We hope that this collection of perspectives on the college-application essay provides helpful guidance. We'll continue to add resources
that we believe contribute usefully to the conversation!


On doing the "small thing closely and deeply."


On making room for the power of the process.

The enduring questions from the "Let's fix it" stage.

"At its heart, that’s all a great essay is: a virtuoso performance of care."


"I think it takes a lot more thought than it does writing."


Get your details and go deep!

Behind the Hillside
Writing approach.


“You always have permission to sound like yourself."


"I love leaving an essay like that, where you want to say, ‘Let’s keep talking.'"


"Your perspective ... is far more important than the specific topic itself."


"[T]he real argument should be with oneself."

"We want to see how you actually think."


A former Dartmouth admissions officer reflects on kindness.


"The story gives us context, but the second part is the most vital."


"It’s hard to rescue the truth from that cliché."

"In applying to college, many applicants take years, or even a decade, off their own lives."

"It is the little details that can be most revealing."


“Don’t write what you think we want to read.”

"It’s different from 'academic achievement.'"


Caution: Parents

“Parents, when you mess with your kids’ pure voices, you’re actually co-writing terrible college essays.”