMORABLE COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY)

QUESTBRIDGE ESSAY (HOW TO WRITE A MEMORABLE SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY) // The Questbridge scholarship helps make top tier, out of state colleges a reality for so many star students of low income backgrounds. Want to learn the 3 key themes your essay should cover to stand out? This video will share the guiding questions you should consider then 3 key elements the Questbridge prep scholars essay needs to include. Deadline is March 20th. Make sure you’re ready to maximize your chances. Before writing your college essay, learn expert tips for how to start applying to college much easier.

How to Start Your College Essay (AND BE UNIQUE)

Today WYA is launching weekly Youtube videos with expert tips students can bring into their college application essays to maximize engagement! Check out our channel!!!

https://youtu.be/MCHQvrQ69A4

HOW TO START YOUR COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY (BE UNIQUE TO ADMISSIONS) // Want your college application to stand out? This video will show you how to start your college application essay so your college application is unique. These college essay tips will improve your personal statement which can be the difference between accepted or not. Your personal statement for college is your direct line of communication to the admissions office. Before writing your college essay, learn expert tips for how to start applying to college much easier.

Introducing College Scoops!!

Your insider's guide to eating your way through an incredible College experience...

Planning college visits? College Scoops provides an insider’s guide for where to eat, stay and explore while visiting college campuses in a mobile-friendly format that is easily accessible on the road. Find the hidden gems from their handpicked student ambassadors and get a feel for what life will be like for your child from students who are already immersed in campus life. College Scoops has over 120 college itineraries online saving parents time, energy and stress. Enjoy the sights and bites!

Brainstorming the College Application Essay

Brainstorming the College Application Essay, What to Avoid and How to Stand Out

college application essay, brainstorm

For the last 10 years, the time I have been working with students on their personal statements, I have witnessed a clear move towards creative nonfiction. That is what the college application essay has become – a piece of experience snazzy enough to entertain, yet savvy enough to share lessons learned. If such a high bar is accomplished your main college essay is your direct line to the Admission Officers – as if you were in the room, selling your candidacy in a non-preachy but oh-so-convincing-manner.

The best essays are the most honest, descriptive and nuanced texts. Therefore, I advise 3 things all students should keep in mind when first approaching their essay.

  • Know the reader but then forget the reader: Your best bet is to write honestly, always showcasing your best self. Forget what you think the admission officers WANT to hear because that will be a trap to remain safe, unimaginative and like you’re selling out a little bit.

  • Check in with yourself: what’s your story in images? Here comes the brainstorming part - decide which formative experience, anecdote about your life, ritual or tradition you could describe with sensory driven language…basically I want to hear, smell, taste, feel and then see. The 1-2 anecdotes you pick should have a lot happening outside of your head. Can you capture snippets of conversation? Fun, colorful personalities in your life?

  • Avoid clichés: If you can google the phrase, it shouldn’t be in your paper. It’s not about winning or losing, Be the change you want see in the world, I’ve always wanted to study Engineering. Okay, the last one is not technically a cliche; however, what all of these phrases have in common is that they are so pervasive in personal statements you are relinquishing your power of making meaning to the reader. What I mean is – that these phrases are so commonplace that they mean something to everyone. So, admission officers can read into them their own values and principles and not yours.

For a guide to writing your own FIRE personal statement, check out my FREE, YES FREE template. Sign up for my mailing list and you will automatically receive the PDF.

 

FREE, FREE, FREE – I will continue with a bounty of awesomeness with a CollegeWeek Live  chat for students and parents interested in learning more about the admissions process. Log on, ask questions or ghost and silently soak up some knowledge. Either way, I will be giving real time advice and you can all ask questions as we go along.

8/22/18 - Back to School (US students) 7PM EST - https://bit.ly/2sOtlSF
8/29/18 - International Student Day 11AM EST - 
https://bit.ly/2sFL3YY

Freedom To... Freedom From

As students chew on their cuticles waiting for acceptance or rejection letters and as their Junior peers wait in the wings knowing it will soon be their turn, I urge both sets to consider this momentous milestone as both grand but also less critical than social pressure dictates. Applying to college, getting accepted to your ‘dream’ college and finally deciding on the right college with sound mind and heart is a draining process with tons of noise which could, if not careful, drown out your inner voice. Make sure you are actively participating in all steps of the process.

Our crossroads season, April – July, reminds me of the contrasting personal liberties ideology, I believe coined by Immanuel Kant, but don’t quote me. Recently I came across the phrase twice. In a more cynical deployment in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and then in an inspiring podcast, Shane Parrish’s The Knowledge Project, “Naval Ravikant on Reading, Happiness, Systems of Decision Making, Habits, Radical Honesty”. It’s a two hour listen which I did in three sittings but completely worth it. (Ravikant is CEO and co-founder of Angel’s List and simply put an individual who seems to have the life balance thing down.)

Back to Freedom To…Freedom From – students, as you make your choices, think about what you want to do with your newfound freedom, who you want to be in college, how you want to grow and evolve, and then what you want freedom from…to not do, to get away from, to change…knowing both sets can have positive and negative consequences. Happy Waiting!   

 

Is Your Social Media College Ready?

 

 

You may think your social media pages are college ready but are they admission officers ready? While waiting for those acceptance letters to roll in, consider filtering your social media footprint.

Filter your social media. Perhaps ask an adult to look through your social media and see if there is anything you should remove. Although your social media is not part of your application packet, it is out there and you want to make sure if an admission officer stumbles onto your page(s), they will they see someone who would represent their school with integrity.

As a rule of thumb, THINK BEFORE YOUR POST/ TWEET/ SNAP. Remember that anything and everything you share online will remain out there in some form or fashion.   

Here's a 2013 NYT article that may be of interest "They Loved Your GPA Then They Saw Your Tweets"

The Waiting Game

Here are a few things to do while waiting for your college acceptance...

Keep up with your courses. This is not the time for SENIORITIS. Colleges receive your final transcripts. It is important that you maintain your grades, activities; keep up your overall dedication.

Get your finances in order. Consider applying for scholarships, make sure FAFSA is complete since schools look to that information for need based but also some merit based awards.

Contact but don’t overwhelm your top schools. You may find contradictory information on this topic; however, my recommendation is to follow up with your top schools (via email is best). Start a thoughtful conversation with the regional admissions rep. Ask questions about the school, or send an updated activities list or even an extra letter of recommendation. Don’t overwhelm them with tedious questions. For most institutions, you can track your application online, but do share with them your genuine interest.    

Georgia Tech Short Answer

In 150 words or less, Georgia Tech asks you to write on one of three prompts. My favorite is the following option: We challenge our students to "be comfortable being uncomfortable". Tell us about a time in high school that you felt outside of your comfort zone and the resolution.

Consider a lively, fun, could be a bit self deprecating anecdote that SHOWS this. Then explain how the anecdote/ your experience was thriving in discomfort. Happy Writing! 

http://admission.gatech.edu/freshman/personal-essays

Welcome!

Welcome students and parents to Musings, the blog and to Write Your Acceptance!

My name is Josie Urbistondo. You can read more about my bio and experience on the Meet Josie tab, but I wanted to say thank you for visiting and allowing me to be part of your college application journey. It can be a daunting and overwhelming process, but getting organized can de-stress your life and transform your experience into an exciting process of self-reflection, inspiration and growth.  I look forward to sharing a few tips and techniques...and perhaps even working together. Any questions, I am here.