Pretend Youre Writing An Essay

Everyone has the ability to write the perfect essay.

The ideas are inside your child’s or student’s brain just waiting to be put on paper in a form that everyone can read.



The following is an excerpt from the book Instant Learning for Amazing Grades.

Schools and home-schools require essay writing, so do colleges and college entrance exams, so, why not learn a few simple tips to make essay writing easy?  Below is a template, followed by 9 additional easy steps on how to write the perfect essay every time.

 

Template for Excellent Essays

 

1.  Write down the topic you are writing about – simple, straightforward

Example: Amazing Grades

2.   Brainstorm ideas that someone interested in your topic would also be interested in.    This helps you think of related ideas.

Example: Motivating yourself instantly

Cut learning time in half; higher grades in 14 days

High Performance Memory Strategies

3.   Select a title for your essay – like, Tips for x, or Top 10 Things You Must Do If     You Want Y, etc.

Example: How to Create Higher Grades in 14 Days Using Your Child’s   Personal Learning Style

4.    Pretend your reader knows absolutely nothing about your topic.  What is the first sentence you would use to give them peak their interest?  Perhaps it might be a question, or a simple statement.

Example: Would you like to have higher grades in 14 days?

5.  Keeping in mind your title, explain why you are taking the position you take, or why you believe your title to be true.  This is the part where you use as many facts to support your idea as possible.  Write several sentences, using some of the brainstorms you had in step 2.

Example: Learning can be tough, but you don’t have to do it alone.  Many learning experts say that learning is not about being smart – it’s about strategy.  These experts show you how with xxx…

6.  After you’ve written your supporting ideas and facts, go back and ask yourself if you would like to write a short introductory paragraph.

7.  Then ask yourself if you would like to write a conclusion tying everything together.

8.  Congratulate yourself – you’ve just written an excellent essay!

9 More Easy Steps to Perfect Essays Every Time

a. First, create a Picture Perfect Summary.  Put your title/main idea in the center of the page, make a circle around it and write down all the ideas and key words about your topic that you can think of.  Use one branch off the circle for each main idea.  You’re brainstorming at this point so just write down any ideas that come into your mind.  (That’s how I write magazine and news articles and books too)!

b. Look over your Summary of ideas and key words.  Organize them into groups.  Make sure that each group reflects the topic or question that you’re writing about.

c. Divide your groups into the three main parts of the essay – the beginning, middle and the end.  Your beginning has to be snazzy to make your reader want to read more.  The middle develops and supports your main topic.  Back everything you say up with facts, quotations, evidence.  The end will give a clever answer or summary to the original question or idea that you started with and tie up those loose ends.

d. Draft your essay – get on the computer and start in the middle.  That’s how I wrote this book!  Give each idea it’s own paragraph, don’t worry about style and spelling at this point.  You can check this later.  Your Picture Perfect Summary is your guide.  Use all the ideas that you decided were important.

e. Now proceed to write the ending.  Make sure it sums up your answer/summary to the main topic/question.  Look back at the draft of the middle.  Write down the 5 or 10 most important key words.  Find the shortest way to link them together – this is called your ending.

7. Now, draft the beginning.  It will be the overall – big picture of what you’re going to say.  There’s an old saying from my college days English class:  Tell em what you’re going to say, tell em, tell em what you said!  This beginning is very important to set the stage – make sure it’s catchy and makes the reader interested in what you have to say.

8. Now, go to bed and get some rest.  Give the ideas a chance to process in your brain.  Tomorrow you’ll notice a few more points to talk about and think of additional ways to say things.

9. Author, Colin Rose, says, “EDIT – Excellent Draft, Inspirational Text”… read the whole essay aloud to yourself.  Tape record it if you can.  Does it sound logical and convincing? Your are on your way to understanding how to write the perfect essay.

Are your examples bringing your ideas to life?  Check the beginning – is it awesome – does it make sense?  Edit the beginning, middle and end – check spelling and grammar.  Have someone else proofread it too.  Now check the middle.  Did everything you said relate to the main topic or question?  Is it convincing?  Go to your ending.  Edit it – is it punchy?  This is the place to really put on your thinking cap.   Did you really convince your reader??

Polish up how the essay looks – Is it neat, organized, well written?  Are you satisfied that it does the job you started out to do?  Only you can be the judge of this.  Your essay reflects how you think – do you like the way it came out?  If so, turn it in and you now know how to write the perfect essay.

Pat Wyman is a best selling author, university instructor and founder of HowToLearn.com.  One of the faster learning strategies she specializes in is how to write the perfect essay.

 

Posted by +Pat Wyman, author and founder of HowToLearn.com


By iStock

You’ve taken the tests, requested the recommendations, completed the common app, and now it’s finally time to refocus on what you’ve been putting off: the essay.

While most students spend days, sometimes weeks, perfecting their personal statements, admissions officers only spend about three to five minutes actually reading them, according to Jim Rawlins, director of admissions at the University of Oregon.

High school seniors are faced with the challenge of summarizing the last 17 years into 600 words, all while showcasing their “unique” personality against thousands of other candidates.

“It’s hard to find a balance between sounding professional and smart without using all of those long words,” says Lily Klass, a senior at Milford High School in Milford, Mass. “I’m having trouble reflect myself without sounding arrogant or rude or anything like that.”

The following tips will help applicants make the leap from ‘average’ to ‘accepted’:

1. Open with an anecdote.

Since the admissions officers only spend a brief amount of time reviewing stories, it’s pivotal that you engage them from the very beginning.

“Instead of trying to come up with gimmicky, catchy first lines, start by sharing a moment,” says Janine Robinson, writing coach and founder of Essay Hell. “These mini stories naturally grab the reader … it’s the best way to really involve them in the story.”

Let the moment you choose be revealing of your personality and character. Describe how it shaped who you are today and who you will be tomorrow.

2. Put yourself in the school’s position.

At the end of the day, colleges want to accept someone who is going to graduate, be successful in the world and have the university associated with that success. In your essay, it is vital that you present yourself as someone who loves to learn, can think critically and has a passion for things—anything.

“Colleges always say to show your intellectual vitality and curiosity,” Robinson says. “They want kids who are going to hit the ground running—zoom to class and straight out into the world. They want them hungry and self-aware.

RELATED: Goucher College aims to level playing field with video application option

3. Stop trying so hard.

“One of the biggest mistakes students make is trying too hard to impress,” Robinson says. “Trust that it is those every day, specific subjects that are much more interesting to read about.”

Colleges are tired of reading about that time you had a come-from-behind- win in the state championship game or the time you built houses in Ecuador, according to Robinson. Get creative!

Furthermore, you’re writing doesn’t have to sound like Shakespeare. “These essays should read like smart, interesting 17-year-olds wrote them,” says Lacy Crawford, former independent college application counselor and author of Early Decision. “A sense of perspective and self-awareness is what’s interesting.

4. Ditch the thesaurus. Swap sophistication for self-awareness

There is a designated portion of the application section designated to show off your repertoire of words. Leave it there.

On the personal essay, write how you would speak. Using “SAT words” in your personal statement sounds unnatural and distances the reader from you.

“I think most students are torn between a pathway dividing a diary entry and a press release. It’s supposed to be marketing document of the self,” Crawford says.

RELATED: 3 tips for getting your college application materials in on time 

5. Write about what matters to you, not what matters to them

Crawford recommends students begin by answering the question, “if you had 10 minutes to talk to them in person, what would you say?” The admissions teams are looking for authenticity and quality of thinking.

“Theoretically, I think anything could be ‘the perfect topic, as long as you demonstrate how well you think, your logic and ability to hold readers’ attention,” Crawford says.

6. Read the success stories.

“The best advice is to read essays that have worked,” Robinson says. “You’ll be surprised to see that they’re not winning Pulitzers; they are pieces of someone. You want your story to be the one she doesn’t put down.”

Once you find a topic you like, sit down and write for an hour or so. It shouldn’t take longer than that. When you write from your heart, words should come easily.

Rawlins recommends showing the essay to a family member or friend and ask if it sounds like the student. “Take a few days and come back to it. But only do that once,” Rawlins says. “Reading it over and over again will only drive you nuts.”

7. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.

While colleges tend to nod to disadvantaged students, roughing up your background won’t help your cause.

“It’s less about the topic and more about how you frame it and what you have to say about it, Robinson says. “The better essay is has the most interesting thing to say, regardless of a topic that involves a crisis or the mundane.”

The essays serve as a glimpse into how your mind works, how you view the world and provides perspective. If you have never had some earth shattering experience that rocked your world, don’t pretend you did. Your insights will be forced and disingenuous.

RELATED: Who reads your college applications anyway? 

8. Follow the instructions.

While the directions on the applications may sound generic, and even repetitive after applying to a variety of schools, Rawlins points out that every rhyme has a reason.

“They have to know that college put a lot of thought into the instructions we give them—so please follow them!” he says. “We’ve given a lot of thought to the words we use. We want what we ask for.”

9. Use this space to tell them what your application can’t.

Most colleges don’t have the time or bandwidth to research each individual applicant. They only know what you put in front of them. “If they don’t tell us something, we can’t connect the dots,” Rawlins says. “We’re just another person reading their material.”

Like Crawford, he recommends students imagining they are sitting next to him in his office and responding to the question, “What else do I need to know?” And their essays should reflect how they would respond.

At the end of the day, however, Rawlins wants students to know that the personal essay is just another piece of the larger puzzle. “They prescribe way too much importance to the essay,” Rawlins says. “It makes a massive difference—good or bad—to very few out there, so keep it in context.”

 Paige Carlotti is a senior at Syracuse University. 

admissions essay, college applications, Paige Carlotti, writing, VOICES FROM CAMPUS 

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