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  • Eric Stutman

De-stress college essays with a Master List

When your student's college application list is finalized (late August/early September is best), it's time to see just how many essays s/he will be writing in total. Most schools will get the core "common app" personal statement essay, but many others will require one or more "supplemental" essays. A master list organizes the essays, and reduces stress when the student can see the work ahead of him/her, and how many of the essays can be reused or modified for schools.

Here is a sample list, similar to a concept found in the book "The College Application Essay" by Sarah Myers McGinty. I changed the format to clearly identify the number of essays.

Master Essay List for Jane Doe

Schools I am applying to: Duke, CMU, UMass, Emory, Hartford, Colby, Northeastern, and Babson.

(1) Personal essay: Character traits to show: Persistence, and love of animals. Story Backdrop: My summer job.

Supplemental essays:

(2) Why our school? Duke, CMU, and Babson.

(3) Important extracurricular activity. Duke, Emory, and Colby.

(4) Book impact on me. Duke.

(5) Community I am part of. UMass and Colby.

The student can easily see that she needs to write five types of essays, three of which can be adapted for multiple colleges. Remember, all essays are really asking the same question: Tell us something about yourself that we can't read anywhere else on your application!

Comments or questions? Comment below or call me.

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