Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to primary sidebar. Edited by Randall S. Career Resources , student. LiveCareer Staff Writer At LiveCareer, we live and breathe the belief that we can help people transform their work lives, and so do our contributors. Those are all amazing tips to follow. Let us know if there is anything specific we can help you with and good luck! Resources Resources Education Opportunities.
Customer Service Customer Service customerservice livecareer. This was made clear by their enthusiasm, how they treated students, and how much they went above expectations to help. If you honestly like learning and are an enthusiastic, responsible, engaging student, a great recommendation letter will follow naturally.
The horse should lead the cart. Read my How to Get a 4. She was my favorite teacher throughout high school for these reasons:. All of this flowed down to the recommendation you see here. Remember, the horse leads the cart.
The Common Application now has 16 qualities to rate, rather than the 10 here. You can tell that the updated Common App places a great emphasis on personality. The most important point here: The more experienced and trustworthy the teacher, the more meaningful this is.
As you read this, think — what are the interactions that would prompt the teacher to write a recommendation like this? This was a relationship built up in a period of over 2 years, with every small interaction adding to an overall larger impression.
You can see how seriously they take the letter because of all the underlining. The letter here is very strong for a multitude of reasons. First, the length is notable — most letters are just a page long, but this is nearly two full pages , single spaced.
The structure is effective: This is a perfect blend of what effective letters contain. On the micro-level, her diction and phrasing are precise and effective. She makes my standing clear with specific statements: This letter was important to complement the overall academic performance and achievements shown on the rest of my application.
My second teacher Mrs. Swift was another favorite. Emotionally she was a reliable source of support for students. You can see right away that her remarks are terser. You might chalk this up to my not being as standout of a student in her mind, or her getting inundated with recommendation letter requests after over a decade of teaching.
Regardless, I did appreciate the 3 marks she gave me. Once again, as you read this letter, think: Overall, this letter is very strong.
She also writes with the flair of an English teacher:. These comments most support the personality aspect of my Personal Narrative — having an irreverent, bold personality and not being afraid of speaking my mind. She stops just short of making me sound obnoxious and argumentative.
An experienced teacher vouching for this adds so much more weight than just my writing it about myself. Teacher recommendations are some of the most important components of your application. If you want detailed advice on how to interact with teachers earnestly, check out my How to Get a 4. The first piece of this is reporting your academic status and how the school works overall. So it was pretty distinctive that I got a letter from our Principal, compared to other leading applicants from my school.
This was also a blessing because our counseling department was terrible. Our school had nearly 1, students per grade, and only 1 counselor per grade. They were overworked and ornery, and because they were the gatekeepers of academic enrollment like class selection and prerequisites , this led to constant frictions in getting the classes you wanted. But the counseling department was still the worst part of our high school administration, and I could have guessed that the letters they wrote were mediocre because they just had too many students.
So how did my Principal come to write my recommendation and not those for hundreds of other students? Come senior year I might have talked to him about my difficulty in reaching counselors and asked that he write my recommendation. Since I was a top student he was probably happy to do this. Interestingly, the prompt for the recommendation has changed. It used to start with: Now, it starts with: The purpose of the recommendation has shifted to the specific: This letter is probably the weakest overall of all my letters.
It reads more like a verbal resume than a personal account of how he understands me. I still appreciate that he wrote my letter, and it was probably more effective than a generic counselor letter. This is the same application I sent to every school I applied to, including Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford. Harvard was and is the same. Just as in my Common App, I noted that I was most likely to study biological sciences, choose Medicine as my vocation, and participate in orchestra, writing, and research as my extracurriculars.
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The reason was that I was actually pretty mediocre at violin and was nowhere near national-ranked. I wanted to focus attention on my most important materials, which for my Personal Narrative meant my research work. For the most part, the Harvard supplemental essay prompt has stayed the same. You can write about a topic of your choice or about any of the suggestions.
Even though this is optional, I highly recommend you write something here. Again, you have so few chances in the overall application to convey your personal voice — an extra words gives you a huge opportunity.
I would guess that the majority of admitted Harvard students submit a Writing Supplement. After a lot of brainstorming, I settled on the idea that I wanted to balance my application by writing about the major non-academic piece of my Personal Narrative — my music training.
Reading it now, I actually think this was a pretty bad essay, and I cringe to high heaven. I used my violin teacher as a vehicle for talking about what the violin meant to me. You can tell I love the concept of the vehicle in essays. He represented passion for the violin — I represented my academic priorities. Our personal conflict was really the conflict between what we represented.
Halfway in the essay, I also explicitly acknowledged the Asian stereotype of parents who drove their kids, and said my parents were no different. The reader underlined this sentence. By pointing this out and showing how my interest took on a life of its own, I wanted to distance myself from that stereotype. Despite all that, this essay was WAY overdramatic and overwrought. Some especially terrible lines:. Who really honestly feels this way? This is clumsy, contrived writing.
It signals insincerity, actually, which is bad. To be fair, all of this is grounded in truth. I did have a strict violin teacher who did get pretty upset when I showed lack of improvement. I did appreciate music as a diversion to round out my academic focus.
I did practice hard each day, and I did have a pretty gross callus on my pinky. But really the best approach is to be honest. I think this essay was probably neutral to my application, not a strong net positive or net negative.
Harvard lets you submit letters from up to two Other Recommenders. The Princeton application, Penn application, and others are usually the same. Unlike the other optional components the Additional Information in the Common App, and the Supplementary Essay , I would actually consider these letters optional.
The reader gets most of the recommendation value from your teacher recommendations — these are really supplementary. To beat a dead horse, the primary component of my Personal Narrative was my science and research work. So naturally I chose supervisors for my two major research experiences to write supplemental letters. This letter validates my participation in RSI and incorporates the feedback from my research mentor, David Simon. My mentor, who was at one of the major Harvard-affiliated hospitals, said some very nice things about my research ability, like:.
My first research experience was done at Jisan Research Institute, a small private computer science lab run by a Caltech PhD. My research supervisor, Sanza Kazadi, wrote the letter. In the letter, he focused on the quality of my work and leadership. He said that I had a strong focus in my work, and my research moved along more reliably than that of other students.
I was independent in my work in swarm engineering, he says, putting together a simulation of the swarm and publishing a paper in conference proceedings. He talked about my work in leading a research group and placing a high degree of trust in me. One notable point — both supplemental letters had no marks on them. I really think this means they place less emphasis on the supplementary recommendations, compared to the teacher recommendations.
Let me beat the dead horse even deader. Because research was such a core part of my Personal Narrative, I decided to include abstracts of both of my papers. This is why I chose not to submit a tape of my music: I made sure to note where the papers had been published or were entering competitions, just to ground the work in some achievement.
So there we have it — my entire college application. As promised, I showed you every single page and word, in excruciating detail. Once again, the point of my showing this to you is NOT to give you an application to replicate, but rather to talk you through how to craft a compelling, coherent application.
From my advice, you should be able to go through similar thinking and apply the concepts to your own situation. The earlier you are in high school, the more time you have to prepare and implement the right strategies to build a strong, distinctive application.
Here are the most important questions that form the foundation of your application:. If you execute successfully on these three dimensions, you will be on the path to getting admission to schools like Harvard and Princeton. I know, easier said than done. But you can accomplish a lot more than you think if you work hard and strategize smartly. At this point, most of your application is set in stone. Your job now is to package your 3 years of work into a cohesive, compelling application.
Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. I actually succeeded in springing it. My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos.
With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally. My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant.
At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned. A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try. So what if our dining room table only has six chairs for seven people?
Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night. But more than punctuality and a special affinity for musical chairs, my family life has taught me to thrive in situations over which I have no power. Growing up, I never controlled my older siblings, but I learned how to thwart their attempts to control me. I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary.
Sometimes, I was the poor, defenseless little brother; sometimes I was the omniscient elder. Different things to different people, as the situation demanded. I learned to adapt. Back then, these techniques were merely reactions undertaken to ensure my survival. But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo.
Then, I realized I knew the answer. I knew why the coat hanger had been handed to me. Growing up as the middle child in my family, I was a vital participant in a thing I did not govern, in the company of people I did not choose. You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness.
My family experience taught me to face a serendipitous world with confidence. I had never broken into a car before. In just eight words, we get: Is he headed for a life of crime? Is he about to be scared straight? Notice how whenever he can, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one. Details also help us visualize the emotions of the people in the scene. Finally, the detail of actual speech makes the scene pop. Instead of writing that the other guy asked him to unlock the van, Stephen has the guy actually say his own words in a way that sounds like a teenager talking.
They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. Obviously, knowing how to clean burning oil is not high on the list of things every 9-year-old needs to know.
To emphasize this, Stephen uses sarcasm by bringing up a situation that is clearly over-the-top: The humor also feels relaxed. This helps keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant. This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays. But using too many of these ready-made expressions runs the risk of clouding out your own voice and replacing it with something expected and boring.
We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in. I have always loved riding in cars. As I grew, and graduated into the shotgun seat, it became natural and enjoyable to look out the window.
Seeing my world passing by through that smudged glass, I would daydream what I could do with it. In elementary school, I already knew my career path: I was going to be Emperor of the World. While I sat in the car and watched the miles pass by, I developed the plan for my empire.
I reasoned that, for the world to run smoothly, it would have to look presentable. I would assign people, aptly named Fixer-Uppers, to fix everything that needed fixing. That old man down the street with chipping paint on his house would have a fresh coat in no time. The boy who accidentally tossed his Frisbee onto the roof of the school would get it back.
The big pothole on Elm Street that my mother managed to hit every single day on the way to school would be filled-in.
Learn how to write a successful college application essay using the three-step process for writing your personal college admissions essay. Gaining entrance to just about any college or university continues to get harder as more and more applicants are applying for a limited number of spaces.
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college application essay help online successful College application personal statements and supplemental essays that worked. See how thousands of students got in to top schools and improve your chance of itsolutionkh.ml expert feedback on your college application essay within 24 itsolutionkh.ml its important and how you can help. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step.
Essays That Worked–Examples of Successful College Applications I’m often asked by clients and others about how to craft the perfect college essay. One way to get an idea of what colleges are looking for is to read some great essays from students who have been successful in their bid to enter a selective university. I appreciate that writing your college essay in the summer is a major buzz kill, but if you start one now, you'll thank me in the fall when it's application crunchtime.