College Admissions Essay Writing Prompt: What Makes You Tick?
Summer is a great time to get a jump-start on preparing to write your college admission essay. Whether you're a rising high school junior or a senior, taking time now to record ideas or even draft a paragraph or two will help you when the actual application deadline approaches.
Not sure what to write about?
How would you answer this: What makes you tick?
Jot down single ideas that come to mind on sticky notes or create a prewrite document on your word proccessor.
- Free write:
Set a timer for 10 minutes and write whatever pops in your head.
- The Common Application (a.k.a "Common App") is used by nearly 500 colleges. Essays for the 2013-2014 Common App should be 250 words minimum and 650 words maximum.
- For other (non-Common App) admissions applications, if the instructions state the essay portion is optional, don't think you should skip out on the opportunity to make yourself known to the admissions committee. Think of it this way, if your academic profile is equal to 10 other students and you're the only one who took the time to submit an essay, you will stand out instantly for having made the extra effort. If your essay also happens to be well-written, engaging, and grammatically correct, then even better.
- If word length is not stated or the essay is optional, set your limit to no more than 500 words. See: What to put in your 500-Word College Application Essay.
Ditch Those Preconceived Notions!
Imagine the green open spaces at your New York City campus...or, maybe not!
Even if you’ve never been to New York City, you probably have mental images of what it is like from movies, books, and TV. Bright lights. Big city. But going to college in New York can be surprising. Keep your mind open to the possibilities and realities when you search for campuses.
Frank Sinatra’s seminal song, “New York, New York” says, “I want to be a part of it…New York, New York….I want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep.”
If this appeals to you, check out some of the urban campuses like Parson’s School of Design, City College of New York, New York University, and Pace University. These urban campuses are often hard to distinguish from the businesses nearby and are integrated into the streets and buildings that surround them. Billie Holiday and Harry Connick, Jr. sang, “New York is impossible not to love. Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds and canyons of steel are making me feel I’m home.” Some people thrive in urban settings, you’ll know when you visit if it feels right for you.
But don’t be fooled into thinking the iconic movie images of busy streets and harried workers is all that there is to the Big Apple. New York universities and colleges can be surprisingly beautiful and peaceful. Walk across the lush, green, expansive Marytrs’ Lawn on your way to visit classrooms or on your way to the ball fields at Fordham University. Fordham features two campuses, one near Lincoln Center and another in the north Bronx bordering the Botanic Gardens that lets you enjoy the classic experience of an old-style campus with ivy-covered buildings. And when you visit Columbia University, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you go from city streets to green lawns, stately buildings, and a peaceful isolation.
In “Welcome to New York City,” Cam’Ron and Jay-Z, etc. state it perfectly when they say “New York is what it is.” It might take a visit to find out if it is right for you! But make sure you visit both types of campus. This might be the perfect opportunity for a family vacation to go see the New York Yankees, see a Broadway show, tour The Cloisters, and stop in for a campus tour or two.
“Come as you are. When you leave you’ll be changed.” New York City by Among Savages.
Gail Billingsley is a world traveler and COO of Smart College Visit. She frequently writes about travel, technology, and college life.
Scholarship Mom Tip #28: Scholarships are not just for Seniors
Pssst! Have you heard the news?
...They are not just for high school seniors!
There are a lot of assumptions made when it comes to college scholarship searching and applying. Most people assume that scholarships are for graduating high school seniors only. While this is true for most local scholarships (those offered by a student’s surrounding community businesses and organizations) it is quite different for national scholarships.
Reading the qualifications for each scholarship found is key to creating a long list of scholarships to apply for and getting organized in the scholarship process. It's never to early to begin scholarship search!
Monica Matthews is our favorite scholarship mom! After helping her son win $100,000 in scholarships for his college education, she founded How2WinScholarships.com to share what she learned along the way and now she's sharing her tips with SmartCollegeVisit!