Conquering The College Admissions Essay In 10 Steps, Third Edition: Crafting A Winning Personal Statement by Alan GelbConquering The College Admissions Essay In 10 Steps, Third Edition: Crafting A Winning Personal Statement by Alan Gelb

Conquering The College Admissions Essay In 10 Steps, Third Edition: Crafting A Winning Personal…

byAlan Gelb

Paperback | June 20, 2017

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The definitive guide to writing an amazing essay and mastering the college applications process.

Writing a memorable personal statement can seem like an overwhelming project for a young college applicant, but college essay coach Alan Gelb's organized and encouraging step-by-step instructions take the intimidation out of the process, enabling applicants to craft a meaningful and polished college admissions essay. Gelb teaches students to identify an engaging topic and use creative writing techniques to compose a vivid statement that will reflect their individuality. A consistent top-seller in the college prep category, Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Easy Steps has been revised to include extra information on supplemental and waitlist essays. This much-needed handbook will help applicants win over the admissions dean, while preparing them to write better papers once they've been accepted.

For more, visit the author’s website at  

ALAN GELB is a college essay coach and professional writer whose clients include colleges and universities across the country. He is the author of The Complete Student, A Survival Guide for Students, and Most Likely to Succeed, among others.
Title:Conquering The College Admissions Essay In 10 Steps, Third Edition: Crafting A Winning Personal…Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 7 × 5 × 0.7 inPublished:June 20, 2017Publisher:Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/RodaleLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0399578692

ISBN - 13:9780399578694

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Read from the Book

Introduction If you’re looking for an instruction book on how to write the college application essay, you’ll be happy to know that there are quite a few excellent ones on the market. In fact, if you have all the time in the world, I suggest you check out as many of these as you can. Chances are, they’ll all contain some useful ideas. But if you’re pressed for time—and what high school senior isn’t?—then you can feel confident that the book at hand is your fastest and surest way to produce the kind of application essay you’re after. How is this book different from all the others out there? First of all, it has been pared down to the essentials. I’ve coached a great many students through this process and know that it doesn’t make any sense to choose the first semester of the senior year as the time to “share secrets from college admissions counselors” or “sample essays from great writers like E. B. White, George Orwell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.” This is the time when you want to focus exclusively on that which is absolutely critical, eliminate anything that feels like padding, and simply get the job done in the best possible way as fast as you can. To that end, I’ve organized this learning process into a ten-step system. I’d like to say ten “easy” steps because “easy” is such a persuasive word, like “new,” “improved,” and “best ever.” But the truth is that some of these steps are not that “easy.” That said, none is insurmountable. If you follow this book in its logical sequence, you will arrive at your destination—a well-turned college application essay designed to linger in the minds of those who read it. My book is different from others on this subject in that it focuses entirely on process. As I said, I will not be offering any extraneous material, like “secrets” from admissions counselors at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale. Such secrets are enticing, but ultimately do little to help your cause. What will help is to truly understand the elements of a well-constructed narrative, which is what this book will be teaching.

Table of Contents


Introduction | 4

STEP ONE: Understanding the Narrative | 10
STEP TWO: Finding Your Topic | 27
STEP THREE: Point of View | 44
STEP FOUR: Getting It Down | 57
STEP FIVE: “Big Picture” Editing | 70
STEP SIX: Second Draft | 86
STEP SEVEN: Self-Editing | 102
STEP EIGHT: Third Draft | 116
STEP NINE: Pulling It Together | 133
STEP TEN: Finishing Up | 152

Appendix 1: Real Student Essays | 165
Appendix 2: Conquering the Supplementals | 195
Appendix 3: For Parents | 220
Appendix 4: New for Teachers | 222

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Alan Gelb's Approach: "Indispensable...Gelb provides applicants with much-needed advice as well as the confidence and skills they need to win over the admissions dean." —Sue Wasiolek, dean of students at Duke University  “Alan Gelb has done the impossible: he’s created a sane and simple process for crafting a knock-your-socks-off essay! His guide is perfect for high school students facing the most important document they will ever write. The student still has to do the work, but Gelb’s approach reduces the stress.” —Donald Asher, author of Cool Colleges and Graduate Admissions Essays  “Alan’s guidance in the process of writing my college essay was invaluable. Not only did I end up with an immensely superior product than I would have without his help, I also learned, with Alan’s help, how to mine the depths of my experience to find a meaningful narrative and then convey it with a clear, coherent structure. I got in early decision to Columbia University with that essay; I am forever indebted to Alan for that.”  —Josh Freed, admitted early decision to Columbia University “Taking an ordinary essay and helping to mold it into an extraordinary one is what Alan Gelb does best. [He] helped transform ... my essay into a final draft that could stand out amongst an elite crowd.”  —Megan S. Steven, PhD, one of Alan’s first students, admitted to Dartmouth for undergrad and awarded a Rhodes scholarship; now a faculty member with the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College “Alan Gelb saved us by working with our daughters to help them understand what works in a college essay. My daughters’ admissions to Brown and Macalester were enormously helped by his advice.”  —Jane Hirschmann, parent