PrepWell Podcast


Ep. 5 | Tips & Strategies for Writing the College Essay

PrepWell Academy’s Phil Black walks you through what makes a great college essay. This episode covers how to start, how to brainstorm, how to structure, and how to write a college essay that stands out from the crowd.

Show Notes:

In this episode, I discuss how to start, structure, and finalize a winning college essay. We start with how to generate ideas (brainstorming, essence objects, timelines, factoids), how to decide on a format (narrative or montage), how to be memorable, how to bookend your essay, and how to keep tabs on grammar, syntax, craft, spelling, word count, alignment, and feedback. I provide two sample essays from my private PrepWellers that illustrate these principles. If you are in the middle of drafting your college essay, or you want a preview of what’s to come in the near future - give this episode a listen. 

Check out The College Essay Guy for great resources on writing your college essay. 

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Here is what I discuss in this episode:

0:02:00 What is the college essay used for?
0:02:30 Terminology
0:03:34 What are supplemental essays?
0:05:20 Why students should want to write essays
0:07:11 Why most students stress-out at the thought of the essay
0:08:27 4 tips to prepare your child for college essays
0:09:13 How does one write a compelling essay?
0:09:24 How to generate ideas for the college essay
0:09:56 What is an essence object?
0:11:37 Example of using an essence object in an essay
0:12:25 “Boots” as an essence object
0:13:55 What does bookending a story mean?
0:15:10 How can you make an essay memorable?
0:15:52 Another essence object example: dollhouse
0:18:10 Using a timeline to generate ideas
0:19:31 Make a list of personal factoids
0:19:52 My 5 factoids
0:22:21 I have an idea. Now what? 
0:22:40 Narrative vs Montage essay formats
0:23:40 Montage format
0:24:25 Other considerations: grammar, spelling, craft, feedback, etc.

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Podcast Host: PrepWell Academy's Founder, Phil Black, has spent a lifetime cracking the code on the world's most competitive programs: Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEALs, Goldman Sachs, Entrepreneurship, Shark Tank, etc.

Inside PrepWell Academy, Black teaches students everything they need to know about the college admissions process in a series of expertly-timed, 3-5-minute, weekly training videos starting in 9th grade and continuing through 12th grade [Note: this program can only be joined in 9th or 10th grade]. My specialties include military service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League, and student-athletes.

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