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College Essay Tips | How to Tell a Unique Story to Admissions

So you know the college essay is an important part of your application, but what can you really accomplish in 650 words? How do you pick a unique topic? Learn how to select the perfect story to tell admissions and make yourself memorable through the art of personal branding.

Common App Essay Prompts

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Guide to the Common App Essays: Writing about Gratitude (Prompt 4)

Guide to the Common App Essays: Writing about Gratitude (Prompt 4)

The 2021-22 Common Application's fourth essay prompt (full text below) asks you to reflect on a time in your life when you have felt thankful. But how do you flip the script and talk about what others have done for you, instead of what you've done for others, in a meaningful way? Get the lowdown from College Essay Advisors' Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook. She’ll break this prompt down into its basic building blocks and offer some insider tricks and strategies for drafting your response.

Common Application Prompts: The Ultimate Breakdown

Common Application Prompts: The Ultimate Breakdown

The Common Application's personal statement is often the deciding factor between candidates with similar test scores, grades, and extracurriculars: but what makes a candidate's college essay stand out? In this video, we walk you through the seven Common App prompts, explaining what each question is really asking and providing helpful tips on what admissions is really looking for in response.

Guide to the Common App Essays: Writing about Your Background (Prompt 1)

Guide to the Common App Essays: Writing about Your Background (Prompt 1)

The 2021-22 Common Application's essay prompt 1 asks you to write about your background or identity. But what is it REALLY asking? Get the lowdown from College Essay Advisors Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook. She’ll break this prompt down into its basic building blocks and offer some insider tips and strategies for picking the perfect topic.

Guide to the Common App Essays: Writing about Setbacks and Failure (Prompt 2)

Guide to the Common App Essays: Writing about Setbacks and Failure (Prompt 2)

The second essay prompt of the 2021-22 Common Application asks you to talk about how you approach challenges, obstacles, and even (GASP!) failures. Watch now!

Guide to the Common App Essays: Questioning a Belief or Idea (Prompt 3)

Guide to the Common App Essays: Questioning a Belief or Idea (Prompt 3)

The third essay prompt of the 2021-22 Common Application asks you to open up about a time when your opinion was unpopular. How can you write a powerful essay without polarizing readers who disagree with you? It's tricky -- but totally possible! Get the inside scoop from College Essay Advisors Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook.

Guide to the Common App Essays: Writing about Personal Growth (Prompt 5)

Guide to the Common App Essays: Writing about Personal Growth (Prompt 5)

The fifth essay prompt of the 2021-22 Common Application asks you to talk about a moment of personal growth. But what does admissions really want to hear about? What counts as a period of personal growth? CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, gives you the lowdown on the Common App's fifth prompt in this video!

Guide to the Common App Essays: Sharing Your Passions and Obsessions (Prompt 6)

Guide to the Common App Essays: Sharing Your Passions and Obsessions (Prompt 6)

The sixth essay prompt of the 2021-22 Common Application asks you to write about the driving force behind your intellectual curiosity. But how can you tap into your inner nerd without going overboard? Get the insider scoop from College Essay Advisors Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook.

Guide to the Common App Essays: Tackling the Topic of Your Choice (Prompt 7)

Guide to the Common App Essays: Tackling the Topic of Your Choice (Prompt 7)

The seventh essay prompt of the 2021-22 Common Application is the legendary topic of your choice. If you're wondering whether you should choose to respond to this prompt or one of the other six, stay tuned. College Essay Advisors' Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to point you in the right direction and give you some valuable advice along the way.

Supplemental Essays 101

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How to Write College Admissions Diversity Essays Regardless of Your Background

How to Write College Admissions Diversity Essays Regardless of Your Background

With the Supreme Court ruling on Affirmative Action came an avalanche of diversity essays meant to compensate for a missing tool that aimed to level the playing field. We here at CEA have celebrated the preponderance of opportunities to address race, gender, and other identity-oriented details on the application. We have also found that these prompts can be flummoxing for some students. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to provide guidance to applicants who feel like they don't have an obvious "diversity" story to tell.

How to Write the Vanderbilt Supplemental Essays

How to Write the Vanderbilt Supplemental Essays

Vanderbilt asks 2023-24 applicants to respond to one of two prompts in 250 words or fewer. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to walk you through drafting a distinct essay response.

Guide to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Supplemental Essay Prompt

Guide to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Supplemental Essay Prompt

Worcester Polytechnic Institute seeks students who are the right fit for its academic and campus community. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to help you make your case as to why you're the perfect fit for WPI (and vice versa)!

Guide to the University of Miami’s Supplemental Essay Prompt

Guide to the University of Miami’s Supplemental Essay Prompt

The University of Miami asks applicants to respond to one supplemental essay prompt in 250 words or less (full text below). CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to share some tips and tricks for differentiating your response.

Guide to the American University’s Supplemental Essay Prompt

Guide to the American University’s Supplemental Essay Prompt

American University asks applicants to respond to the following prompt, "Why are you interested in American University?" in 150 words or less. With such few words at your disposal, you'll want to be succinct as possible. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, has some tips to help you get started on a distinct response.

Guide to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Supplemental Essay Prompt

Guide to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Supplemental Essay Prompt

Admissions wants to know just what appeals to you about the University of Wisconsin-Madison. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to lend tips and tricks for writing a winning supplemental essay for your Wisconsin-Madison application.

How to Respond to Wake Forest’s 150-Word “How Did You Become Interested in WFU?” Essay

How to Respond to Wake Forest’s 150-Word “How Did You Become Interested in WFU?” Essay

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to give you a jumpstart on your drafted response for Wake Forest's "Why?" essay: "How did you become interested in Wake Forest University? Feel free to tell us about any contact that you had with Wake Forest that was important to you. (150 words)"

How to Approach the 2021-22 Wake Forest Brief Responses (Writing Section)

How to Approach the 2021-22 Wake Forest Brief Responses (Writing Section)

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to walk you through Wake Forest's 2021-22 Brief Responses, so you can submit a distinct and personal application to WFU.

CEA’s Guide to Yale’s 2021-22 “Intellectual Interest” Essay

CEA’s Guide to Yale’s 2021-22 “Intellectual Interest” Essay

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to break down Yale's 250-word "Intellectual Interest" essay, which reads, "Yale’s extensive course offerings and vibrant conversations beyond the classroom encourage students to follow their developing intellectual interests wherever they lead. Tell us about your engagement with a topic or idea that excites you. Why are you drawn to it?"

How to Write an Artist Statement

How to Write an Artist Statement

Many colleges and universities ask art students to write an artist statement as part of their applications. Writing an Artist Statement can be tricky, especially if you’re applying as an undergraduate.

Guide to the Purdue University Supplemental Essays (2022-23)

Guide to the Purdue University Supplemental Essays (2022-23)

Purdue University asks applicants to write three short supplemental essays as part of their admissions application. Founder and Chief Advisor of College Essay Advisors, Stacey Brook, is here to give you invaluable insight into the prompts and the motivation behind them so you can take advantage of this opportunity to speak to admissions in your own voice.

CEA’s Guide to Yale University’s “Short Takes” Supplement Section for the 2021-22 Application Year

CEA’s Guide to Yale University’s “Short Takes” Supplement Section for the 2021-22 Application Year

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to walk you through Yale University's "Short Takes" supplement section for the 2021-22 application season. It's time to brainstorm!

How to Respond to Yale University’s “Why Yale?” Supplement Section in 100 Words or Fewer

How to Respond to Yale University’s “Why Yale?” Supplement Section in 100 Words or Fewer

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to walk you through the 2021-22 Yale University "Why Yale?" supplement section, so you can infuse your response with specificity while demonstrating fit.

CEA’s Guide to the 2021-22 Georgetown University Essay Prompts

CEA’s Guide to the 2021-22 Georgetown University Essay Prompts

Georgetown University asks applicants to submit four (4) essays in their undergraduate admission application. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to walk you through each of Georgetown's 2021-22 prompts, so you can draft with confidence.

CEA’s Guide to the University of Chicago’s 2021-22 Supplemental Essay Prompts

CEA’s Guide to the University of Chicago’s 2021-22 Supplemental Essay Prompts

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to walk you through the 2021-22 University of Chicago supplemental essays, so you can better understand what admissions is looking for in your response.

CEA’s Guide to the 2021-22 Colgate University Supplemental Essays (and List!)

CEA’s Guide to the 2021-22 Colgate University Supplemental Essays (and List!)

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to walk you through the 2021-22 Colgate University supplemental essays, so you can draft winning responses.

CEA’s Guide to the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business Portfolio Submission

CEA’s Guide to the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business Portfolio Submission

Preferred Admission applicants to the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business will complete a portfolio. This portfolio is in addition to the materials you submit with your Common Application or Coalition Application.

CEA’s Guide to the 2021-22 Boston College Supplemental Essay Prompts

CEA’s Guide to the 2021-22 Boston College Supplemental Essay Prompts

Boston College asks students to select one prompt (out of five) to respond to in 400 words or less (prompts below). So what will you write about? Philosophy, racial injustice, conversation partners, introspection, or your favorite book? CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to give you all the information you need to select a prompt and write an amazing supplemental essay.

CEA’s Guide to the 2021-22 Dartmouth College Supplemental Essays

CEA’s Guide to the 2021-22 Dartmouth College Supplemental Essays

Dartmouth College is one of the most competitive schools in the country, and every year admissions officers are faced with countless applications from eager students looking to make the cut. Dartmouth's supplemental essay prompts are an opportunity for applicants to distinguish themselves from their peers. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to break down the seven Dartmouth College supplemental essay prompts, so you can draft your responses with confidence.

4 Types of Essay Prompts to Expect from Military Academy Applications

4 Types of Essay Prompts to Expect from Military Academy Applications

Whether you’re applying to the United States Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, or West Point Military Academy, you can anticipate penning responses to these four types of essay prompts. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to walk you through the four most common Military application essay categories!

How to Respond to College Essay Prompts About Diversity and Inclusivity

How to Respond to College Essay Prompts About Diversity and Inclusivity

Many colleges and universities have started asking applicants to respond to prompts that ask them about their experiences with diversity, inclusion, and equity. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to walk you through the popular new supplemental essay prompt.

Guide to the 2020-21 University of Southern California (USC) Essays | CEA

Guide to the 2020-21 University of Southern California (USC) Essays | CEA

So, we just have to say it: the USC application is kind of all over the place! You’ll be asked about everything from your academic interests to your life's theme song, so make sure to tighten the straps on your brainstorming helmet. Our Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to show you how to use every essay as an opportunity to showcase something different about yourself!

Guide to the 2020-21 University of California Essays | CEA

Guide to the 2020-21 University of California Essays | CEA

For the UC application, the rules may be unfamiliar but the game is the same: tell admissions something they don’t know, and then do it three more times! A strategic applicant will choose an amalgam of prompts that highlight vastly different aspects of their life and personality, leaving an admissions officer with a deep and complete picture of who they are. Our Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to help you avoid getting hung up on trying to find the questions admissions "wants" you to answer -- with each essay, your goal isn’t just to answer the question, but to tell a very short story about yourself!

Guide to the 2020-21 Georgetown University Essays | CEA

Guide to the 2020-21 Georgetown University Essays | CEA

Since it's not on the Common App, Georgetown requires some extra special attention when it comes to its supplemental essay requirements! Luckily, our Founder and Chief Advisor Stacey Brook is here to give you invaluable insight into the prompts and discuss the motivation behind them. Take advantage of this opportunity to speak to admissions in your own voice!

Guide to the 2020-21 Harvard University Supplemental Essays | CEA

Guide to the 2020-21 Harvard University Supplemental Essays | CEA

Harvard University is one of the most competitive schools in the country, and every year admissions officers are faced with countless applications from eager students looking to make the cut. As a result, Harvard's supplemental essay prompts are diverse and complex, to allow students an opportunity to distinguish themselves from their peers. If you're feeling overwhelmed, fear not! CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to break down the Harvard essays so you can hit submit with confidence.

Guide to the 2020-21 Stanford University Essays | CEA

Guide to the 2020-21 Stanford University Essays | CEA

The Stanford University application is nothing short of a doozie -- no less than EIGHT essays of varying lengths for students to answer and submit! To help you tackle this beast, our Founder and Chief Advisor Stacey Brook has created this video guide to walk you through each of the prompts, and give you the tips and tricks you need to make an impression on admissions.

Guide to the 2020-21 Boston University Essays | CEA

Guide to the 2020-21 Boston University Essays | CEA

The Boston University essay requirements are a gift to students: two of the most straightforward prompts you could ask for, and only one of them is required! Of course, our Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, doesn't believe that any essay is truly optional, so make sure you're taking advantage of every opportunity you have to speak to admissions in your own voice. Plan ahead, pay attention to the questions, and above all don't wait until the last minute to start your work!

Guide to the 2020-21 University of Michigan Essays | CEA

Guide to the 2020-21 University of Michigan Essays | CEA

We know that submitting your application to the University of Michigan can cause some serious stress. Thankfully, this year Michigan only requires two supplemental essays instead of three! Our Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to give you invaluable insight into the prompts and provide you with tips and tricks to help you showcase yourself to admissions using your own unique voice.

Guide to the 2020-21 New York University Supplemental Essay | CEA

Guide to the 2020-21 New York University Supplemental Essay | CEA

New York University (NYU) asks undergraduate applicants to write one supplemental essay (prompt in description below) on top of their Common App personal statement. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to tell you everything you need to know in order to craft a winning response!

Guide to the 2020-21 Brown University Supplemental Essays | CEA

Guide to the 2020-21 Brown University Supplemental Essays | CEA

Applying to an Ivy League institution, such as Brown University, can be incredibly stressful! Luckily for you, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to walk you through Brown's four (4) supplemental essay prompts.

Are “Optional” College Essay Prompts Really Optional?

Are “Optional” College Essay Prompts Really Optional?

Every year, colleges and universities around the world offer applicants the opportunity to respond to "optional" supplemental essay questions...But are these prompts truly optional? CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, lets you in on a college admissions secret.

The Expert’s Guide to Finding Sneaky Supplemental Essays

The Expert’s Guide to Finding Sneaky Supplemental Essays

There's probably a section of the Common Application that says "Writing", in which all of the supplemental essays live, right? WRONG! Supplements can be found in a variety of places and can sneak up on students who have spent months preparing to submit their applications. Don't let that be you! This video will detail the several different places where you can find supplemental essays.

How to Write Vanderbilt University’s “Extracurricular Activities” Essay

How to Write Vanderbilt University’s “Extracurricular Activities” Essay

Vanderbilt University's supplement consists of one prompt (text below). CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to help you take full advantage of this opportunity to illuminate your leadership skills or personal values for admissions.

The College Application ‘Activity’ and ‘Community’ Essays: What You Need to Know

The College Application ‘Activity’ and ‘Community’ Essays: What You Need to Know

Want the key to writing the most important and pervasive school-specific supplemental essays? We've got the tips and tricks you need to conquer the ever-popular "Activity" and "Community" supplements so you can showcase for admissions how you spend your time, where you feel like you belong and what truly motivates you to action. Assigned by schools like Harvard, Stanford, The University of Michigan and so many more, mastering these supplemental essays will ensure you utilize every opportunity a school's application provides to showcase your strengths.

What is a Supplemental Essay?

What is a Supplemental Essay?

Most supplemental essay prompts are designed to both gauge a student’s interest and determine where a student might fit into a school’s particular community. Typically, these essays focus more specifically on future academic and professional goals, school-related activities and a student's role in your current community than the Common App's personal statement. Watch this video for a short and sweet introduction to supplemental essays. Know what you're up against!

How to Write a Powerful “Why Do You Want to Go Here?” Essay (The Why Essay)

How to Write a Powerful “Why Do You Want to Go Here?” Essay (The Why Essay)

The Why Essay takes on many forms and can ask many questions: What will you do when you get here? How will you take advantage of all the resources our school has to offer? How will the school support your academic or professional goals? How do your past experiences or future goals support these claims? It’s likely that many schools to which you apply will as the Why question in slightly different ways (and with a WIDE range of word limits). This video will teach you everything you need to know about how to respond to the "Why do you want to go here?" essay.

How to Respond to Quirky, Odd, and Bizarre College Essay Prompts

How to Respond to Quirky, Odd, and Bizarre College Essay Prompts

There are certain schools, like the University of Chicago, who have always taken special pride in developing crafty 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 exhausting for applicants who are grateful for an injection of modern, quirky inspiration, but whose creative wells may be running dry. This video will get down to the bottom line: Why are schools asking these questions and what are they looking for in applicants' responses?

How to Gain Acceptance to Boston University (with Winning Supplemental Essays)!

How to Gain Acceptance to Boston University (with Winning Supplemental Essays)!

The Boston University application supplement is a gift: two of the most straightforward prompts you could ask for, and only one of them is required [full prompts below]. But beware, a simple supplement is no reason to ignore a school or save it until the last minute. In fact, it means you have no excuse not to nail your essay, so pay attention and do your work!

How to Write the “Why NYU?” Essay

How to Write the “Why NYU?” Essay

New York University (NYU) asks undergraduate applicants to pen one supplemental essay (prompt below) in addition to the personal statement. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to tell you everything you need to know in order to draft a compelling response.

How to Gain Acceptance to Boston College (with a Winning Supplemental Essay)!

How to Gain Acceptance to Boston College (with a Winning Supplemental Essay)!

Boston College asks students to select one prompt (out of four) to respond to in 400 words or less (prompts below). So what will you write about? Art, community, a contemporary problem, or character formation? CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to give you all the information you need to select a prompt and write an amazing supplemental essay.

How to Write Fantastic Application Essays for the University of Georgia

How to Write Fantastic Application Essays for the University of Georgia

The University of Georgia asks students to write two application essays of 200-300 words. The first prompt is set in stone, and for the second essay, applicants can choose one of four prompts to respond to [prompts below]. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to tell you everything you need to know about choosing and responding to these prompts for UGA. Let's begin!

How to Write Short Answers and the Additional Info Essay

How to Write Short Answers and the Additional Info Essay

The challenge of short answer questions lies half in generating honest, unique and clever ideas, and the other in being concise. The purpose of additional info essays is to provide admissions with an explanation for a drop in grades, low test scores, or prolonged absences. Both of these essay types need to be handled with care -- and that's exactly what this video will show you how to do.

How to Get Into University of Texas: Austin (with Great Application Essays!)

How to Get Into University of Texas: Austin (with Great Application Essays!)

The University of Texas: Austin application is a beast unto itself, with a slew of essay prompts (full text below) that ask you to dig into all aspects of your life. From your home life to your future plans, you're going to have to tell all -- and in a way that sets you apart! Luckily CEA's Founder, Stacey Brook, is here to break down the prompts so you're ready to tackle anything Texas' independent platform throws at you.

How to Get Into Emory University (With Amazing Supplemental Essays!)

How to Get Into Emory University (With Amazing Supplemental Essays!)

Emory University asks first-year applicants to write two (2) essays in addition to the personal statement. Applicants must choose one prompt from the "Reflections" category and one prompt from the "Tell us about you" category. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to tell you everything you need to know about choosing and responding to these prompts. Let's begin!

How To Answer Supplemental Application Questions: “Why Do You Want To Go Here?”

How To Answer Supplemental Application Questions: “Why Do You Want To Go Here?”

These days, most colleges and universities require supplemental applications in addition to the Common Application. You could be looking at a list of 10+ supplemental essays, so we made you a quick guide to the most common supplemental question: "Why do you want to go here?"

Guide to the 2018-19 Northwestern University Supplemental Essay

Guide to the 2018-19 Northwestern University Supplemental Essay

Are you planning to apply to Northwestern University? The Founder and Chief Advisor of College Essay Advisors, Stacey Brook, is here to give you invaluable insight into Northwestern's supplemental essay prompt so you can take advantage of this opportunity to speak to admissions in your own voice.

Guide to the 2018-19 University of Michigan Essays

Guide to the 2018-19 University of Michigan Essays

Submitting your college application to the University of Michigan can be a real nail-biter. Michigan requires three supplemental essays. The Founder and Chief Advisor of College Essay Advisors, Stacey Brook, is here to give you invaluable insight into the prompts and the motivation behind them so you can take advantage of this opportunity to speak to admissions in your own voice.

How to Get Into UNC (With a Great Essay)

How to Get Into UNC (With a Great Essay)

UNC is well-known for being the first public university in the United States and a leader in innovative teaching strategies. The school is also known for receiving many college applications, which means it is crucial for applicants to differentiate themselves in their essays. Luckily for UNC hopefuls, the university gives students two additional supplemental prompts to respond to in order to set themselves apart from the sea of similarly qualified applicants and increase their chances of getting into UNC. College Essay Advisors Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to break down the UNC supplemental prompts so you know which essays will showcase your best attributes!

Guide to the 2017-2018 Duke University Supplemental Essays

Guide to the 2017-2018 Duke University Supplemental Essays

Submitting your college application to Duke University can be a real nail-biter. Although it's probably too late now to tweak your test scores or GPA, you can make sure that your college application essays will bring you admissions success! Duke requires one supplemental short answer and gives students the opportunity to respond to two optional prompts. The Founder and Chief Advisor of College Essay Advisors, Stacey Brook, is here to give you invaluable insight into the prompts and the motivation behind them so you can take advantage of this opportunity to speak to admissions in your own voice.

Guide to the 2017-2018 Harvard University Supplemental Essay

Guide to the 2017-2018 Harvard University Supplemental Essay

Harvard University is one of the most competitive schools in the country. Every year admissions officers are bombarded with applications from eager students looking to make the cut. Thus, Harvard has a supplement to give students an opportunity to distinguish themselves from the competition. Writing supplemental essays can be daunting, but luckily for you, College Essay Advisors founder (and admissions expert) Stacey Brook is here to break down the Harvard supplement so you can hit submit with confidence.

Resumes and Cover Letters

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Four Steps to a Polished and Professional Cover Letter

Four Steps to a Polished and Professional Cover Letter

If you’re wondering how you can write the kind of cover letter that grabs your potential employer’s attention and lands you an interview, you’ve come to the right place. In this video, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, presents four steps to drafting a polished and professional cover letter, and how to take full advantage of the opportunity to introduce yourself to the hiring committee.

How Much Should Your Resume and Cover Letter Overlap?

How Much Should Your Resume and Cover Letter Overlap?

While your resume is meant to present a broad overview of your professional and relevant experience, your cover letter seeks to enhance your application by highlighting the specific elements of your resume that stand out for the particular job/role in question.

How to Write Strong Activity Descriptions for College Applications

How to Write Strong Activity Descriptions for College Applications

Both the Common Application and UC Application provide space for applicants to list and describe the extracurricular activities they participated in throughout their academic careers. Our Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, give you the tools you need to make the most out of your activity descriptions.

College Application Deadlines

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The Single Choice Early Action Loophole You Need to Know About!

The Single Choice Early Action Loophole You Need to Know About!

Many applicants think that applying Single Choice Early Action or Restrictive Early Action is basically the same as applying Early Decision—and they could not be more wrong!! CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to fill you in on the Restrictive Early Action/Single Choice Early Action loophole all applicants should know about!

The Secret Regarding Early College Application Deadlines

The Secret Regarding Early College Application Deadlines

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to set the record straight regarding how much time you really have before submitting your Early Action and/or Early Decision applications this fall.

College Application Deadlines 101: Early Decision, Early Action, Rolling, and more!

College Application Deadlines 101: Early Decision, Early Action, Rolling, and more!

What is the difference between Early Decision and Early Action? What is Single Choice Early action? Is there really an advantage to applying early? What does “rolling” admission actually mean? CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, has all the answers.

College Essay Examples

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Is your College Essay Cliché?

Is your College Essay Cliché?

Applicants often choose to write about cliché subjects because they THINK the resulting essays present the kinds stories admissions officers want to read. To the contrary, jumping on an essay cliché bandwagon can make it nearly impossible for an admissions officer to distinguish you from your closest competition. In this video, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor presents The Cliché Quiz.

Successful College Essay Examples: The Nature Painter

Successful College Essay Examples: The Nature Painter

Many students find it helpful to familiarize themselves with successful college essays to better understand what it looks like (or sounds like) when it's done right. There are so many different ways to write a great college essay, so don't feel confined to any formula, structure, approach, or tone. In this essay, our student showcases his love of science and nature by explaining the importance of having the right tools, both as humans and in nature at large. He gained acceptance to Yale University, Stanford, Harvard.

College Essay Examples: How to Write About Another Person While Still Making the Essay About You

College Essay Examples: How to Write About Another Person While Still Making the Essay About You

So you want to write your college essay about a person who is very important to you and has shaped the person you've become today, but you are nervous that the essay won't say enough about you as the applicant (after all, your grandma isn't applying to college, you are!). We totally get it. Tons of students run into this issue. That's why we're sharing one of our favorite essays, written by a student we're referring to as "What Makes a Woman." This student masters the art of writing about another person's struggles, while reflecting on her own obstacles, perceptions, and identity.

College Essay Examples: Pulling Your Reader in From the Start

College Essay Examples: Pulling Your Reader in From the Start

So you're reading successful college essays and they sound awesome...but what's the use of a great essay if you don't understand which defining features make the essay sparkle? In this video, we will be exploring TWO successful college essay examples, both of which are great examples of how to pull a reader into your story using visuals, intrigue/suspense, and maybe a little bit of humor.

College Essay Examples: How to Incorporate Dialogue into Your Essay

College Essay Examples: How to Incorporate Dialogue into Your Essay

One way to pull a reader into your essay from the very beginning is to start with dialogue. Many students don’t even consider adding an outdated adage from a parent or a hilarious crack from a high school coach to break up their prose, set the scene or build the profiles of their stories’ characters. And yet, dialogue is one of those devices that can give you a lot of bang for your buck, delivering a punch of personality or a wallop of context using just a few carefully culled utterances. Here is one successful example of how a student uses dialogue to immerse her reader in her essay. We call this applicant, "In The Car with Mom."

College Essay Examples: Writing About a Background, Identity, or Interest

College Essay Examples: Writing About a Background, Identity, or Interest

Many students choose to respond to the Common Application's first prompt (listed below) for their personal statement. This student (who we're referring to as The Nike Jordans), is one of them. In her essay, she writes about her background in a way that invites the reader to step into her shoes in order to learn more about her character, outlook, and personality. She gained acceptance to Princeton, MIT, U Chicago, and Columbia, among others.

College Essay Examples: Challenging a Belief or Idea (with Humility)

College Essay Examples: Challenging a Belief or Idea (with Humility)

In this essay, a student we're referring to as The Graduation Speaker, answers Common Application prompt #3. ("Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?") His essay is a fantastic example of how to approach this prompt with humility, wit, and likability. He submitted this essay as his personal statement and received acceptance to Stanford, Yale, Dartmouth, Duke, and UCLA.

Brainstorming Tips

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How to Write a Great Transfer Essay

How to Write a Great Transfer Essay

The transfer essay presents new hurdles that differ from those of the standard freshman personal statement. There are three key steps you must take to master the transfer essay. Luckily for you, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to tell you everything you need to know in order to write a fantastic transfer application essay!

How to Tell a Unique Story to Admissions

How to Tell a Unique Story to Admissions

So you know the college essay is an important part of your application, but what can you really accomplish in 650 words? How do you pick a unique topic? Learn how to select the perfect story to tell admissions and make yourself memorable through the art of personal branding.

What is the Personal Statement?

What is the Personal Statement?

Since more colleges see the Common App’s personal statement than any other individual essay, this component of the application is where you want to unleash your very best ideas. But what does a personal statement entail? And how do you write a successful one? This video will address those questions and more!

How Important is the College Essay?

How Important is the College Essay?

Why does the college essay matter? And how can you use this opportunity to speak to admissions in your own voice to your maximum advantage? This video will explain it all. Spoiler alert: You need to be authentic and memorable!

Brainstorming for the College Admissions Essay: What You Need to Know

Brainstorming for the College Admissions Essay: What You Need to Know

This video explores one of applicants’ most common college essay concerns: "What on earth should I write about?" Whether you are worried that you have nothing to say (“What if I’m BORING?!”), or too much to cover (“Which of my bazillion accomplishments does admissions want to hear about most?!”), this video will help you take a flying leap into the college essay topic selection process, walking you through our favorite exercises and strategies for identifying your best stories including our signature Backwards Brainstorm and the Full Body Brainstorm.

The Most Common Brainstorming Mistakes Writers Make

The Most Common Brainstorming Mistakes Writers Make

Brainstorming is HARD -- especially when it comes to brainstorming topics for college essays! This video will walk you though the most common brainstorming mistakes writers make, while illustrating how you can generate creative essay topics and ideas in a way that is fun, freeing, and fruitful.

What Admissions Officers Really Want from a College Essay

What Admissions Officers Really Want from a College Essay

Know how long a college admissions officer spends reading your application? How about your essay? This video will lay out all the facts and stats you need to know about the secret lives of admissions officers. With this information in hand, you'll be better prepared to write the kind of essay admissions officers want to read. When it comes to college admissions, knowing your audience is everything.

Latest Videos

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What To Do If You’ve Been Deferred By Your Dream School

What To Do If You’ve Been Deferred By Your Dream School

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to offer advice on how to stand out after being deferred to the Regular Decision applicant pool. First, check your dream school's website to find out if they accept Deferral Letters (also known as Letters of Continued Interest). If they do, it's time to get typing.

Why Rejection is Actually Good For You

Why Rejection is Actually Good For You

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, knows that many applicants receive disappointing admissions news around this time of year. She also knows that hearing the word “no” can be the best thing that can happen to us at a young age, and it’s important to remember that multiple paths can bring you to your dream.

The Single Choice Early Action Loophole You Need to Know About!

The Single Choice Early Action Loophole You Need to Know About!

Many applicants think that applying Single Choice Early Action or Restrictive Early Action is basically the same as applying Early Decision—and they could not be more wrong!! CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to fill you in on the Restrictive Early Action/Single Choice Early Action loophole all applicants should know about!

College Essay Advisors Reviews: What It’s Like to Work with Us

College Essay Advisors Reviews: What It’s Like to Work with Us

Read reviews from our past clients to learn what it's like to work with College Essay Advisors. Whether you're applying to college as a high school student, or applying to medical school as a recent grad, we can help.

Deferrals and Rejections

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What To Do If You’ve Been Deferred By Your Dream School

What To Do If You’ve Been Deferred By Your Dream School

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to offer advice on how to stand out after being deferred to the Regular Decision applicant pool. First, check your dream school's website to find out if they accept Deferral Letters (also known as Letters of Continued Interest). If they do, it's time to get typing.

Why Rejection is Actually Good For You

Why Rejection is Actually Good For You

CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, knows that many applicants receive disappointing admissions news around this time of year. She also knows that hearing the word “no” can be the best thing that can happen to us at a young age, and it’s important to remember that multiple paths can bring you to your dream.

How to Write a Successful College Admissions Deferral Letter

How to Write a Successful College Admissions Deferral Letter

The deferral letter is similar in purpose to the waitlist letter. The only difference is the position you’re in, how much time you have to work with, and what other options are on the table for you. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to help you draft a distinct deferral letter for admissions.

Writing

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How to Write a Statement of Purpose for Grad School

How to Write a Statement of Purpose for Grad School

When it comes to writing a successful statement of purpose for graduate school, telling a personal story about your goals and ambitions is key. In this video, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, answers frequently asked questions, provides viewers with brainstorming launch pads, and offers insight as to what grad school admissions officers are looking for.

Are “Optional” College Essay Prompts Really Optional?

Are “Optional” College Essay Prompts Really Optional?

Every year, colleges and universities around the world offer applicants the opportunity to respond to "optional" supplemental essay questions...But are these prompts truly optional? CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, lets you in on a college admissions secret.

Can A Great College Essay Get You Into College?

Can A Great College Essay Get You Into College?

We've heard this question time and time again, "Can a great college essay get me into college?" There are many factors that go into an admission officer's decision to accept, defer, waitlist, or reject an applicant. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to answer the question once and for all!

How to Create a Winning Activity Resume (for College Applications!)

How to Create a Winning Activity Resume (for College Applications!)

Many schools will ask you for an “activity resume,” and the Coalition and Common Application have separate sections specifically for activities and extracurriculars, so it’s really easy to overthink this piece of the application. If you’ve never written a resume before, getting started can be incredibly daunting, but don't worry -- CEA is here to help!

Unpopular Opinion: What to do When You’re Waitlisted

Unpopular Opinion: What to do When You’re Waitlisted

In this video, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, offers her (unpopular) opinion as to what students should do when waitlisted at their top college or university.

How to Get Off the Waitlist (at your Dream School)!

How to Get Off the Waitlist (at your Dream School)!

Waiting is tough, and it can feel like forever when it comes to college admissions. If you were waitlisted, don't panic; you are not alone. The good news is that you can do something about it. CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to tell you everything you need to know about getting off the waitlist (and into the college of your dreams)!

Is your College Essay Cliché?

Is your College Essay Cliché?

Applicants often choose to write about cliché subjects because they THINK the resulting essays present the kinds stories admissions officers want to read. To the contrary, jumping on an essay cliché bandwagon can make it nearly impossible for an admissions officer to distinguish you from your closest competition. In this video, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor presents The Cliché Quiz.

How to Write a Great Transfer Essay

How to Write a Great Transfer Essay

The transfer essay presents new hurdles that differ from those of the standard freshman personal statement. There are three key steps you must take to master the transfer essay. Luckily for you, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to tell you everything you need to know in order to write a fantastic transfer application essay!

How to Write a Unique College Essay About a Grandparent

How to Write a Unique College Essay About a Grandparent

So you just can’t shake the voice in your head telling you to write your college admissions essay about your grandma. We get it, grandparents are awesome! They know so much about you! And you’ve gained so much wisdom from your relationship with them! Writing a great personal statement or supplemental essay about them, however, is tricky. Luckily for you, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to help you make sure your essay stands out.

10 Things You Should NEVER Write in Your College Essay

10 Things You Should NEVER Write in Your College Essay

In this video, we will walk you through the top 10 DON'Ts of the college admissions essay writing process, so you can submit your Common App personal statement and school-specific supplemental essays with the utmost confidence! This video will teach you: what not to write under any circumstance (or most circumstances), the mistakes applicants make without even realizing, and more!

How to Turn your Outline into a Stellar Essay

How to Turn your Outline into a Stellar Essay

Structuring a winning college admissions essay is hard. Should you start with the ending and then catch the reader up? Or throw them head first into the action and explain later? And where exactly should you put all of great sentences, you've come up with thus far? In this video, we'll teach you everything you need to know about turning your outline into a rough draft!

College Essay Writing Techniques: How to Write a Rough Draft

College Essay Writing Techniques: How to Write a Rough Draft

Not sure what to do with your brainstorming notes and freewriting? This video will show you how to focus on both breadth and depth while writing your Common App personal statement or school-specific supplemental essays. Build a strong foundation for your college essay by watching this tutorial!

Freewriting, Topic Selection, and the First Draft

Freewriting, Topic Selection, and the First Draft

Freewriting is the key to an amazing college application essay - especially the first draft! Fill up you blank page (or text box) with these tips for getting started (and never stopping) on your way to personal statement success.

Freewriting 101: How to Freewrite for Your College Essay

Freewriting 101: How to Freewrite for Your College Essay

Freewriting is, at its core, just as it sounds: the act of writing freely. It is the exercise of jotting down whatever comes to mind, without judgment or worrying about the final product. Because the college admissions essay holds so much weight, many students struggle with the 'no judgement' part. This video will show you how to put your inner critic aside and let the writing flow.

How do You Know When You’ve Found THE Winning Topic? [TAKE THE TEST]

How do You Know When You’ve Found THE Winning Topic? [TAKE THE TEST]

How do you know when you've found THE topic? You know, the topic that will rule all other topics. The one that will make admissions officers laugh or cry...or both? Does your topic have what it takes to make you stand out from a sea of similarly qualified applicants? This video is here to help you put your topic to the test.

How to Begin the College Essay Writing Process

How to Begin the College Essay Writing Process

One of the hardest parts of writing the college application essay is getting started. Where is the best place to begin? What does admissions really want to hear from you? And how do you know if you’re moving in the right direction? We made this video full of helpful tips to help you break through your initial writing blocks and get you on the road to college essay success.

How To Outline Your Personal Statement

How To Outline Your Personal Statement

Extracting a killer college application essay from your notes, brainstorms, and freewrites may seem like a daunting task. You love your topic, but your ideas are scattered. That's why outlining is your friend.

The Trick to Writing an Amazing Opening Line

The Trick to Writing an Amazing Opening Line

The personal statement is a crucial part of your college application, but it won't help you if it bores admissions officers to tears! Learn the do's and don'ts of how to write a powerful opening line that pulls your reader in from the very first word.

How To Write a Memorable Closing Line

How To Write a Memorable Closing Line

Your personal statement should tell a memorable story that admissions officers just can't shake. Your closing line is your final shot to make a lasting impression before your college fate is sealed! The experts at College Essay Advisors have lined up their most essential tips for writing a killer closing line.

Storytelling

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Is your College Essay Cliché?

Is your College Essay Cliché?

Applicants often choose to write about cliché subjects because they THINK the resulting essays present the kinds stories admissions officers want to read. To the contrary, jumping on an essay cliché bandwagon can make it nearly impossible for an admissions officer to distinguish you from your closest competition. In this video, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor presents The Cliché Quiz.

College Essay Tips: Strategies for Holding an Admissions Officer’s Attention

College Essay Tips: Strategies for Holding an Admissions Officer’s Attention

Most admissions essay are boring!
What can you do to actively pull an admissions officer through your narrative with pointed interest? Are there strategies you can use to push a story forward with a sense of urgency? Of course there are! This video will show you a few of the most effective strategies to capture and keep your reader's attention.

How to Make a College Essay Outline (Before Writing Your Draft)!

How to Make a College Essay Outline (Before Writing Your Draft)!

You have amazing ideas on the page, and now you want to mold these thoughts and concepts into the first semblance of a draft -- but how?! With an outline, of course! If you are equipped with a topic and some freewrites but still don't know how to structure your story, this video will teach you to organize your thoughts into a map that will guide you through the rest of your essay writing process.

How to Find Golden Ideas in your College Essay Freewrites

How to Find Golden Ideas in your College Essay Freewrites

In this video, CEA shows you how to find big patterns in your freewrites and brainstorming notes. Once you identify the prevailing themes and messages in your writing, it's much easier to decide which sentences, ideas, and metaphors will enhance your personal essay and which ones belong on the cutting room floor!

Editing

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Final Tips for Improving Your College Essay Draft

Final Tips for Improving Your College Essay Draft

This is the expert advice we give to our one-on-one advising clients on how they can find ways to reword and restructure their essays into polished, final drafts worthy of an admissions officer's careful read-through. Don't submit an essay that you haven't edited, revised, and polished!

The Triple Edit: Editing Your College Essay for Intrigue

The Triple Edit: Editing Your College Essay for Intrigue

One of the most important steps in the admissions essay creation process is editing your essay for maximum impact. We’re going to show you how to refine the small details within that narrative in the form of a Triple Editing process. Step One: Editing for Intrigue. Let's begin!

Questions to Ask Yourself After You Finish Your Common App Personal Statement

Questions to Ask Yourself After You Finish Your Common App Personal Statement

Does your essay check all the college admissions success boxes? Before you put down your pen (or relax your fingers), you are going to want to ask yourself a few questions. This video will walk you through each of these questions and help you find the answers:

1. Will this essay make admissions wish they could meet me in person? Does it inspire them to want to know more about me?
2. Is this essay actually about me?
3. Will anyone else be able to write this essay in the way I wrote it? Would it be crazy to think of someone else claiming my essay as his/her own?
4. What does this essay say about me? What is the ultimate message I am hoping to convey?
5. Do I feel good about this essay? Would I feel proud reading it aloud in front of an audience? Does it represent who I really am?

How to Review Your Draft to Find Errors | College Essay Quick Tips

How to Review Your Draft to Find Errors | College Essay Quick Tips

What do you do when you have already brainstormed, selected a magic topic, written multiple drafts of your essay, and edited your masterpiece? You review your draft, of course! Over the years, CEA has mastered the art of the review and that's exactly what CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is going to teach you to do in this video from College Essay Advisors.

Dos and Don’ts

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Is your College Essay Cliché?

Is your College Essay Cliché?

Applicants often choose to write about cliché subjects because they THINK the resulting essays present the kinds stories admissions officers want to read. To the contrary, jumping on an essay cliché bandwagon can make it nearly impossible for an admissions officer to distinguish you from your closest competition. In this video, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor presents The Cliché Quiz.

CEA’s Tips for Maintaining your Sanity and Combatting Stress During College Application Season

CEA’s Tips for Maintaining your Sanity and Combatting Stress During College Application Season

If you find yourself hyperventilating over your Common Application personal statement or simply want to recharge before diving into your fourth Why essay, give the exercises in this video a try. You might be pleasantly surprised at the power a posture, a few words, or some silence can have on your mentality.

The 10 Things You Must Do to Write a College Essay Worthy of Admission

The 10 Things You Must Do to Write a College Essay Worthy of Admission

In this video, we will walk you through the top 10 DOs of the college admissions essay writing process, a series of tips that will help you write a personal statement that truly makes an impact on admissions officers and helps you gain acceptance to top schools across the country. Learn what you must include in your essay for it to have a powerful impact, surefire ways to get closer to college essay success, and so much more!

Top 10 College Essay Closing Line Dos and Don’ts

Top 10 College Essay Closing Line Dos and Don’ts

How do you leave an admissions officer with a lasting impression? What makes a college essay truly memorable? Our Top 10 Dos and Don'ts for College Essay Closing Lines will show you how to effectively wrap up your essay and leave admissions with a sense of who you are that they won't easily forget.

The Most Common Mistakes Students Make in Their College Essays

The Most Common Mistakes Students Make in Their College Essays

The admissions essay is a crucial part of your college application because it is the only chance you have to communicate with admissions officers in your own voice. You need to take advantage of every word at your disposal and send the message that you’re the kind of student that colleges should want on their campus. Over our thirteen years of coaching students through the college essay process, we have identified the most common mistakes students make when writing their college essay. Don’t do these things!

Can You Write About Volunteering in Your College Essay?

Can You Write About Volunteering in Your College Essay?

Can you write about volunteering in your college admissions essay? Well, you shouldn’t write about a community-service initiative just because you think it’s what admissions wants to hear. Some essays about volunteer efforts inevitably come off as inauthentic (because they often are).

You Should Never Write This in Your College Essay

You Should Never Write This in Your College Essay

Here is a short and sweet tip from Team CEA: make sure you NEVER write this in your college essay. Keep watching to discover the ultimate college essay don't!

Most Common Essay Topic Mistakes

Most Common Essay Topic Mistakes

Before you decide on your final college application essay topic, check to make sure you haven't made any of these common mistakes.

How to Ask Your Parents for Help

How to Ask Your Parents for Help

As you zone in on the topic you want to write about in your college application essays, mine for the details that will bring your story to life. Approach this phase of writing the personal statement as an interview: what kinds of questions would other people ask? How would you answer them?

Coalition App Essay Prompts

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Coalition Application’s Essay Prompt #6: Topic of Your Choice (2022-23)

Coalition Application’s Essay Prompt #6: Topic of Your Choice (2022-23)

The 2022-23 Coalition Application essay prompts have been announced, which means you can start writing your personal statement right away! CEA Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to talk you through the Coalition App's sixth and final essay prompt.

Coalition Application’s Essay Prompt #5: A Success or Obstacle (2022-23)

Coalition Application’s Essay Prompt #5: A Success or Obstacle (2022-23)

The 2022-23 Coalition Application essay prompts have been announced, which means you can start writing your personal statement right away! CEA Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to break the Coalition App's fifth prompt down, so you can approach the essay writing process with clarity and purpose.

Coalition Application’s Essay Prompt #4: An Idea or Belief (2022-23)

Coalition Application’s Essay Prompt #4: An Idea or Belief (2022-23)

The 2022-23 Coalition Application essay prompts have been announced, which means you can start writing your personal statement right away! CEA Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to help you think through the Coalition App's fourth prompt, so you can make sure your essay stands out.

Coalition Application’s Essay Prompt #3: A Positive Impact (2022-23)

Coalition Application’s Essay Prompt #3: A Positive Impact (2022-23)

The 2022-23 Coalition Application essay prompts have been announced, which means you can start writing your personal statement right away! CEA Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to break down the Coalition App's third essay prompt, so you can write a response worthy of admission.

Coalition Application’s Essay Prompt #1: A Story From Your Life (2022-23)

Coalition Application’s Essay Prompt #1: A Story From Your Life (2022-23)

The 2022-23 Coalition Application essay prompts have been announced, which means you can start writing your personal statement right away! CEA Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to explain what the Coalition App's first prompt is REALLY asking and offer some tips and tricks for penning your response.