Cos Cob Library to Sponsor Free College Essay Lecture, July 20

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Daisy Florin and Michele Turk. Contributed

The Cos Cob Library will sponsor a free lecture on how to write an impressive college application essay on Wednesday, July 20 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Michele Turk, a local writer, editor and writing instructor, will provide step by step guidance about how to:

• Tackle the Common Application essay prompts and various supplemental essays;

• Select appropriate topics and themes;

• Organize and focus the essays;

• Find your voice and particular style;

• Avoid common essay mistakes.

Both students and their parents are welcome to attend. Pre-registration is required – walk-ins will not be admitted. To sign up, email Michele@ablocofwriters.com or call 203-622- 2968.

Why start so early?

1. Time is on your side. Summer is the optimal time to start working on college applications, but many students put it off until the fall when they have to squeeze it into their busy schedules, says Turk. Instead of waiting until the last minute, students should make a schedule and strategy for completing the essays long before the November or January deadlines.

2. Many students will need to write between 10 and 20 essays. Even though the Common Application has streamlined and simplified the college application process, the personal statement is just one of several essays students may need to write. Many of the most competitive colleges require supplemental essays in addition to or, in some cases, instead of the Common App essay. “Some students will write 20 or more essays, and the shorter 150- to 250-word essays can be equally difficult — and as important — as the 650-word Common App essay,” said Turk.

3. They need additional guidance. Students who got a late start because junior year was crammed with homework, testing or extracurricular activities may not have had a chance to visit many colleges, ask teachers for letters of recommendation or get to know their guidance counselor. As a result, many students need help figuring out which colleges to apply to, whether to apply Early Action (EA) or Early Decision (ED), and how to handle key application questions, recommendations and interviews. To that end, A Bloc of Writers has hired a college admissions consultant who will be available to clients on an hourly basis.

4. Parents learn exactly how much work is involved in the college application process. Some parents assume that writing college essays won’t be too challenging if their child has done well in school. But there is a huge difference between writing a high school English paper and writing a college application essay, says Turk. “Many students we work with have never written this type of narrative essay, so it’s not surprising to us that even top students struggle with the task,” says Turk. “Many parents don’t realize this until late in the application process—that’s when they come to us.”

However, it’s much easier to start with a college essay tutor early who can help students brainstorm and hone ideas, focus their essays and avoid making mistakes that can jeopardize their chances of admission, said Turk. “There’s a huge misconception that we write essays for students when in fact, so much of what we do involves helping them figure out what their story is, and then how to frame and shape that story into a strong college essay.”

Michele Turk has worked as a writer and editor for two decades. Her articles have appeared in Business Week, USA Weekend, Parents and Parenting magazines, among others. She has worked an adjunct professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University and is the author of Blood, Sweat and Tears: An Oral History of the American Red Cross, and co-editor of Ink Stained, a collection of essays published by members of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Class of 1992.

See also:

How to Choose a Topic for Your Common App Essay

Four Red Flags on the Path to an Impressive College Essay


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