I had been planning to write a post about how to write college application essays. I have just abandoned that idea because of a recent e-book I was sent to review. The book is entitled “The Basics for Writing College Application Essays: Simple How-to Steps for Writing All College Essays from the Personal Statement to the Short Activity Essay, ” by Jan Rideout.
I have read dozens of “how to” college essay books over the years and some are good while others are not. The only one that I consistently would recommend was “On Writing the College Application Essay” by Harry Bauld. I now have another book to recommend in The Basics for Writing College Application Essays (or even better ask for help Research Paper Writing Service).
So what did I like about the book? Several things. First, the writing style is conversational without being too cute. It also provides explanations and details of the process of writing a college application essay without being condescending.
Second, the author does a wonderful job of breaking the application essay process down into managable parts. She starts with one of the most important parts of the essay, and one of the most forgotten, the need to think before you write. But you are not just told to think about what to write, the author guides you through a detailed process of what to consider.
Third, a major strength of the book is the use of actual essay prompts from the common app as well as various colleges throughout the country. The author discusses in detail each prompt to evaluate the prompt and then discusses issues surrounding the answering of that prompt. After discussing the prompts, the author then reviews actual essay responses to that prompt and dissects the answers to show what worked and what didn’t. This use of examples is one of the greatest strengths of the book and the examples alone make the book worth the cost.
After thoroughly addressing the main essay, the author then addresses short essays, supplemental and optional essays, the special circumstance essay and finally scholarship essays.
The only thing in the book that I really didn’t think was necessary was at the end of the book where the author discusses the application cover letter. While there are a few instances where actual letters are sent, the use of online admissions seems to have made the application letter a thing of the past. Moreover, particularly when dealing with selective college admissions, few application readers will have the time or inclination to read a cover letter.
The author of this e-book is Jan Rideout. Jan is a retired high school English teacher as well as a National Writing Project consultant. Jan is one of the principals of the College Basics website which I have recommended in the past for their solid information on the college admissions process. In the interest of full disclosure I have written a few articles for the College Basics website in the past but otherwise I have no affiliation with them and have received nothing from them except for a copy of this e-book. The book is available through the College Basics website for $15.99.
I highly recommend that any student that has to write a college essay of any type buy this book.