university-of-chicago-admissions

Juniors: Resources for Kickstarting Your Essays this Summer

We strongly urge you to have at least your Common Application essay in good shape before senior year begins. Fall of senior year is a busy time and writing your essays while attending school is like adding a class to your schedule. Summer provides the luxury of uninterrupted time to reflect and write. Here’s some advice to kickstart your essays over the coming summer months — from a suggested reading list that we hope will inspire to some excellent step-by-step guidance on the new Common Application essay prompts.

Finding Your Voice in the Essay:  A suggested reading list of first-person essays.

The Real Topic of your Essay is You: One strategy to help you find a topic.

What are colleges looking for in the essay?

Great essay advice from the deans at Vanderbilt, Chicago, University of Illinois and more.

Pushing the Right Brick for Diagon Alley  Writer and independent college consultant Irena Smith on getting started — and getting personal — in the college essay.

Advice for Students on Topics for the New Common App Essays  College advisor Alice Kleeman breaks down each of the new Common Application essay prompts, with guidance on academic, extracurricular, and personal topics that might fit neatly into a response for each prompt. And there’s a bonus section on the essays that have been Ms. Kleeman’s favorites in her more than twenty years advising students.

For more information about essays, including a step-by-step guide to developing a topic, see Chapter 13, “Essays,” ” in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step.

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Advice on Writing the Common App Essay this Summer...

Fall of senior year is a busy time. So we strongly urge you to have at least your Common Application essay in good shape before senior year begins because writing the essays while attending school is like adding a class to your schedule — remember, in addition to the Common App’s, there are those in the supplements. Summer provides the luxury of uninterrupted time to reflect and write. And you’re fortunate that the Common App essay prompts will remain the same, so you don’t have to wait until August 1st to start working on them.

So here’s some advice to kick start your essays over the coming summer months — from a suggested reading list that we hope will inspire to some excellent step-by-step guidance on those Common App essay prompts.

Finding Your Voice in the Essay:  A suggested reading list of first-person essays.

The Real Topic of your Essay is You: One strategy to help you find a topic.

What are colleges looking for in the essay?

Great essay advice from the deans at Vanderbilt, Chicago, University of Illinois and more.

Pushing the Right Brick for Diagon Alley  Writer and independent college consultant Irena Smith on getting started — and getting personal — in the college essay.

Advice for Students on Topics for the New Common App Essays  This has been one of our all-time most popular posts with college advisor Alice Kleeman breaking down each of the Common App prompts, with guidance on academic, extracurricular, and personal topics that might fit neatly into a response for each prompt. And there’s a bonus section on the essays that have been Ms. Kleeman’s favorites in her more than twenty years advising students.

For more information about essays, including a step-by-step guide to developing a topic, see Chapter 13, “Essays,” ” in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step.

College is a singular opportunity to rummage through and luxuriate in ideas, to realize how very large the world is and to contemplate your desired place in it. And that’s lost in the admissions mania, which sends the message that college is a sanctum to be breached — a border to be crossed — rather than a land to be inhabited and tilled for all that it’s worth.
— 

An excellent point from Frank Bruni of the New York Times. If you’re fortunate enough to have made it to the point of applying for college, remember to hold your head up- no matter the results. College- where you go, and most importantly, who you become from it- is simply another road on the journey of life. Wherever you go, own it and be proud of your accomplishments. And make your education your own.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/opinion/sunday/frank-bruni-how-to-survive-the-college-admissions-madness.html

Dear Education System,

So here’s the problem. College is expensive.

For 12 years, I’ve gone to school to learn. Not just “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic”, I’ve discovered the values of responsibility and found reasons to keep striving for the dreams of tomorrow. I’ve always dreamed of going to college- being accepted into the university of my dreams, and spending 4 years developing a passion for my studies. I want to learn so that I can change the world. Education is the surest indicator of development in a country. Research has shown that education is the pathway to success on a personal, national, and global scale.

I’ve always loved to learn. I’ve always loved school. As time went on though, school became more and more expensive. I’ve been privileged enough to have the opportunity to attend a private high school, a choice that I made for myself in the hopes of a better future. A choice that my parents had never planned for. I could never regret that decision. There I was challenged to grow as a student, a leader, a friend, and a human being. I look back, as senior year comes to a close, knowing that my high school has prepared me for all that is yet to come.

However, it came at a cost. What little college fund my family had set aside was used to pay for my high school tuition. I was also privileged enough to attend a school that offered AP courses. Each class, taken in the hopes of earning credit, demanded a fee to take the test. When a student is taking four our five AP classes, it starts to add up. Then there’s the SAT and the ACT. Each time you take a standardized test, you pay a fee to sit for the test. And in order to send your scores to all the schools you’d like to apply to, you might have to pay even more. Speaking of applications, those cost a good deal as well. Many colleges charge somewhere between $50-$100 just to apply.

Then there’s the matter of getting accepted. Visiting schools so that you know you can make the right choice. Making that final decision. The problem for many students is that decision. They might have been admitted to their dream school- but without enough financial aid or scholarship to afford it. Then what happens?

I’m in this situation now. I’ve been accepted to three schools so far. I’ve fallen in love with one of them. I can so easily imagine myself there for the next four years. It’s everything I wanted in a school- a close community, an challenging but collaborative academic environment, great study abroad programs, and career advisory programs. When I visited, I felt at home. I was so excited when I found out I had been accepted. And I was crushed when I received my aid information. I had received some, but nowhere near the cost of the attendance. It was a staggering amount- and that was just for the first year! My family is middle class, both my parents work, and my dad has a pretty well-paying job. I know that I am privileged to have these things. But there are circumstances that can’t always be seen from a FAFSA. My dad has student loans to pay off. My brother has expensive medications he needs to take. I have old medical bills. My brother’s conditions forced him to withdraw from public school and seek out a private middle and high school. Sure, we might make more in a year that than the cost of attendance, but when all these things are factored into it- not to mention food cost, gas, bills, taxes, mortgages, and so on- we wouldn’t have enough to get by on if we paid that amount each year.

I know that wherever I go, I will likely find wonderful friends and good professors, and continue to cultivate my intellectual passions. Still, it breaks my heart to think that all my work was for nothing. All those hours of homework, preparing for tests, writing essays, filling out applications. All the money spent on standardized testing and applying to schools. I got in, but does that even matter? I have watched the past three valedictorians from my school- girls with perfect GPAs, resumes the length of a short novel, incredible recommendations, and essays that could win a Pulitzer prize- turn down the schools of their dreams because they could not afford to go. How many families truly make enough to pay $40,000-$70,000 each year for one child to attend a university?
I have learned much in my 12 years at school, and for that I am incredibly grateful. I know that education is a gift, a blessing, and a privilege. I just hope that the last lesson will not be that hard work pays off, if only you can afford to pay for it.

So I was waitlisted at both University of Chicago and Case Western… The waitlisting at Chicago I took as a good sign since I was expecting a flat out rejection (I literally did my entire application in 1 night and didn’t request an interview), but I was honestly expecting an acceptance from Case Western. I don’t WANT to be upset about it since Case Western wasn’t super high on my list, but it just makes me slightly more worried about whether I’ll get into University of Rochester, Cornell, and Boston University, which are high up on my list.

Are there any post-admissions students out there who have some advice on attempting to destress after this sort of stuff? I’m literally sick from stress (had to go to the doctor, get blood work done, etc. all for a stress-induced illness) and I have an anxiety disorder so I’m struggling a little bit to relax.