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Hallelujah! I’m a professional writer and back when I was in school, a while back now, I tutored writing. I actually DID tutor people in writing; although most called me just to write their paper for them, I wouldn’t do it. I made them sit down and go through the process of understanding how to write the paper and get it done. I must admit, I was appalled at how many people could barely read, much less write and comprehend the material. One kid, for instance, who did not understand Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant,” informed me proudly that, in fact, he had just read his very first book that very week: the biography of a pro basketball player. Oh, heavy heart. And here he was in his SECOND semester of college. What on earth had happened during the FIRST?

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In English class, Zac wrote a college essay about rebelling against his mother’s religious beliefs, and against his conservative upbringing. “The day I denounced my religion, the day I made my mother cry, was the day I decided to live,” he wrote. His teacher called it “powerful” in a margin note. But Washburn does not require an essay. He has filled out the Common Application, but that also seems like an empty exercise.

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This year’s crop of college application essays about money, work and social class come from teenage writers who toe the line, tap dance on either side and often stay suspended, for just a moment, in the space above and between.

Jacques Steinberg, education correspondent for the Times, appears on the Today show to discuss what works in a college essay.


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23-6-2009 · The dean of admission at Connecticut College shares what she hopes to find when she picks up a college essay 11-1-2012 · The dean the dysfunctional family of admissions of Pomona College, a liberal arts school in California, provides advice for Indian applicants on constructing an effective.

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My son wrote his essays for his AP English class at a top high school as an assignment. The “prompts” are known about in summer, so making it a part of AP English in fall was easy – especially since many students applied to UC and the private colleges routinely and it boasts a 95% college rate.

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In the last month, I have been visiting Topeka High School, talking with seniors, and their parents and guidance counselors, about their college plans as they take standardized tests, decide where to apply, write essays, fill out financial aid forms and send in their applications. I’ve followed their successes and mishaps along the way and will look in again in a few months to see where they end up, whether in college, vocational school, a job or at home.

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Sep nyt college essays 25, 2012 · As summer essays on children of men gives way nyt college essays to fall, one young illegal immigrant’s hopes of a college education and a nyt.

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4-4-2014 · Ron Lieber, the Your Money columnist for The New York Times, is looking for college application essays about money, work and social class from this year.