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Tagged: Essays

Stop the Hate

January 30th, 2017

Students bullied because they look or act different … students discriminated against because of race or religion … students who know misery because of peers’ unkind words and actions … I’ve been immersed in essays about such things as a reviewer for an essay contest sponsored by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Ohio.  My heart has been wrenched by vivid, distressing details and then uplifted as students described resolution and positive action taken.

The name of the contest drew me in:  Stop the Hate.  When a colleague put out word that the Museum needed readers, I signed up immediately.  Like many of you, I’ve been especially troubled by the vitriol of the election season, by the fact that people with differing opinions no longer seem willing to hear one another, let alone show kindness to one another.  Sadly, The New York Times has even seen fit to start a weekly series called, “This Week in Hate.”

Our actions in matters large and small can either push back against what we feel to be wrong, reflect complacency or, worse still, feed the hate. I choose the first.  Reading essays for the “Stop the Hate” contest isn’t a big step but a first step for me; in my interactions with advisees and in volunteer mode, I hope to have an impact on people’s ability and willingness to understand one another.  As a reader for the essay contest, I hoped to be inspired by the next generation and I wasn’t disappointed.  Perhaps my own words and actions can stir others.

There’s no time like the present to think about what matters to us and what we can do to further causes that we believe in.  What are you doing to make the world what you’d like it to be?  We’ll welcome responses from students and parents alike and may share a compilation of replies in a future blog post.

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius


End note:  the essay contest is for students residing in counties in and around Cleveland, Ohio and the deadline has passed for this year’s competition.

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Class of 2017, College Essays Await!

May 31st, 2016

The Common Application and the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success have both released their essay topics for next year.  Now is when the fun starts! Brainstorming, daydreaming, identifying the best parts of who you are to share through your prose with admission committees can be a wonderful exercise.  Become a playwright or a screenwriter; think of vibrant details that can come alive through story-telling, giving readers a wonderful sense of your voice and personality.

We’re often conflicted about offering examples of essays past, as it’s so important that students’ essays be authentic and very much their own.  Some colleges, however, have done us the favor of posting “essays that worked” so new applicants can have some useful context.

Whether or not you’re applying to either college, the sites are well worth exploring as they offer excellent tips and examples.


On a more concrete level, here’s what you need to know about the Common Application and Coalition essays.

The Common App has been around for a long time and has over 600 college and university members at this time.  Their essay topics sometimes change from year to year but for the 2016-2017 year they will offer the same five questions as last year. You’ll choose one essay prompt out of the five given, with a recommended 650 word limit.  To find the essay prompts for the Common App, follow the link below.

Read more at Common Application>>

The Class of 2017 will be the first to have the option of applying through the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success if they wish.  This application currently serves about 90 college and university members, many of which overlap with the Common Application membership.  The Coalition’s essay prompts have themes similar to those from the Common App, with the exception of the last, “topic of your choice.”  As with the Common App, applicants will choose one of the five essay prompts, each with a recommended word limit of 550 words.  To find the essay prompts for the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, follow the link below.

Read more at Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success>>

We look forward to brainstorming with our Comprehensive advisees who are rising seniors, and reading everyone’s essays when ready for review in the months to come. Summer is a great time for many things, including tackling college essays and applications.

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College Essays: It’s Not Too Late to Start!

October 8th, 2015

While many seniors have already completed their college essays, others are still brainstorming and writing.  Some students wait to get started until deadlines are nigh; some have a hard time clearing a roadblock to reach a finished product.  If you’re still working or waiting, this article posted by US News may be helpful.  Author Devon Haynie gives us a look into essays from two students who were admitted to Johns Hopkins University. Haynie expresses important components to consider when writing your essay and gives detailed opinions on why she believes the two students’ essays were successful.

Article published September 9, 2015

Written by:  Devon Haynie

Writing a college essay could very well be the most high pressure part of the college application process.

At some point, there is little students can do about grades, extracurricular activities and what will and won’t be said in their recommendation letters. The essay is the one component of the application students can control fully, and provides one last chance to leave a lasting impression.

Read more at US News >>

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Just in time for college essay writing season!

June 20th, 2013

Essay-writers, take note: even college professors need advice about jump-starting the writing process! Rachel Toor’s article provides some good, common sense advice for all of us, no matter what the writing task at hand.

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