College essays 102: The Write Like a Pro process

In high school, you’ve learned solid skills and tools to write academic papers. Elijah used what he had learned to write his first two versions. (There’s a reason they were…ummm…not good.)

But he had to do something different to write that engaging, authentic short story that admissions officers like Sad Jacob loved.

In EssayQuest, we’re going to guide you through the same process Elijah used to write his essay. You’ll build on what you’ve learned in school using the same framework and tools that professional writers and communicators use.

We’re going to teach you their secrets.

If you’re like most American high school students, you probably learned a straightforward approach to writing school papers:

  • Come up with an idea
  • Write a thesis statement and outline
  • Write a draft
  • Another draft
  • Proofread
  • Start your math homework

There’s a good chance that you combine all the aspects of writing in one activity—as you work, you modify your ideas, find typos, rewrite, reorganize, and rephrase.

Over the years, we’ve seen that almost all teenagers and adults approach writing pretty much the same way.

Unless they’re professionals.

The pros follow a process that looks something like this:

Write Like a Pro process diagram
In the next three pages, we’ll break the process down and share an example of a student’s essay.

We have more to share!

Over the next few days, we'll send you College Essays 102, more sample essays, and activities to help you find stories you never knew you could write about.  

We want you to write your best college essay!

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