Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps, Second Edition: Crafting a Winning Personal Statement

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  • An excellent book for rising and current juniors looking to nail their personal statement
  • Focuses on crafting a compelling essay through craftsmanship and process
  • Valuable reading for parents and educators who want to improve how helpful they can be with their college-bound charges

When the dust settles from exams and transcripts, students’ admission hopes hinge mainly on the personal statement they submit. But the thought of summing up their uniqueness in 500 words or less sees many applicants freeze up. Conquering the College Admissions Essay eases the pathway from analysis paralysis to standout statements through a focus on adding craft to students’ creativity.

Author Alan Gelb gets straight to the point: winning college essays display strong writing skills. Not an ideal book for the paint-by-numbers essay crowd, Gelb makes it clear that College Admissions Essay “focuses on entirely on process.” While students navigate the ten straightforward steps he offers, beginning with understanding solid narrative structure in general, they are also absorbing valuable lessons on how to commit thought to paper, an experience that proves valuable well after gaining entry to their college of choice.

Gelb’s helpful title best serves those on the cusp of writing their statements; reading this too early can lead to overwhelm in students not yet in their junior year. That said, parents and educators would do well to explore College Admissions Essay as early as they like, as the book works as an effective coaching tool for passionate grownups as well.