Ap english Literature and Composition Name: Class: Writing Your Best College Application Essay

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AP English Literature and Composition Name:____________________ Class:_______

Writing Your Best College Application Essay

As the graduating class of 2015, you join millions of American and international students who face the inevitable challenge of composing a college application essay that stands apart and is sorted into the “to be considered” stack.

Today you will access resources that provide you an overview of tips and strategies for writing your best CAE.

Please note: Your participation and attention to detail are essential, so read and listen carefully and take good notes.

Directions -

  • The first half of class today will be spent in the media center. You will have at most 45 minutes to do the following:

  1. Go to my website to begin – www.vanessahalling.weebly.com

  2. Go to AP Assignments and Reminders to find the links and articles listed under October 20, 2014.

  3. Select the link entitled “8 Tips Slide Show” and take notes below.

“8 Tips for Crafting Your Best College Essay” –

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  1. Find your assigned article, read silently, and summarize below its main idea and most compelling suggestions

for successful CAE writing:

Article 1 – “An Applicant’s Perspective”

Article 2 – “Tip Sheet”

Article 3 – “Treating a College Admissions Essay like a First Date”

Article 4 – “Your Comments on Admissions Essays”

Article 5 – “The __________ that Changed My Life”

Title of your article:_____________________________________________________________________________


  1. Back in class and in your groups, share your notes from your article.

One copy of each article will be provided to each group.

Focus your discussion around the key points of advice from the writer’s perspective.

Record additional notes/suggestions here:

  1. In your groups, read two sample college application essays, both addressing the same

2014 Common Application prompt:

Describe an incident in your life from which you learned something though fear.

After reading, discuss each article’s strengths and weaknesses. Record your notes below:

Sample essay 1:

Sample essay 2:


Due next class, write a complete first draft of a college admissions essay.

Most CAEs are capped at a maximum of 650 words.

Your draft may be written or typed, but you must have it with you in class on Wednesday.

Choose one of the prompts below. You may, if you choose, select a prompt which you have found from another college’s application online. If you choose a different prompt from one below, you must include the name of the college/university to which it belongs. All of the prompts below are from 2014-2015 Common Application prompts.

  • Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete with it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

  • Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

  • Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

  • Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

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