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College Essay

Sample Essays – What to Consider

During a recent interview about college essays with College and Career Clarity podcast host Lisa Marker-Robbins, the topic of sample essays came up. We don’t like sample essays, even though a lot of people use them when coaching students on the college essay. To be clear, it’s not that the sample essays can’t be good examples. It’s Read More

Tell Your Students to Trust Themselves!

This time of year, we talk to a lot of high school counselors and other professionals about gearing up for another college application season. We’d like to share a favorite message we tell our own students at the beginning of every season. Trust yourself. This is your journey, so own the process. When you are Read More

The College Essay in 10 Simple Steps

Step 1: Understand the Prompt Before choosing a topic, make sure you understand what the prompt is asking and how the essay fits into the application. Focus on what readers already know about you, as well as what they can’t find out from the rest of your application. Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas Consider several topics. Read More

How to Get a Great Story out of Your Students

I love having lunch with my friend, Ella, who recently retired after years of serving as a great high school counselor here in metro Detroit, where I live. When we last met in person, we had just started going out again post-lockdown. It felt like a million years had passed. We started talking about her previous job Read More

Best Tips for Managing Parent College Essay Expectations

Several years ago, a few days before an application deadline, a mom reached out to me in a panic. I had worked with her eldest child on his application essays; she didn’t like his Common App essay. I loved his story. Even better, he was happy with his essay, anchored around the moment he learned Read More

How to Talk to Parents about Imperfect Essays

At least once a week, someone asks Susan or me a variation on this question: How do you talk to parents about imperfect essays? We nod because we get it. Parents often have unrealistic expectations, not because they are unreasonable, but because they don’t really understand the role of the college essay in the application package. Read More

Tell Me Something Good! (And Pat Yourself on the Back)

We’re past the Nov. 1 deadline. Do you feel any relief? Will you be able to unwind for the short Thanksgiving break? We hope you give yourself a bit of time off, too (which means please try hard not to read student essays while roasting that turkey or watching football!) As we move into regular Read More

How to Get it Right with the UC Personal Insight Questions

Imagine UC was a person. If we met face-to-face, what would you want us to know about you? These personal insight questions allow you to tell us. You could write about your creative side. Your thoughts on leadership. A challenge you’ve faced. Whatever questions you answer, make sure you show us your personality—just as you Read More

Why Colleges Don’t Want “Unique” Application Essays

I cringe when I hear parents, teachers, students, and counselors talk about the importance of being “unique” in a college essay. Why? Because it’s not true. Because too many people believe it. Because at Wow, we are so committed to accuracy, and no matter how many times we tell people this is a myth, it Read More

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