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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! 

 
 

The One Who Knows

Post-scandal reflections on the college-application essay

 

The Illuminating Incident

On doing the "small thing closely and deeply"

 

Picking the Locks

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

 

Give Yourself Away

“You always have permission to sound like yourself."

 

The Comedian &
The College Applicant

Behind the Hillside approach

 

The Essayist's Real Challenge

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

 

Advice for the Helpers

On making room for the power of the process

 

Four Practical Pointers

Get your details and go deep!

 

Q&A with Tufts Admissions

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

 

What Matters to You?

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

 

College Application Essays
on Work, Money, & Class

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

 

An Exercise in Doubt

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

 

What "Worked" at Johns Hopkins

"We want to see how you actually think."

 

Got Any "Intellectual Curiosity?"

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

 

One Irresistible Quality

A former Dartmouth admissions officer reflects on kindness.

 

Tips From Admissions Officers

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

 

On the "Service Essay"

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

 

Get Up-to-Date!

"[M]any applicants take years, or even a decade, off their own lives."

 

Caution: Parents

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

 

More Tips From Admissions

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

 

The Right Approach 

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

 

Show Your Growth

“The goal is to come across as a real human being…”