AdmissionHook College Essay Blog What's your hook? Tue, 05 May 2015 00:34:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 You’re on the Waitlist: Now What? Tue, 05 May 2015 00:34:11 +0000 What to write to a College When You’ve Been Waitlisted

In between rejection and acceptance sits a form of purgatory known as the waitlist. It’s where you go if your transcripts, test scores and admission top college essays can help you get off of the waitlist.essays are great, but they’re just not good enough to gain you instant admission. Similar to how you apply to different colleges because you know not all will accept you, colleges know not all of their accepted choices will choose to attend, leaving spaces to be filled. Instead of doing nothing, take an active role by keeping in contact with the university. If they know you’re interested, you’re more likely to get in when a spot opens.  Here is our guide to improving your chance of getting accepted off of the waitlist.

Express Interest

write a winning college essay.As soon as they let you know you’re on their waitlist, thank them and explain how you are still very much interested in attending. A great approach is to express understanding in student population limitations but that you’re still very excited there’s a chance you’ll get to join them in the fall. This sets you apart from those that don’t reply to their status update. Articulating excitement is a means to show them that if admitted, you’ll take advantage of all of their opportunities to advance yourself and the school’s name.

Keep them Updated

Just because your application has been processed, it doesn’t mean that you should stop working toward your dream.  Keep your possible future school updated on any achievements, awards, joined clubs, activities and even improved grades that occur after you have been waitlisted. Always remember that colleges and universities are looking to bring in students who will expand their prestige. The more proof you have that you’re willing to work hard, the more they’ll see you as an asset.

Offer to Interview

Personalities do not translate well on transcripts or essays. That’s why if you are a very charismatic individual, offer them the chance to interview you either on campus, over the phone or on a video chat. Even if you don’t base your success on personality, giving your name a face sets you apart from the tens of thousands of other faceless waitlisters. Should they decline an interview, follow this up with the fact that you’re always free should they have any further questions to keep communication open.

Be Understanding

Colleges and universities have limited space on their campuses, and this is no fault of yours. Each and every year applications pour in from around the world as students work their hardest to get into a program that will help them realize their goals. Even if you put your best foot forward throughout the entire waitlist time period, there is a very good chance space just won’t open up. So long as you don’t let this defeat you, you’ll excel no matter where you end up.

How To Write a Winning Scholarship Essay Wed, 01 Apr 2015 23:38:58 +0000 The vasNichols Colleget majority of students cannot afford college without winning some scholarships to help foot the bill. When it comes to applying for scholarships, most ask for some sort of essay to
judge your potential as a winner who will do the most with the money they give out. Without any sort of drive or a “hook”, it is hard to catch their eye and win a scholarship.  Here are some tips to help you write a winning scholarship essay:

Answer the Underlying Question

Most questions are straightforward. Why do you feel you deserve this scholarship? Why do you want to attend this college? Why do you want to study this subject? These questions can all be summed up with single sentence answers, however, it’s what they’re not asking that really earns you a chance at winning. For each of these, the underlying question is, “what will you do to make the best use of this award?” Throw this in with your answer, and you’ll have a stronger argument than most.

Be Authentic with your Voice

Scholarship essays also exist to get you to verbalize who you are as a person. They don’t want a robotic recollection of your past and how it has influenced your present; they want a story told by you. They want to know there is an actual person behind the words with the drive to achieve exactly what they dream of doing.

Serve the Scholarship’s Mission

If you’re applying to a scholarship that seeks to benefit future political leaders, make sure that when you answer the question, you make it clear that one of your future goals is to obtain a political position. Scholarships give money with the intention of one day receiving money from you once you have become successful. They also want prestigious names to add to their roster much like any college or university. The more you play to the future desires of the scholarship, the better suited you are, in their eyes, to take the money and put it toward a future they want to fund.

Choosing a Topic: I created a common app account, now what? Mon, 29 Dec 2014 19:50:41 +0000 Hello Class of 2015! Even though you might not want to hear it, now is the time to start thinking about applying to college, and there’s no better place to start than the essay. Not only can a top-tier Common App essay be your college application’s eye-catching masterpiece, it can also be recycled and used as the backbone of scholarship apps.

            So, how do you start the college essay? You start it the same way you’d start any other essay: by picking a topic. At first, this task can seem overwhelming. You’ll be devoting a month or more to building the essay, and you don’t want to waste your time pursuing a topic that you’ll later scrap. However, with a few simple tips, you’ll be able to pick a topic resting assured that it’s right for you.

‘What is a topic?’

            This ostensibly simple question is actually one of the most complex beasts you’ll have to tackle in the writing process. Sure, you know what you want to say: ‘I’m smart,’ ‘I have emotions,’ ‘I’m unique,’ etc.. But none of these are topics; these are the things that you use to build-out your topic.

            The topic is the story. It’s what makes a reader want to read. Imagine your favorite book; would it still be your favorite if the author had blatantly spelled-out his point rather than spinning it into a story? Probably not, and the same is true for your essay. Use the app itself to tell the reviewer about your accomplishments. The essay should be a story in which you are one of the main characters. It should be engaging and easy to read, not a snooze-fest of your achievements, and it should be written in a much lighter tone than a book report or science paper. Keep these things at forefront of your mind when picking a topic.

‘Ok, so what story should I use?’

            First and foremost, pick something that actually happened to you. Although some universities may allow you to submit a completely fictional work as long as you portray it as such, it’s just easier to figure-out how to tell the reader about yourself if you’re describing your actual emotions/feelings/actions toward a real event.

            The story should be something substantive. Even though the vacation to Elitch Gardens you took three years ago might have been fun, it’s not an essay-worthy topic unless either a.) something happened to you that made it a deeply impactful learning experience or b.) you can relate it to one of your core ideals or principles. This is not to say that your essay needs to be a grandiose life-story. In fact, one of the best admission essays I’ve ever read was set in a train station, but it was a good essay because it linked directly to the student’s core ideals.

            The underlying implication of all this is that you need to (gasp!) actually figure-out what’s important to you and what type of person you are. Don’t just use your essay to tell admissions officers ‘what they want to hear’ because a.) your essay will be boring and b.) it won’t work. You need to convey the real you, and to do that, you’ll need to figure out what the real you is.

‘Ok, I just finished a trippy, metaphysical journey to find the real me. Is there anything else?’

            Why yes, there is; thanks for asking. The main things to worry about now are offensiveness and negative energy. Make sure that you’re not openly disparaging, and focus on the positive rather than the negative. For instance, say that you want to talk about how an eye-opening vacation made you realize that you needed to go to a school that’s far from home. ‘How junior year of high school made me realize that I hate the Rust Belt’ would be a terrible way to express that. It’s openly disparaging and full of negativity.  You could say the exact same things in a positive light: ‘How my trip abroad made me realize I needed to expand my horizons.’ You’d be expressing the same ideas but in a positive way.

‘So… now what?’

What do you mean ‘now what?’ Get writing! You don’t need to spend 24-hours-a-day on your essay, but put a draft on paper this month. Print it out, put it in a manilla file folder, and, if you want to, forget about it until next month. Choosing a topic is one of the hardest parts of the essay. If you pick one now and write-out your ideas, you’ll have a Shakespearean work come October of next year.

 Visit next month and we’ll figure-out what you need to do in your first revision.

 Dakota J. Meyers is a Yale Alumnus, Corporate Strategy Analyst, and Freelance Essay Adviser based in Wash Park, Denver, CO.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing the College Admission Essay Wed, 06 Jun 2012 14:51:06 +0000 The college admission essay can be the most important piece of high school writing.  For some students, it can make the difference between the thin envelope and the thick envelope.  Knowing that it is far too important to wait until the last minute to write this essay, we thought we would give you a list of do’s and don’ts for writing that perfect college essay that you can use to get started over the summer.


  • Be yourself
    The best essay is intensely personal and is something that only you could have written.  When reading the essay, the college admission officer wants to answer the question, “What makes this student tick?  Why does he or she get out of bed in the morning?”  They want to learn about what motivates you and ultimately why they should accept you to their school.
  • Write with passion
    Many colleges are looking to craft a well-rounded freshmen class.  That doesn’t mean they want well rounded students.  Quite the opposite, they are looking for students who bring a particular skill or talent to their campus.  They want angular students.  So, write about the things that you are most passionate about.  That will help them to learn what you will add to the college campus.
  • Have someone else read the essay
    The best essay is one that someone who doesn’t know you reads and then gets a sense that they know you as a person, and even better, that they would want to be friends with you.  It is also important to remember, that while spell check may tell you if a word is spelled incorrectly, it can’t tell you if it is the right word.  Almost 20 years later, my father still maintains that the reason my brother was wait listed at Notre Dame was because he wrote, “…and that is why I want to go to your collage.”
  • Tell how you have grown and what you have learned
    It is important to remember, that ultimately, your college essay isn’t about an event, it is about you.  So, don’t just describe an obstacle, tell how you overcame it and what you learned from it.  If you made a mistake, admit it, and take ownership.  Colleges are looking to see growth.


  • Write about an overdone essay topic
    Often students want to write about how they won the big game, or how their summer travel changed their outlook on the world.  These essay topics have become trite.  Unless you can write about them in a fresh way that brings the essay to life for the admission officer, you may want to avoid these topics.
  • Use overly flowery language
    You only get 250 to 500 words to present your case to the admissions office as to why you should be accepted into their incoming freshmen class, so don’t waste any of them.  The best writing for a college admission essay is journalistic.  That is crisp and concise.  It is ok to be descriptive in the opening paragraph to try and grab the readers attention, however, after the introduction, you should be overly descriptive of things, instead you should describe your feelings, emotions, and motivation.
  • Tell them what you think they want to hear
    Too often students tell admissions officers what the student thinks the admission officer wants to hear.  However, that often leads to an essay that isn’t authentic.  Instead, you should focus on what you want the college to know about you that they won’t be able to find anywhere else except in your essay.
  • Be afraid to take risks
    One admission officer told me that not enough students take risks. While you shouldn’t write anything that is too crazy, you do want to take calculated risks.  Don’t be afraid to tell a story that will reveal some of your personality and allow the admission officer to learn what motivates you, even if the story may seem to be a little unusual.
  • Write like you speak
    The college admission essay is a formal essay, it shouldn’t include slang, colloquialisms, or cliches.
Many Eyes, But Only One Voice Mon, 12 Dec 2011 17:32:44 +0000 Recently I was asked to answer a question as part of the Unigo Experts Network.

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