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on August 10, 2006
I've thought very carefully about making this statement, and must submit that this book contributed significantly to my daughter's successful application process. Her grades were hardly top level, but, inspired by McGinty's clear and direct recommendations, she worked hard on her essays and is now enrolled in an Ivy League college. Unlike other purportedly helpful books in this field, this one focuses on the reflective and personal process that actually makes this rite of passage an edifying one for the student. McGinty helps her readers write an essay that will fulfill its purpose; i.e., enable a college admissions officer to learn about the applicant. Rather than dictating a series of rote "How-tos," she encourages self-exploration and -expression as a means to this end. Her unique perspective as an educator and college admissions consultant make her eminently qualified to guide a teenager through the swamp that the application essays can come to feel like. As a writing teacher myself, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
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on June 30, 2009
This book seems to be written from a literary perspective and not a college application perspective. It clearly doesn't take chances where it has to, such as giving clear examples of points only titled in the book. This book should change its name to "How to Write a Paper for College," as it does just that.

The first 66 pages are what you would find in any beginning composition class, but as seniors approaching college, students need more than just the basics. Almost all of the examples aren't even application essay examples, but literary examples which don't serve a purpose. Examples such as an introduction on Dickens is completely useless. How about an introduction for a college application essay? And the examples go on from there: desert animals, The Simpsons, Hamlet, Moby Dick, and a comparison of FDR and Wilson. It's almost as if the writer can't write a good application essay, which is why the examples are literary and historical in nature. and not really talking about a college applicant and what makes them an individual, unique, and special, for the college he or she wants to attend..

What students really need are powerful introductions, a method of bringing themselves out in an essay, and memorable conclusions, not just worthless literary examples for English 101.
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on January 30, 2009
Excellent book; if you want real advice on how to write a stellar application essay, this is the guide for you. At first, I purchased a few other books on the topic, but they were not helpful because they simply cited positive aspects of other students' essays. It's hard (and not advisable) to copy other people's writing. Also, these books were all about "selling yourself," and produced very canned, artificial drafts.

After hearing many great things about McGinty's book, I found that it helped me craft an essay which reflected my character, spirit, and ideas-- my essay soon dramatically changed into a more interesting and powerful part of my application. Using these strategies, I was admitted to a top 5 college and a top 5 law school despite my less-than-great test scores. You will not regret this investment!!
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on July 18, 2008
I invested a lot of time learning Sarah's rules and techniques to successful application writing and let me tell you there are a few tricks to the trade that aren't as intuitive as one may think. The most valuable part of her `program', for lack of a better word, is helping come up with a cohesive application profile. It helps you choose essay topics that reflect this profile and ensure that you are presenting yourself fairly and adequately to the admission committee. Her book clearly identifies the traps that unsuccessful applicants fall into and helps you steer clear of the canned essays so many are unsuccessful with. I have recently been accepted to one of the top 3 business programs worldwide by following Sarah's methods. I highly Sarah's essay writing program.
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on June 11, 2015
Not a big fan of this book. The sample essays are sparse and barely provide depth as to what colleges are looking for when reading essays. I found it much more helpful to read real application essays in Admitsee.com to get a good sense of exactly what colleges are looking for.
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on September 19, 2012
Excellent book; I recommend this book to any aspiring college student, as it helped me with my own college application essay. It gives real advice on how to write a great application essay by giving examples, techniques, and suggestions! Definite keeper.
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on January 16, 2014
If you've been out of an English class for some time or just need a review of how to write a coherent essay, this book will cover the basics. Although helpful for high school juniors, the authors also direct their advice to parents, international students, vets and transfers. I read this as a transferring student, already half way done with my essays. Found good organization tips and focusing advice. The book stresses uniqueness, telling you to avoid writing a resume trap.
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on August 8, 2006
Ms McGinty's advice on crafting a noteworthy college application essay is a wonderful aid to an aspiring college student. She provides numerous examples of essays but, more importantly, clearly outlines how to approach the process so the finished product actually reflects the person who is writing it. The point is not to imitate someone else's impressive essay but rather to utilize the advice in this book to speak with your own voice while remaining aware of what colleges are looking for - that is, to think about the process in addition to making use of practical suggestions. I think this book is an invaluable guide to a challenging, even intimidating, undertaking.
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on September 24, 2015
I am very disappointed with this book. It isn't really about writing a college application but rather about the application process and general writing. It is not well written and jumps around between topics.
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on January 3, 2013
I love this book! The author did a great job helping students with college application essay and relaxing during college application process. I can say that working on the college application is one of the most stressful things I have ever done. And this book really helps me! Thank you very much!
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