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103 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and serious; useful for post college, too
Though it would initially seem aimed at applying to undergraduate schools, "On Writing the College Application Essay" is excellent for essay writing in general (including MBA applications :-).
The first half emphasizes the importance of knowing your audience. Although we're inclined to think nobel laureates will pore over our applications, the reality...
Published on August 26, 2000 by Jim Carson

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28 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but incomplete
As noted by many others, this is a very good book for helping applicants write their essays. But this book should not replace a guide to college admissions; in fact, while Bauld does a great job focusing on the essay, his does miss a few important tips and strategies that the more general guides include. I suggest buying this book along with books by Jay Mathews or Andrew...
Published on June 24, 2003


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103 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and serious; useful for post college, too, August 26, 2000
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Though it would initially seem aimed at applying to undergraduate schools, "On Writing the College Application Essay" is excellent for essay writing in general (including MBA applications :-).
The first half emphasizes the importance of knowing your audience. Although we're inclined to think nobel laureates will pore over our applications, the reality is they're screened by the Sarah Bleary and Henry Haggards of the world: real folks who see so many applications, that they struggle to differentiate them.
Knowing your audience is only one part of the equation. In the essay, you must convince the reader that you're YOU. Instead, many applicants portray themselves based on what they think the admissions committee wants, often to the extent of sweeping banalities. Bauld explores several of these with his sharp wit. Perhaps the funniest is Pet Death: "As I watched Buttons' life ebb away, I came to value the important things in this world."
In the second half, Bauld suggests you take a chill pill, then start keeping a notebook of any ideas an observations -- anything. Eventually you'll start to relax enough that your writing will come alive. However, before it can come alive, you must get something on paper.
You'll continuously refine and tighten your opus, and the author gives several suggestions of how to approach this, with examples of first, second and third drafts.
Finally, Bauld includes several different essays, a few from college applications, and most not. Each of these conveys a different style but illustrates the crux of the book: you gotta be you.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource and easy to read, March 20, 2002
By 
monkuboy (Temple City, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I've read several books on the college application process and it is clear that the essay plays a major role in determining whether or not an applicant is accepted. Mr. Bauld has written an entertaining, informative and very easy-to-read book that is also thankfully short. No long-winded, self-congratulatory filler here! It gets right to the point and is generous with excellent examples. In fact, this book is a great resource not only for those prepping to write a college application essay, but it contains great advice for writers in general. This book is well worth its reasonable price for the ideas, motivation and examples it provides. Now I need to get a clue from Mr. Bauld and keep this short and to the point. Bye.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understand essay process & write one that shows the real you, June 7, 2003
By 
ElizabethB (Los Gatos, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This book gives an excellent and easy to read look at writing your college application essay. If you are just going to read a book and not do the exercises, this is a great choice - it doesn't have any exercises. Instead, the emphasis is on finding your own voice and telling your story. For example, he gives a list of the most overused, deadly topics and then shows how you can write a really good essay on one of the "forbidden" topics. He also includes a number of sample essays with comments from real college admissions officers - so you can see for yourself the difference between good, bad and mediocre.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What not to do, January 23, 2004
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As Bauld states up front, the proper question is not - "What should my essay be about?" - but rather - "What should I avoid?" Speaking from the position of someone who has had to endure the tedious job of reading college admissions essays, Bauld describes the process from *their* point of view to give the reader some insight into things that will immediately get you relegated to the "reject" or "wait list" stack. The list of cliches is short, easy to understand, and easy to identify in my own attempts at writing.
In addition to that invaluable service of pointing out the pitfalls, the book offers some basic guidelines on essay writing. Obviously, it can't replace years of slacking off in school, so most students should know some of these things before they begin the admissions process, but it doesn't hurt to have a concise list of what to do and especially what *not* to do. I liked having the refresher - sometimes we have to be reminded about little rules and annoyances.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best of its Type, August 30, 2005
I teach high school juniors, and we have a unit on writing the college admissions essay. This is one of the best on the subject that I've read. It is short, which will appeal to the teenage reader, and it is humorous, which appealed to me and, I am sure, will appeal to them. My daughter, who is in the midst of writing the application essay, read the book. To me, that is high praise. I recommend it.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and inspiring, September 20, 2004
This is not only the best book on writing the college application essay, but one of the best books about writing, period. With amazingly fresh and funny examples throughout, it shows how bored admissions officers are by the pompous, self-congratulatory essays that students often think they're supposed to write--and how those students can do much, much better. It literally changed my daughter's life, not only because she got into the very competitive college of her choice, but because she now is a sharper, more interesting writer.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful and amusing advice on writing an original essay., December 22, 1997
By 
This book really helped me through the college application process. I was having a hard time trying to come up with a topic that wouldn't put admission officers to sleep, and this book did exactly that. Harry Bauld worked for a university and knows what catches the eye and what doesn't. I was able to come up with a clever topic for my essay. This may sound too good to be true, but my essays, with the advice and tips on from Harry Bauld, partially helped me get a full scholarship to college. I highly recommend this book to anyone having any trouble writing essays! Good luck!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome...and it really worked!, April 7, 2002
By A Customer
To anyone who is looking to give their college application a little something special, this book is a must. I was accepted yesterday to a top 50 school from a community college largely, in my opinion, because of this book. While other factors were involved, this book helped me to form and shape a really attractive and unique essay which made me stand out from others. He doesn't have any magical formula, and the applicant will have to work for it, but he gives you the right tools to craft an essay that is a work of art. Trust me, if you don't get any other book for college, get this one! It's well worth the money!
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47 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have book for college applicants!, May 8, 1999
By A Customer
This is one exceptional and extraordinary book that I have ever read in the ever-eventful approach to climacteric college application essays. I have examined through 35 or so similar self-help related books with a "magnifier and a fine-tooth-comb," and all have particularly failed in comparison to Harry Bauld's work of art. Bauld's book is the quintessential of this topic. His book unquestionably stood out from all the other books (like an illuminated Eiffel Tower in a dark Parisian night). Bauld's book is that vital "compass" bewildered high school students ache for in order to get across that catastrophic hurdle of applying to colleges. Bauld teaches (with intense & witty humor) the reader to concretely compose for themselves (in an invigorating and upstanding technique-form) an essay that upholds the applicant's chances in getting into "The Dream" University, rather than have it end up in the "round file." Bauld's meticulous methods are fair and justified. He distinctly illustrates his accounts on the How, What, When, Where & Why, as well as the bloopers most writers have mistakenly included in their essays. One revelation that should catch an ordinary John or Jane Doe's eye is that Harry Bauld has been behind the admissions scene at Ivy League Schools (Brown and Columbia). In essence, he is not of the countless, clueless or ignorant high school college counselors that often misinform and misdirect students on the applicants' approaches to the "Field of Dreams." Bauld takes you to the Ballpark and coaches you through the entire game: from the initial thought process, to brainstorming of ideas, to the roughdraft stages of writing and to the finale of editing. He narrates on the "McGwirean-homerun-hitting-essays" as well as those critically "how-to-strike-out-essays." He includes inconceivable and exemplary essays that "got in," and model essays that "got tossed." Moreover, this book not only serves the solo purpose for high school students applying to colleges, but for college students applying to higher elite institutions as well. I am a living testimony to this. I had extreme difficulty drafting a convincing essay to Stanford University. After exercising the guerilla tactics by Bauld, I got accepted! Last but not least, this is one book that teaches you to write better. Indeed, Bauld's book is the super-octane gasoline any lost applicant needs to drive from Point A to Point B in the college application essay process. I give this book five stars and two thumbs up (way up)! Harry Bauld's winning book will lead you through the minefield! Remember: a winner picks a winner.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - got an average student into a good college, June 30, 2011
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This was the first book I picked up to help me with the college essay writing process and it turned out to be the only book that I needed. Concise, engaging and thorough, the book offered me a view of the admissions officers side of the process that helped me shape my essay into something that was unique and stood out from the others. I had an average GPA, good test scores, and average extracurriculars, so it was pretty much up to the essay to determine whether or I would get into college. Surely enough, I'm going off to a top 10 school this fall and I attribute most of my success this to this book!
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