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CEA Blog

The 3 Most Common College Essay Topics: Why CEA’s Founder Thinks You Should Write About Them Anyway

Topic: Essay Tips, Essay Writing, From The Founder, Tips  |  Posted on June 8th, 2017  |  Written by Kat Stubing

The whole point of writing a college essay is to differentiate yourself from other applicants and place yourself ahead of the pack. For this reason, many students shy away from writing about common college essay topics. CEA’s Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, believes this doesn’t have to be the case. Stacey recently published an […]

The Main Takeaways From the NYT ‘Modern Love’ College Essay Winners

Topic: College Admissions, Essay Writing, New York Times, Standout Students  |  Posted on June 2nd, 2017  |  Written by CEA HQ

“You can blame it all on Percocet.” This is the opening line of the winner of The New York Times “Modern Love” college contest. Out of 2,000 entries from college students from all across the country, there was one winner and four finalists; all of the essays were published in The New York Times. The […]

This High School Senior Wrote Her College Essay about Pizza and Got Into Yale

Topic: Admissions, College Admissions, Essay Writing, Inspiration, News  |  Posted on June 1st, 2017  |  Written by Kat Stubing

We at CEA love pizza. It is one of our greatest passions and our favorite fuel for advising brainpower. It is no surprise, then, that we were brimming with joy when we saw that a High School Senior scored acceptance to Yale with an essay about Papa John’s. With an acceptance rate of just 6.3%, […]

Guide to The NY Times’ Five Best College Essays on Work, Money and Class

Topic: advice, Essay Tips, Essay Writing, New York Times, Uncategorized  |  Posted on May 22nd, 2017  |  Written by Nina Bailey

Every year, The New York Times issues an open call for college application essays on the subject of money, work, and class. Money becomes a lens through which identity, family, and dreams, can be glimpsed. Out of the many submissions they received this year, The Times published the five best essays (four were published in […]

Five Foolproof Tips for Conquering the Common Application Essay

Topic: Admissions, advice, College Admissions, Common Application, Essay Tips, Essay Writing, Quick Tips, Tips, Uncategorized  |  Posted on May 12th, 2017  |  Written by Nina Bailey

  The first time I successfully did a handstand in yoga class, it was unexpected and almost effortless. My legs kicked up, and then, as if being lifted by string, I was supporting my body with my arms. When we talk about strategies for tackling the college essay, I like to tell the story of […]

The Short Answer

Topic: Admissions, College Admissions, Essay Tips, Essay Writing, Supplemental Essays  |  Posted on December 10th, 2016  |  Written by CEA HQ

A popular format for supplement questions is short answers. Don’t confuse these with the why, activity, community, or oddball essays. These are an entirely different beast. These little critters provide a different kind of creative challenge for aspiring college-goers. Take this set of short answer questions from the 2014 Yale application: “What excites you intellectually, […]

The Oddball Essay

Topic: College Admissions, Common App Prompts/Topics, Essay Tips, Essay Writing, Supplemental Essays  |  Posted on December 10th, 2016  |  Written by CEA HQ

There are certain schools, like the University of Chicago, who have always taken special pride in developing craft questions for their applicants to answer. In recent years, more schools are jumping on the bandwagon, luring students to their applications with questions like “What does #YOLO mean to you” (Tufts, 2013). This is both fun and […]

The Community Essay

Topic: Admissions, College Admissions, Essay Tips, Essay Writing, Supplemental Essays  |  Posted on December 10th, 2016  |  Written by CEA HQ

The community essay is a standard supplemental rascal that mines for information about your social habits and favorite causes. Prompts that ask about a “community you belong to” often leave themselves open to interpretation: Are you part of a community of sports fans around the world who can connect with other strangers over the amazing […]

The Activity Essay

Topic: Admissions, advice, College Admissions, Common Application, Essay Resources, Essay Writing, Uncategorized  |  Posted on December 10th, 2016  |  Written by CEA HQ

At one time, not so long ago, the Common App asked all applicants for a brief description of their most important extracurricular experiences. When that requirement became optional in 2013, many individual colleges took it upon themselves to issue a similar prompt as a replacement. The activity essay is an excellent opportunity to expand beyond […]

The Why Essay

Topic: Admissions, Essay Resources, Essay Writing, Uncategorized  |  Posted on December 10th, 2016  |  Written by CEA HQ

If you’re on this page, then you have probably encountered a prompt or two on your supplemental essay safari that we at College Essay Advisors call “The Why Essay”. The school you’re applying to is essentially asking: Why do you really want to go here? This shape-shifting question can come in many forms as it […]

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