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uchicagCollege applicants next year will have more application options as the University of Chicago is joining the Universal Application.

“We decided to announce we will join the Universal College Application for the next application year now because we want applicants, families, recommenders, and the Higher Education community to know of our commitment to providing them with an application option that is easy to use, reduces Continue reading

New Version and Dr. Joseph to Speak at 2013 NACAC

We released version 2.7 of the app two days ago. It fixes all bugs. Please let me know if that works. Thank you for patience and for using our application.

Will you be attending NACAC? Dr. Joseph is presenting with admissions officers from Michigan and Yale on Saturday, September 21.

E10. Communicating Their Stories: Strategies to Help Students Write Powerful College Application Essays

Saturday, September 21, 2013

8:30 AM – 9:45 AM

Room 808

College application essays help students communicate their unique voices and stories and, therefore, become three dimensional to admission officers. Brainstorm ways to help students craft powerful college application essays that reflect core qualities not evident in the application, discuss what admission officers seek in application essays and interpret new Common Application essay prompts and mandated word limits. Learn ways to integrate essay writing into English or advisory classrooms and critique essays to learn strategies to coach students through essay writing.


2013-2014 Ohio State Writing Supplement

No General Ohio State Questions. Just for specific programs.

ohio state

(To see these specific essays, you must click yes in Ohio State Members Questions under Academics.)

These applications are due November 1.

Morrill Scholars Program

Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Morrill Scholars Program Essay Prompt: How can you enrich the campus community and serve as an ambassador for diversity? What specific experience(s) and/or leadership efforts have you had that showcase your awareness and commitment to diversity? (To learn more about the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Morrill Scholars Program visit (Required for this program, 350 word max, Paste in.)The Morrill Scholars Program is offered through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and seeks to reward leadership and academic excellence through diversity. Learn more at Applicants who submit the Common Application and all required materials (test scores, letter of recommendation, transcripts, etc.) by November 1 will receive priority consideration for this program. Note: you must complete the MSP essay prompt in the Writing Supplement. (Required, 350-500 words, Paste in)

 Honors and Scholars Program

Ohio State’s Honors and Scholars programs serve high-ability, motivated undergraduate students. Learn more at Applicants who submit the Common Application and all required materials (test scores, letter of recommendation, transcripts, etc.) by November 1 will receive priority consideration for these programs. Note: you must complete the Honors and Scholars essay prompt in the Writing Supplement.

University Honors and Ohio State Scholars Essay Prompt: How do your individual passions and interests align with one or more of the G.O.A.L.S. of the Honors & Scholars Center? (To learn about the G.O.A.L.S. visit (Required for these programs, 350-500 words, Paste in)



2013-2014 Wellesley Writing Supplementwellesley

The required Wellesley “Writing Supplement,” asks you to respond to the following in two well-developed paragraphs (no more than 400 words).



When choosing a college community, you are choosing an intellectual community and a place where you believe that you can live, learn, and flourish. We know that there are more than 100 reasons to choose Wellesley, but it’s a good place to start. Visit the Wellesley 100 ( and select one or two items that attract, inspire, or energize you. Have fun with this and use this opportunity to reflect personally on what items appeal to you most and why.

2014 Indiana University and Arizona State Apps Are Up

Indiana University releases first mandatory essay. Yeah. indiana univ

All freshman applicants are required to submit a brief personal statement as part of the admission application. You will be asked to share any information about your background or experience that may not be readily available from the application or supporting documents, such as any special circumstances related to your academic performance and/or why you are interested in attending IU. You are limited to 300 words.

Arizona State App and Its 2014 Barrett College Essay are out.

Arizona State has not application essay.

2014 Barrett Honors College Essay

arizona stateOne long essay for underclassmen. Two essays for upperclassmen.

Upload in word or as PDF.

The essay is an exceptionally important component of your application to Barrett. It adds a personal dimension to your application and helps us to see you as a whole person. It also helps us to assess your ability to write effectively. Please write an essay of less than 500 words that answers one of the following three questions:


1. Discuss how a particular work of music, literature, or art has inspired your educational path.

2. Describe your most significant academic achievement or intellectual endeavor. Highlight how it will influence your undergraduate education or goals for the future.

3. Barrett is composed of students from diverse backgrounds with distinctive life experiences. Explain how your cultural traditions (national, ethnic, religious, or other facets of your background) shape your view of the world around you.

If you are applying for Upper Division enrollment consideration, a second essay of less than 250 words that explains why you would like to be a part of Barrett is also required.

These essays must be composed in PDF or Microsoft Word format and can then be uploaded to the Barrett online application.

Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon

2013-2014 Writing Supplement (Thanks to CMU)

2013-2014 Carnegie Mellon Writing Supplement 

2. List the books (if any) you’ve read this year for pleasure. Choose one and in a sentence describe it’s impact on you. (Required, 500 word max, Paste in)

3. Were you interviewed by an alumni or on campus representative? If so, indicate the name of your interviewer and tell us how it impacted your decision to apply. (Required, 500 word max, Paste in)


I  really love the app (ALL COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAYS) and use it as a go-to for a lot of different things.  I notice it’s available through the Google Play store now (I’m an Android AND an Apple user — go figure!)

I took a screen shot of the Middlebury app and sent it to my colleague in Westchester NY and she bought the app, too. I also introduced it to our local public high school college programs coordinator.

Janis Allen

The Writing Sections of The 2013-2014 Common Application

The Common App just released the format of the Writing Sections sections. This information won’t challenge kids as they won’t know what came before. But these changes will take counselors a while to adapt to. In addition to what they released today, while students can submit unlimited alternate versions, they can only make changes to essay three times.

This is what the Common App just released:

What writing opportunities are available in the 2013-14 Common Application?
• The Essay. Required of all applicants.
• Additional Information. Optional for applicants who wish to report circumstances or
qualifications not reflected elsewhere in the application.
• Required Explanations. Conditionally required for applicants based on responses to
application questions about school discipline, criminal history, military discharge, or an
interrupted education.

What is changing about writing in the Common Application?
• There are 5 new essay prompts. They will be reviewed annually and may change, in
whole or in part, based on member feedback.
• Each writing section will have an enforced 650 word limit. The essay will not allow a
response shorter than 250 words.
• The extracurricular short answer question will be moved to individual member Writing
Supplements for colleges that wish to review an answer to that question.
• Uploaded documents will be replaced by text-entry. Students can compose their
responses directly in the application or cut-and-paste a response drafted in another word
processing program.

What are the advantages of text-entry relative to uploads?
• Mobile/touchscreen devices can be better supported.
• Word count can be enforced, creating a more level playing field for applicants.
Can students format their writing?
Yes. Basic formatting (bold, italics, underline, and accented characters) will be available.

In addition, text pasted from a word processing program will typically retain these styles of  formatting. An analysis of 2011-12 essays revealed that 99.7% of them had either no special formatting or the basic formatting that we will support in CA4.

Will students have other opportunities to share more writing or additional submissions?

Yes. Any college that wants to collect and review writing samples may continue to do so on their Writing Supplement. In addition, any member willing to receive uploaded documents such as résumés, research papers, or graded assignments can invite these submissions on their Writing Supplement–or not–as they choose.”

Follow Dr. J’s Into, Through, & Beyond Approach: Brainstorming Tip #8

Your essay needs to grab readers from the first word. You are competing for the fleeting attention of admissions officers who have dozens if  not hundreds or thousands of essays and files to process. So don’t waste their precious time and tell them a story that no one else can tell. That will help you get admitted to the match college of your choice.

So follow my three pronged approach.

INTO: With your INTO, grab us into the story with a moment in time. That moment must reveal a core quality. The INTO can be a sentence, paragraph, or series of paragraphs.

THROUGH: Then go into two levels of THROUGH.

  • THROUGH 1 provides the immediate context of the INTO.
  • THROUGH 2 provides the overall context.

BEYOND: End with a BEYOND that is not sappy but powerful. Think of a metaphor that guides you and weaves through your story and into your ending.

College Application Essay Tip #10: Self Yourself

Tip 10. Most importantly, make yourself come alive throughout this process. Write about yourself as passionately and powerfully as possible. Be proud of your life and accomplishments. Sell yourself!!!

Don’t lose this incredibly important opportunity to share unique stories about yourself. These are not autobiographies. They are moments in time that reveal a core story, a key quality, a powerful moment.

See Dr. Joseph’s new blog on Teen Life. 10 Tips for Staying Organized in the College Application Process.


Kristina L. Dooley in her Dooley Noted column praised All College Application Essays as the top of four great apps “to know before you go” to college.