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Essay help for college application

Jun 15, 2018

Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company. Booker T. Washington

Top Reasons to Buy Application Essay

The graduation approaches and you are already thinking your college options. Who offers the best programs? Whose ratings have jumped up since the last year? Who has the drama club? Whose tuition can you afford, given all the related expenses?

It’s easy to get a massive headache from all these questions. Let’s assume you have already made up your mind and now have to make it to the college of your choice.

That’s a difficult thing to do if you are a competitive person who chose a high-level institution. Alas, we can’t make your GPA go up or fill in the application form for you. What we can do, however, is write a kickass application paper for you. In fact, we can write as many of them as you need to apply to all the decent colleges (Our advice is to write a custom one for each college to improve your chances of success).

The reasons? We will give you just a few of them:

  1. Significant improvement of the result. Experience matters most in this endeavor, and having insider knowledge does too. Having a few former admission officers among our freelance writers, we can write a knowledgeable essay for college application. It also helps that our writers have done it multiple times before with an impressive level of success.
  2. You save time on improving your GPA. College preparation starts long before graduation, so you will still have time to work on your academic performance.
  3. Some peace of mind. We are sure you are good at writing and expressing your personality on paper, but by hiring external help, you will eliminate the “personal” factor from the equation and rely on pure skill and experience.

Funny enough, writing a college application essay is the most person-oriented thing you will do in terms of academic papers. However, the experience proves that the process benefits a lot from a third-party perspective and contribution. In simple words, another person can describe your merits better than you could do it yourself. This is how the brain works, and it would be a waste not to use it to your advantage.

I used every single one of my fast waning powers of influence to get my oldest son to cut his hair. I begged, bribed, teased, and—eventually—grew to ignore it. Not only did it stand out like a sore thumb in Fairfield County, Conn., it stood in stark contrast to the hair of our friends’ sons, which was closely cropped and perfectly shaped.

Somewhere in the tangle of my son’s nine-foot afro, I learned an interesting lesson about how parenting for conformity can make the college application process a lot more difficult.

I am not proud of it, but watching the other toddlers crawl, I worried when my first child showed little interest in crawling or walking even though he spoke like he could deliver the nightly news.

Now, as a college consultant, I have to convince other people’s children to recognize and embrace what makes them different. After all, there is really only one essay question when it comes right down to it, and it is:

“What can you bring, teach, or offer to other students on our campus?”

Therein lies the difficulty of this process. “Difference” for many parents and students has been an obstacle, even the enemy. Now, when difference is to be celebrated and prized, it’s not so easy to uncover. Ahead of our brainstorming meeting, distraught parents will drop their student off at my office and announce in exasperation, “Good luck brainstorming about what to write for the essay. We got nothing!”

Here are a few tips to make it easier to find the right long essay topic for you:

Tip #1. Do Not Read the Long Essay Prompts

This sounds counterintuitive, I know. But the prompts give you enough freedom to write whatever story you want to tell about yourself. So don’t restrict yourself by reading them until after you write your story. Write first, and then choose the “right” prompt.

Tip #2. Think of Your Essay as a “Slice”

The essay should not and cannot be about every moment you’ve existed on God’s green earth. Choose a slice of your story that represents you at your very best and tell it in excruciating detail. (You can always address word count and trim the details later.)

Tip #3. Avoid These Four Over-used Essay Topics

If you feel you simply must use one of these topics, know that you will need to make your essay extra compelling.

25 Best Colleges 2016

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/saint-johns-university/" target="_blank">Saint John’s University</a> is a Catholic school for men that partners with a nearby women’s school, College of Saint Benedict, to share academic programs and campuses resources. Nearly 80% of students at Saint John’s graduate within six years, 12% higher than similar schools. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/saint-johns-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/saint-johns-university/" target="_blank">Saint John’s University</a> is a Catholic school for men that partners with a nearby women’s school, College of Saint Benedict, to share academic programs and campuses resources. Nearly 80% of students at Saint John’s graduate within six years, 12% higher than similar schools. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/saint-johns-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of St. John's University

Recently admitted <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/california-institute-of-technology/" target="_blank">CalTech</a> students scored about 1600 on average on their SATs—higher than at MIT or Stanford. Professors are notoriously hard graders. The school boasts 34 Nobel laureates among alumni and faculty. Recent grads tend to get high-paying jobs.  <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/california-institute-of-technology/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> Recently admitted <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/california-institute-of-technology/" target="_blank">CalTech</a> students scored about 1600 on average on their SATs—higher than at MIT or Stanford. Professors are notoriously hard graders. The school boasts 34 Nobel laureates among alumni and faculty. Recent grads tend to get high-paying jobs.  <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/california-institute-of-technology/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of California Institute of Technology

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/pomona-college/" target="_blank">Pomona</a> is among the handful of schools vowing to meet student’s full demonstrated need with aid, so more than 70% of grads have no student debt. With 1,600 undergraduates, Pomona features close student-faculty relationships. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/pomona-college/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/pomona-college/" target="_blank">Pomona</a> is among the handful of schools vowing to meet student’s full demonstrated need with aid, so more than 70% of grads have no student debt. With 1,600 undergraduates, Pomona features close student-faculty relationships. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/pomona-college/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of Ponoma College

Illinois’s <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-illinois-at-urbana-champaign/" target="_blank">flagship university</a> is among the top 15 public schools on the National Science Foundation’s list of high research spenders, and its strongest programs include accounting, engineering, and physics. Students also have access to the country’s second largest university library system. (Only Harvard’s is larger.) <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-illinois-at-urbana-champaign/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> Illinois’s <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-illinois-at-urbana-champaign/" target="_blank">flagship university</a> is among the top 15 public schools on the National Science Foundation’s list of high research spenders, and its strongest programs include accounting, engineering, and physics. Students also have access to the country’s second largest university library system. (Only Harvard’s is larger.) <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-illinois-at-urbana-champaign/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy University of Illinois

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/clemson-university/" target="_blank">Clemson</a> was founded as an agricultural college, and while agricultural science is still a specialty, more general programs such as business are more popular today. Most every one at this rural campus is united by an enormous amount of school pride, especially around the football team. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/clemson-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/clemson-university/" target="_blank">Clemson</a> was founded as an agricultural college, and while agricultural science is still a specialty, more general programs such as business are more popular today. Most every one at this rural campus is united by an enormous amount of school pride, especially around the football team. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/clemson-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of Clemson University

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-los-angeles/" target="_blank">UCLA</a> produces a lot of stars: professors like Internet pioneer Leonard Kleinrock, grads in show business like Ben Stiller, and others in pro sports like Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The school also supports ordinary students as well, with more than one third from low-income families. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-los-angeles/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-los-angeles/" target="_blank">UCLA</a> produces a lot of stars: professors like Internet pioneer Leonard Kleinrock, grads in show business like Ben Stiller, and others in pro sports like Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The school also supports ordinary students as well, with more than one third from low-income families. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-los-angeles/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of UCLA

Like most large public schools, the <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-maryland-college-park/" target="_blank">University of Maryland</a> has some all-star professors. The faculty roster boasts three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners and, thanks to the campus’s proximity to Washington, D.C., leaders in major positions at federal agencies like NASA and the National Institutes of Health. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-maryland-college-park/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> Like most large public schools, the <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-maryland-college-park/" target="_blank">University of Maryland</a> has some all-star professors. The faculty roster boasts three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners and, thanks to the campus’s proximity to Washington, D.C., leaders in major positions at federal agencies like NASA and the National Institutes of Health. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-maryland-college-park/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of University of Maryland

While <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/virginia-polytechnic-institute-and-state-university/" target="_blank">Virginia Tech</a> is known especially for engineering, its business, social sciences, and agriculture programs are also strong. The campus Math Emporium houses hundreds of computers programmed with lessons that have boosted students’ math prowess. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/virginia-polytechnic-institute-and-state-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> While <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/virginia-polytechnic-institute-and-state-university/" target="_blank">Virginia Tech</a> is known especially for engineering, its business, social sciences, and agriculture programs are also strong. The campus Math Emporium houses hundreds of computers programmed with lessons that have boosted students’ math prowess. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/virginia-polytechnic-institute-and-state-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of Virginia Polytechnic

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-davis/" target="_blank">UC–Davis</a> has made a reputation as an affordable school that produces results. About 43% of students are low-income, but its six-year graduation rate is a high 83%. The school is best known for its agriculture and animal science specialties. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-davis/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-davis/" target="_blank">UC–Davis</a> has made a reputation as an affordable school that produces results. About 43% of students are low-income, but its six-year graduation rate is a high 83%. The school is best known for its agriculture and animal science specialties. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-davis/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of University of California

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-irvine/" target="_blank">UC-Irvine</a> shines in serving one of the most diverse student bodies in the country: More than 40% of students come from low-income families. Yet the school still boasts an 86% graduation rate—an impressive 41% higher than similar colleges. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-irvine/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-irvine/" target="_blank">UC-Irvine</a> shines in serving one of the most diverse student bodies in the country: More than 40% of students come from low-income families. Yet the school still boasts an 86% graduation rate—an impressive 41% higher than similar colleges. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-irvine/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of University of California

The <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-florida/" target="_blank">University of Florida</a> is one of the biggest bargains in higher education, with tuition of just $6,300 a year for Floridians. For that low price, students get access to some of the world’s top professors, well-respected programs in fields as diverse as astronomy and journalism, and sports teams that often dominate their leagues. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-florida/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> The <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-florida/" target="_blank">University of Florida</a> is one of the biggest bargains in higher education, with tuition of just $6,300 a year for Floridians. For that low price, students get access to some of the world’s top professors, well-respected programs in fields as diverse as astronomy and journalism, and sports teams that often dominate their leagues. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-florida/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of University of Florida

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-san-diego/" target="_blank">UC-San Diego</a> is one of the top research universities in the country, with renowned science programs, especially in marine biology and oceanography. Like other colleges in the University of California system, the San Diego campus stands out for its comparative affordability for state residents. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-san-diego/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-san-diego/" target="_blank">UC-San Diego</a> is one of the top research universities in the country, with renowned science programs, especially in marine biology and oceanography. Like other colleges in the University of California system, the San Diego campus stands out for its comparative affordability for state residents. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-san-diego/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of University of Califo

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/texas-a-and-m-university-college-station/" target="_blank">Texas A&M</a> has one of the largest undergraduate student bodies in the country, with more the 40,000 students who graduate into an especially proud, loyal group of alumni. The college is well known for its business, agriculture, and engineering programs, as well as a recreation, park, and tourism management program. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/texas-a-and-m-university-college-station/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/texas-a-and-m-university-college-station/" target="_blank">Texas A&M</a> has one of the largest undergraduate student bodies in the country, with more the 40,000 students who graduate into an especially proud, loyal group of alumni. The college is well known for its business, agriculture, and engineering programs, as well as a recreation, park, and tourism management program. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/texas-a-and-m-university-college-station/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of Texas A&M;

Like its fellow high-ranking Ivy League peers, Princeton and Harvard, <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/yale-university/" target="_blank">Yale</a> is highly selective. But for students who are admitted, the college promises a very generous financial aid package and courses taught by some of the world’s most extraordinary academics. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/yale-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> Like its fellow high-ranking Ivy League peers, Princeton and Harvard, <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/yale-university/" target="_blank">Yale</a> is highly selective. But for students who are admitted, the college promises a very generous financial aid package and courses taught by some of the world’s most extraordinary academics. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/yale-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of Yale University

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/massachusetts-institute-of-technology/" target="_blank">MIT</a> is one of the best known and most respected science colleges in the world. It’s competitive selection process and grueling course load produces results, though—recent graduates boast one of the highest average salaries in MONEY’s rankings, according to PayScale data. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/massachusetts-institute-of-technology/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/massachusetts-institute-of-technology/" target="_blank">MIT</a> is one of the best known and most respected science colleges in the world. It’s competitive selection process and grueling course load produces results, though—recent graduates boast one of the highest average salaries in MONEY’s rankings, according to PayScale data. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/massachusetts-institute-of-technology/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of MIT

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/stanford-university/" target="_blank">Stanford</a> isn’t one of the eight members of the elite Ivy League, but it would fit right in. It’s the hardest school in the country to get into and has generous financial aid policies like Princeton and Harvard. But here’s a key difference: Recent graduates report average annual salaries that are $8,000 higher than those of Ivy League grads. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/stanford-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/stanford-university/" target="_blank">Stanford</a> isn’t one of the eight members of the elite Ivy League, but it would fit right in. It’s the hardest school in the country to get into and has generous financial aid policies like Princeton and Harvard. But here’s a key difference: Recent graduates report average annual salaries that are $8,000 higher than those of Ivy League grads. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/stanford-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

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<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-virginia-main-campus/" target="_blank">UVA</a> boasts the highest graduation rate of any public university in the country, at 93%. The university’s academic strengths are wide-ranging, and the campus is the only U.S. college to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks its connection to founder Thomas Jefferson. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-virginia-main-campus/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-virginia-main-campus/" target="_blank">UVA</a> boasts the highest graduation rate of any public university in the country, at 93%. The university’s academic strengths are wide-ranging, and the campus is the only U.S. college to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks its connection to founder Thomas Jefferson. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-virginia-main-campus/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of University of Virgin

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/cooper-union-for-the-advancement-of-science-and-art/" target="_blank">Cooper Union</a> is unique—a small, urban school that offers degrees only in art, architecture, and engineering. Though Cooper Union no longer has the free tuition policy it was founded with, it’s still much more affordable than other elite private colleges. 
                                  <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/cooper-union-for-the-advancement-of-science-and-art/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/cooper-union-for-the-advancement-of-science-and-art/" target="_blank">Cooper Union</a> is unique—a small, urban school that offers degrees only in art, architecture, and engineering. Though Cooper Union no longer has the free tuition policy it was founded with, it’s still much more affordable than other elite private colleges. 
                                  <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/cooper-union-for-the-advancement-of-science-and-art/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of Cooper Union

An elite liberal arts college, <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/amherst-college/" target="_blank">Amherst</a> is one of a small group of schools that will meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need of students. As a result, more than two-thirds of its students graduate without taking out loans. 
                                  <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/amherst-college/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> An elite liberal arts college, <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/amherst-college/" target="_blank">Amherst</a> is one of a small group of schools that will meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need of students. As a result, more than two-thirds of its students graduate without taking out loans. 
                                  <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/amherst-college/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of Amherst College

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-berkeley/" target="_blank">UC-Berkeley</a>, or Cal for short, ranks the highest of eight University of California system schools that made MONEY’s rankings. In fact, Cal is one of the most selective public colleges in the country. More than 90% of freshmen graduate within six years, a rate well above even other elite public universities.
                                  <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-berkeley/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-berkeley/" target="_blank">UC-Berkeley</a>, or Cal for short, ranks the highest of eight University of California system schools that made MONEY’s rankings. In fact, Cal is one of the most selective public colleges in the country. More than 90% of freshmen graduate within six years, a rate well above even other elite public universities.
                                  <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-california-berkeley/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

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<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/brigham-young-university-provo/" target="_blank">BYU-Provo</a> is the main campus of a private college system specializing in educating members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Non-Mormons can attend, but are charged more tuition and must obey the school’s strict code of conduct. The university has a high graduation rate at an affordable price for a private education.
                                  <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/brigham-young-university-provo/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/brigham-young-university-provo/" target="_blank">BYU-Provo</a> is the main campus of a private college system specializing in educating members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Non-Mormons can attend, but are charged more tuition and must obey the school’s strict code of conduct. The university has a high graduation rate at an affordable price for a private education.
                                  <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/brigham-young-university-provo/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of Brigham Young University

The typical <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/rice-university/" target="_blank">Rice</a> student majors in engineering, economics, or biology, and the university is also well known in the field of political science. Graduates of the selective private school fare well in the workforce: Recent grads out-earn their peers from similar schools by 16%, according to salary data from Payscale.com. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/rice-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> The typical <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/rice-university/" target="_blank">Rice</a> student majors in engineering, economics, or biology, and the university is also well known in the field of political science. Graduates of the selective private school fare well in the workforce: Recent grads out-earn their peers from similar schools by 16%, according to salary data from Payscale.com. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/rice-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Courtesy of Rice University

<a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/harvard-university/" target="_blank">Harvard</a> may be the most recognizable college in the world, and it’s practically synonymous with the prestigious Ivy League. Like many of its peers, Harvard excels in MONEY’s rankings not only because of the outstanding education it provides but also thanks to its generous financial aid program. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/harvard-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/harvard-university/" target="_blank">Harvard</a> may be the most recognizable college in the world, and it’s practically synonymous with the prestigious Ivy League. Like many of its peers, Harvard excels in MONEY’s rankings not only because of the outstanding education it provides but also thanks to its generous financial aid program. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/harvard-university/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

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The <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-michigan-ann-arbor/" target="_blank">University of Michigan</a> accepts less than a third of the nearly 50,000 students who apply, and is nearly as popular with out-of-staters as with Michiganders. State residents who get in enjoy an especially good deal: Michigan is one of 11 colleges in MONEY’s top 50 where the average in-state cost of a degree is less than $100,000. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-michigan-ann-arbor/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a> The <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-michigan-ann-arbor/" target="_blank">University of Michigan</a> accepts less than a third of the nearly 50,000 students who apply, and is nearly as popular with out-of-staters as with Michiganders. State residents who get in enjoy an especially good deal: Michigan is one of 11 colleges in MONEY’s top 50 where the average in-state cost of a degree is less than $100,000. <a href="http://new.time.com/money/best-colleges/profile/university-of-michigan-ann-arbor/" target="_blank">FULL PROFILE</a>

Dave Lauridsen for MONEY

<a href=Princeton University's
generous financial aid makes it, according to MONEY’s analysis, the most affordable member of the Ivy League. The school gives out such large grants to the six in 10 families who qualify (families earning less than $250,000 generally get some aid) that more than 83% of students graduate without any debt. FULL PROFILE" class="lazyOwl owl-lazy" src="https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/2016_08_best_colleges_princeton_01.jpg"> <a href=Princeton University's generous financial aid makes it, according to MONEY’s analysis, the most affordable member of the Ivy League. The school gives out such large grants to the six in 10 families who qualify (families earning less than $250,000 generally get some aid) that more than 83% of students graduate without any debt. FULL PROFILE" src="https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/2016_08_best_colleges_princeton_01.jpg">

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Tip #4. Ask Yourself Some Questions

  1. How are you similar to and different from your siblings, parents, and friends?
  1. When have you been most proud of yourself—what is the story?
  1. Tell me about your best day ever.
  1. What do your peers and friends admire about you most? What do they say you are good at?
  1. What’s your “super power?” Making small talk? Solving problems?
  1. Who are you among your friends?
  1. What role do you take on in your family?
  1. What is your family dynamic and how does it change, impact, inform your view of the world?

Tip #5. As You Write, Notice…

Are you enjoying what you are writing? Does the topic come easily to you? Is it boring? The feeling you have as you write will be the feeling you give to your reader. Bored writers make for bored readers. Excited writers make for eager readers.

Tip #6. Ignore the Word Count (Initially)

Allow yourself at least two drafts to get your story out. Once you like your first draft, start to cut (or add) words.

Tip #7. Come Close to the Maximum Number of Words

If the maximum count for the essay is 650 words, but you have said all you need to say in 100 words, you will either need to have supreme confidence in yourself as an amazing writer, or you are leaving money on the table and not sharing enough about yourself. Make sure you choose the right “slice” of yourself to discuss, one so full and rich in detail that you’ll have no problem telling it in 650 words.

Choosing what to write about in the essay is important and it is doable. The “slice” of you that you write about can be funny, dramatic, or even humbling, but most importantly it must be your tale and it must describe you. And yes, my son’s essay did incorporate his afro, and he did get into his first-choice college!

Stephanie Klein Wassink is founder and CEO of Winning Applications College Consulting and AdmissionsCheckup.com, an online service in which former admissions officers check students’ applications and give (brutally) honest feedback, before the students submit them to colleges. She last wrote for us on “What Really Goes on in a College Admissions Office?”

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