College essays 102: The Write Like a Pro process

The three phases

When you put your attention on one thing at a time—and don’t get distracted by anything else—you do a better job.

That’s why the pros break the work of writing into three phases.

In each phase, you’ll learn straightforward tools that professionals use. You may find that some are simple and intuitive; others may be less familiar and will take time to master.

By going through the three phases step-by-step, you’ll write a better college essay and learn skills and a framework you can use for the rest of your life.

We’ll show you how to quiet the noise in your mind and bring the good stuff in the back of your brain out to the front.

Mainly, you’re going to be writing quickly—getting your ideas down as fast as you can. Quantity, quantity, quantity. Grammar, spelling, message, and structure don’t matter here. It can be horribly written. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Just get those thoughts out of your head.

We’ll give you a couple of simple tools that will help you write 5,000–10,000 words of raw content. You’ll need that many to write the kind of short story that Jacob wants to read.

That may sound like a lot. Crazy, even. But we’ll show you how to do it quickly and easily.

We’ll show you how to understand and make sense of what you’ve written and how to discover patterns and connections in your raw content.

From there, you’ll create your personal intention: what you want Jacob to know about you, no matter what.

You’ll create a strategy for all of your essays (including supplemental essays) so that you reuse content efficiently.

And you’ll play and experiment with different ways of putting your raw content together until you find a structure that—once it’s polished—will become that engaging, authentic short story that shows who you are. It may be 1200 ugly words with no transitions, beginning, or ending. That’s ok. You’ll be ready to move on.

We’ll show you how to tighten up your ideas, breathe life into your words, and be intentional about your tone.

You’ll grab your reader’s attention from the first line, move smoothly through the essay, and end it like a pro.

You’ll learn how to polish your sentences until they sing.

You’ll cover the nuts and bolts: little points of grammar, fine-tuning your layout, catching sneaky words and phrases that take away from your writing.

And, we’ll give the people who proofread your essay instructions on how to do that well.

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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