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College Admissions/Scholarship Essays: How to Write a Winner

This guide assembles books, websites, and videos to help you write a successful college, scholarship or transfer application essay.

YouTube Video: Writing a Strong College Admissions Essay

  • In this 2 minute video you will see and hear snippets from admissions officers from Brown, Georgetown and Yale with their ideas on what constitutes a solid admissions essay.

YouTube Videos: Stumbling Blocks

  • In the 3 minute video below you will see and hear a Stanford University admissions officer discuss the positives/negatives of an admission essay.


  • In the 2 minute video below you will see a critique of a different essay by an admissions officer from Stanford University and 2 other admissions officers from the University of California/Berkley, all of whom wish the essay writer had shown more of who she was individually, as a person.

YouTube Videos: How-Tos

  • Ethan Sawyer, author of the book College Essay Essentials (listed in this guide), offers a 24 minute crash course on how to write an outstanding personal statement for a college admissions application. He covers brainstorming the topic, deciding on the topic, structuring the statement, outline types and more in the video below.


  • In the 16 minute video below Ethan Sawyer demonstrate four qualities of an outstanding personal statement despite using pretty common topics.
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