If you are currently a high school senior who worries that you've never cured cancer or published a novel and thus will have nothing significant to share at application time, this book is for you. --CollegeConfidential.com Book Reviews
Still writing college essays? Take a look at Concise Advice: Jump-Starting Your College Application Essays
by Robert Cronk --Charlotte Observer, Countdown to College
Robert Cronk's recently published book, Concise Advice: Jump-Starting Your College Admissions Essay
suggests a clever cinematic model for showing
and not telling
your story. --Examiner.com
Interview With the AuthorSo, how did this book come about?
I have been interested in college admissions topics ever since my second son was in high school and getting interested in majors and schools. I actually did some research for him in terms of helping him with his list of schools he might look at, found collegeconfidential.com (affectionately known as "CC") and got hooked. It's a site where students get together and discuss admissions, majors, school life, admissions chances, essays, and tons of other areas. I gravitated to the Parents Forum on that site. Occasionally, the subject of essays would arise and I thought I had a "formula" for writing essays. With lots of discussion, I refined the approach and put it into a book.
And the approach was to use movie scripts as a model for "show, don't tell?"
[Laughs] No, the first approach to the book, while creating similar essays, wasn't really that specific. A germ of the idea was there, but it was only after I read the first draft that the revelation came, Once I had the flash about screenplay structure, all the rest fell into place instantly. I immediately rewrote the whole book tying the approach to films. It just seemed to make sense to me.Well, it made sense to me also, and I guess to a lot of other people too
Actually, I wasn't sure what to expect. I can't really judge my own writing, but the words flowed so easily in creating the book that I thought it might be an easy read as well. I showed the manuscript to a few people and was totally surprised to get very positive feedback. People who read it actually got excited about it. I've never had that happen before. I was especially surprised by reactions from three teachers who just raved about it in the context of what they thought would really make a difference in helping their students.And then you had it published
Yes, sort of incrementally published [laughing]. It came out first as a Amazon Kindle eBook, then as what I call a "real book," the softbound version.Do you think the Kindle version would sell?
The Kindle version had been out only a week and I had done no promotional work at all except to note on CC that I had published this little book. I was waiting for my fist shipment of "real books" and only then I would start some kind of campaign. But before that happened, my sister called and said, "You're number 33 on Amazon's Best-Seller List." That was hard to believe, and I found out that wasn't quite true. It was a much narrower list: Best-Selling Kindle Books in the Education Reference category. See, define narrow enough categories and we can all be best-selling authors. But hey, I was still shocked. And since the list is updated hourly, I watched as it went all the way to Number 4. The positive reviews on the site really helped, I think, as well as the fact that if you searched for "College Essay Advice" mine was the first book that came up. Even searching on "College Essays" brought up my book as second on the list. So even before we started promoting it, it started selling. Frankly, I was flabbergasted.What's your background?
I've always loved to teach. I've taught at the high school and university levels and I've even taught an adult GED class. My undergrad degree was in Physics at Georgia Tech and my graduate degree, Information Science, also came from Tech. I also did graduate work at the University of South Florida in Secondary Math Education. I've always thought the perfect job was half teaching and half research. So one of my favorite jobs was working at the Artificial Intelligence Lab of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie-Mellon University. I went to the department and asked to teach at least one class. They responded that it was not what I was hired for, but gave me a section of a computer programming class. I also worked at Bell Labs for many years and now work for Verizon.Are you still teaching?
Heavens no. I've been out of teaching for a while. But here's a funny story. I recently volunteered at a public elementary school in an area where many of the kids have "transient" families, staying in one place but a short while before moving on. And the class I got assigned to was kindergarten kids! I was impressed with the teacher I was helping. Now that's hard work. Believe me, older kids are so much easier.Well, I wish you continued success. I think your book will be a real lifeline for students struggling with essays.
Thank you. The feedback I've gotten from students themselves is so much more important to me than all the other reviews.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.