The Personal Essay is the centerpiece of the Common Application. It receives the greatest amount of time and attention and rightly so. It is where applicants have the opportunity to show who they are, beyond all the listings of grades, activities, and scores.

The priority, here, lies with allowing the writer’s unique voice to shine through, while prompting them to deepen their responses so the writing becomes clear, specific, and alive.

Once the Personal Essay is complete, we move to the other parts of the application - the extracurricular activities and short answer questions. We approach these sections with a focus that eliminates redundancy and ensures all parts of the application reinforce each other.

Then, it is on to tackling the supplemental essays. Here, the same strategies apply.