Editing Common App Essay

Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

For one week at the end of January, Reed students upend the traditional classroom hierarchy and teach classes about any topic they love, academic or otherwise.

You'll need to look up the essay requirements for each college—what's required should be clear on the application itself, or you can look under the "how to apply" section of the school's website.

Once you've determined the requirements for each school, I recommend making yourself a chart with the school name, word limit, and application deadline on one side and the prompt or prompts you need to respond to on the other.

Otherwise, start with the essay for your top choice school.

I would also recommend starting with a longer personal statement before moving on to shorter supplementary essays, since the 500-700 word essays tend to take quite a bit longer than 100-250 word short responses.Even for Common App schools, you may need to write a supplemental essay or provide short answers to questions.Before you get started, you should know exactly what essays you need to write.Having this information allows you to plan the best approach to each essay and helps you cut down on work by determining whether you can use an essay for more than one prompt.Writing good college essays involves a lot of work: you need dozens of hours to get just one personal statement properly polished, and that's before you even start to consider any supplemental essays.As I touched on above, each college has its own essay requirements, so you'll need to go through and determine what exactly you need to submit for each school.This process is simple if you're only using the Common App, since you can easily view the requirements for each school under the "My Colleges" tab.Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve.It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale.Watch out, though, because some schools have a dedicated "Writing Supplement" section, while others (even those that want a full essay) will put their prompts in the "Questions" section.It gets trickier if you're applying to any schools that aren't on the Common App.

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