Finishing high school and preparing to make the leap into college can be a very stressful time. Although they still have one foot squarely in adolescence, we expect our young people to be able to start making important life decisions.
No longer is the most pressing question whether or not there is time to make it to Starbucks and back during tutorial. Instead, teens must consider what career they would like to work towards, what major they should choose, and which university is best suited to fill their needs, all while considering cost, proximity to home, and whether or not a job will be a necessity.
Of course, you also must factor in the simple truth that if other parents are anything like me, just the thought of sending their baby out into the world on their own brings on the start of an emotional meltdown.
It doesn’t take much critical thinking to see how when combined, the above realities can make even the most prepared student begin to feel as though things are spinning out of control.
But wait – this isn’t even taking into account the most important step of all.
Before choosing a school, and making an educational plan, one must first complete the grueling application process in order to actually be accepted for admission.
It’s definitely enough to make this mama’s blood pressure bump up a couple of notches.
Once a student decides which institutions to apply to, the avalanche of questions and second-guessing begins. What type of essay should I write? Is my personal experience too clichéd? What do I have to offer that will make me stand out as an applicant?
It is at this point that a little professional direction becomes invaluable.
Enter Newport Beach resident Cynthia Muchnick, M.A., former Assistant Director of Admissions for the University of Chicago, private education counselor, and author of nine books, including the just-released, “Writing Successful College Applications: It’s More Than Just the Essay.”
In her newest volume, Muchnick covers everything a student needs to make their application stand out.
It is important to remember that today’s college applications require more than just a main essay and some fill-in-the-blanks. Stressing the fact that responding well to these questions is just as important as having a well-written main essay, the book covers all the different “mini-essays” students will be asked to write. Additionally, it sheds light on why admissions offices ask these types of questions, and what kinds of answers they are most likely looking for.
Of course, the main essay is a critical component as well, and Muchnick covers how to use your own voice and experiences to craft a piece, that while similar in topic to so many others, remains unique and impactful.
By sharing a list of dos and don’ts that cover everything, down to which Internet browser is the best when formatting your work, as well as including a section of common questions and answers, Muchnick ensures that virtually any topic you might need assistance with is covered.
The book also shares interviews with Deans of Admissions from such institutions as the University of Michigan, Occidental College, and Duke University, just to name a few. Through these interviews, the deans share their insight as to what makes for a successful application, as well as specific things that they both look for, and are turned off by, in applicants’ writing.
Lastly, Muchnick includes a large sampling of essays that have resulted in successful college admissions, giving readers the opportunity to get a taste of how an excellent essay reads.
To celebrate the release of the book, Muchnick will be appearing at the Barnes & Noble, Tustin Marketplace to offer a rare free seminar on college essay writing, followed by a Q&A and book signing.
The event, taking place on Sunday, October 5, from 6-8 p.m., is a must for any high school junior or senior who will soon be beginning the application process.
For more information on “Writing Successful College Applications: It’s More Than Just the Essay,” or the event, please visit cynthiamuchnick.com, or follow Muchnick via the Twitter handle @CollegeAps.
Edie Crabtree is an avid reader and the mother of three active boys. She can be reached at [email protected].