Writing a College Application Essay

By letting what you think “they want” dictate the contents of your essay, your writing can wind up feeling self-conscious and manipulative.

What We Can Teach Our Children During the Coronavirus Crisis

As a college application essay coach, I deal with many students each year. As a dad, I deal with two. My son is 28 and a career counselor at the University of Washington so my immediate impact on his life has become marginal, to put it mildly. My daughter, however, is a college junior so […]

Outlining Your College Application Essay

college essay outline

Rolling with the College Application Essay Josh figured he’d write his college application essay like he did everything else – making it up as he went along. After all, wasn’t that how he became the freestyle skateboard champion of Bakersfield, CA? Bringing this approach to his Common Application essay, however, proved difficult. He would start an […]


I was recently interviewed for an article in the Los Angeles Times “Mind and Body Section” (okay, the writer is a friend of mine) about writing as therapy. The writer wanted to know if I thought writing the college application essay could be therapeutic for high school seniors. My initial response: You have to remember, […]

Writing the College Admissions Essay – Three Techniques for Ending Your Essay

Like Rocky bellowing, “Adrian!” into the frenzied fight crowd, the ending of your college essay should be powerful and memorable. This is your last chance to make an impression on your reader, and you want it to be a positive one. To achieve this type of ending, you can use several techniques. The Call Back […]

Writing the College Application Essay: More on Outlining

In my last blog, I mentioned outlining as one of the Writing Basics required to write an outstanding college application essay. But the subject is so important that it demands a blog of its own. Students will sometimes resist outlining their college application essay because they are eager to start writing and consider outlining a […]


In writing the college application essay, the focus is often on hitting a home run. Yet before you can do that, you need to perfect the mechanics of your swing (You have my word, that will be the last baseball analogy of the year.). So let’s review a few writing basics. Brainstorming Everyone knows what […]