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Common App Essay Help

Common App Essays

Common App Essays Are Hard to Write

If you have found your way to this website by searching online for Common App Essay help – welcome!

You have come to the right place.

My name is Alan Stransman, and providing Common App Essay help to students is what this website is all about.

Before I explain how I help students like you with their Common Application essay, let’s take a moment to talk about what the Common Application is, as some students are unsure.


A Frequently-Asked Question: What is The Common Application?

The Common Application is a group of colleges and universities – there are now over 500 members of the College Application member organization – who are all committed to promoting a process of evaluating applications for admission that is not only fair to everyone, but is also “holistic” in its approach, meaning that it takes into consideration the “whole” person behind the application, not just the grades and test scores.

In very simple terms, the goal of the Common Application is to create a standardized process whereby every student who applies for admission to a college or university is evaluated by the same criteria.

The objective is to create a process that helps everyone involved in the application and admission process – the student who is applying, the high school that is advising the student and the college or university that is evaluating the application.

So, on one level, the Common Application is all about creating a simple way for you to apply to the colleges and universities of your choice and a simple way – and a fair way – for those colleges and universities to evaluate your application, compared to all of the other applicants.

Now, where things get a bit confusing is that the group of schools that have bonded together are called The Common Application, and the application process which they use is also called The Common Application – but once you grasp that, you shouldn’t have any further problems understanding that the Common Application is all about.


How the Common Application Essay or “Common App Essay” Fits In

One of the most important words in the above paragraph is “holistic” – the schools that have bought into the Common Application understand that there is more to an applicant than just grades and test scores.

College and university campuses are actual communities and vibrant communities are made up of interesting people – and that’s why the members of the College Application organization want to know a bit about who you are and what makes you special.

That’s hard to do when there are tens of thousands of applications pouring in, but one of the ways in which the Common Application tries to find out who you are as a person is by giving you the opportunity to write something about yourself.

The Common App Essay is your chance to say to the admissions officer or committee – “Hey, here’s something about me that you probably don’t know, and I really want you to know about it before you make a decision on my application.”

This is how you need to look at the Common Application essay – not as a requirement that you need to provide to make sure that your application is complete and not as a question that has a right or a wrong answer.

No – you need to think of the Common App essay as your chance to stand up and say, “Hey, here’s something really important about me that I want you to know.”


Common App Essay Help Begins by Choosing What It Is You Want to Say

I’ve worked with a lot of students, and most of them come to me for help with their essay after they have already written a draft.

Usually, they have written a draft of their essay, they have shown it to their parents and, perhaps, some other family members, and they want to run it by an Essay Tutor like me to see if I can suggest improvements.

That’s fine – as long as the topic that they have chosen to write about is strong – even if it is, I can usually suggest some ways to improve the overall writing quality.

After all, I have four university degrees including two Master’s degrees and have been writing professionally for over 30 years.

It stands to reason that I can help just about any high school students elevate his or her writing.

But what I cannot do – and neither can anyone else – is make a weak essay strong.

I can make a poorly-written essay better, and a well-written essay even better still – BUT if the basic concept of the essay is boring, unoriginal or lacking insight, I can’t transform it into a Common App essay that will actually help a student get accepted into college or university.

In other words – the choice of topic is crucial – if you don’t get that right, your essay will be doomed from the start.


How a Common App Essay Tutor Can Help You Write a Compelling Essay

Let me be very clear – the Common App Essay is not only one of the most important essays you will ever write – a good one can help you get in and a poor one can sink your application – it is also one of the most difficult essays you will ever write.

There are many reasons why the Common App essay is difficult, but the main reason is that it challenges students to do something that they are not used to doing.

The whole point of the essay is to look at your life experiences – and, let’s face it, if you’re in high school, you don’t have that many life experiences – and pick out one thing – a story, an experience, a place, an accomplishment – one thing that reveals who you are and what you are all about.

And you don’t only have to pick out that one thing – you have to describe it, analyze it and explain it – in other words, you need a combination of analytical skills and writing skills.

Most students simply do not have these skills, and that is why the majority of the essays that are submitted to colleges and universities sound pretty much the same.

For most students – writing an essay which is original, compelling and insightful requires help – and why wouldn’t it?

The Common App Essay is probably unlike anything you have written before.

It is to be expected that you would need some help doing something you have never done before.

Nobody would expect you to go into a basketball game or a tennis tournament without ever having played the game and without any coaching.

So what would make you think that you can write a Common App Essay for the first time in your life and nail it – without any tutoring?

If you are like the overwhelming majority of students – you can’t – so getting help from an essay tutor or coach like me makes a whole lot of sense.


How and When to Work With a Common App Essay Tutor

As I stated earlier, the success or failure of your Common App essay hinges on your choice of topic.

And, by “choice of topic”, I am not talking about selecting one of the 5 essay prompts.

If you haven’t reviewed the new essay prompts for 2013-2014, you can see them here.

When I talk about your choice of topic, I am referring to the event, incident, episode or accomplishment in your life that provides the deepest insight into who you are – that is what you have to choose.

Once you have identified the story that you want to tell about yourself – it is a matter of shaping that story so that it aligns with one of the essay prompts.

In other words – you need to look into yourself and determine what story you want to tell – if you can do that, you should be able to make it work with one of the prompts.

Now – if you can’t come up with that one big story you want to tell – that’s when you use the prompts to spur your imagination.

This process – coming up with the strongest possible story – is the most crucial, and if you contact me BEFORE you have deicied what to write about, I can be of greatest value to you.

Otherwise, if you contact me when you have already written your essay, you might end up going “back to the drawing board”, as many students that I have worked with have done, when they realized that their topic would never rise above mediocrity.


Contact Me Anytime for Common App Essay Help

If you need help with your Common App essay, don’t hesitate to contact me via:

Telephone: 416-519-4427


Email: astransman@rogers.com


Skype: Alan Stransman


Don’t leave it until the last minute. Contact me now for the Common App essay help you need.


Additional Tips on Writing the Common App Essay

The video below is rather long, but you will find some useful tips if you have time to watch it.





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