For over 14 years, Tania Runyan has guided thousands of students in understanding, exploring, and crafting the college application essay—with winning results.
This guide explains what the college application essay is all about: why a student has to write it, the nature of this special writing project, when and how a student should start, and what can be learned about writing itself through this milestone process.
Providing everything a student needs to go from draft to polished essay, the instruction is straightforward, easy to apply, and inspiring. Woven throughout this engaging guide are illuminating quotes from admissions counselors who want to read just the kind of essays this book can help a student write.
Includes sample essays from students who got into the colleges of their dreams. Also features helpful samples for special situations like transfers. Invaluable resource!
In the Words of a Guidance Counselor
“As a high school counselor, I’m often asked to help students with their college application essays. So often, they enter the process unsure of how to begin, stressed out, and looking for the secret key to success. In How to Write a College Application Essay, Tania Runyan demystifies the essay writing process, provides clear steps to help students create an authentic and compelling essay, and coaxes students to discover their original voice. This book is a valuable resource that I will enthusiastically recommend to my students and their families.”
–Lisa Scanio, High School Counselor, Adlai Stevenson High School
In the Words of Teachers
Everything You Need: Students and Teachers
“I have been coaching students on their college applications for over 20 years. In the past, I have relied on my own handouts and NO, REALLY assurances. Ms. Runyan has collected all of her experiences and shares them frankly with a sincere conversational voice, a true sense of audience, and a gentle humor. It’s a perfect complement to my own approach.
What Ms. Runyan provides is a bevy of practical exercises, encouraging quotes from admissions officers, and examples of successful application essays. It’s concise yet highly highlightable.
I have ordered several copies for my students who will begin writing their essays this summer. I’m considering ordering a few more.”
—Amazon Reviewer, Jen A. Hawk
Great, useful, clear guide for college-bound students
“As a high school teacher of seniors, I find this book indispensable. The clarity of focus for each chapter, the step-by-step process of writing an essay, and the sample personal statements all make it ideal for college applicants. I use the book to teach my students their essay-writing process, and am considering making it a part of their class reading list.”
—Amazon Reviewer, E. P. Todd Gordon
In the Words of Parents
This Book Will Make You WANT to Write That Essay!
I’m the mother of a junior in high school and discovering there is considerable stress in finishing high school while trying to prepare for your future. This college stuff is intense! But Runyan’s book was a breath of fresh air in the midst of information overload on so many fronts.
I love to read and enjoy a good writer. A book on any topic is just plain better when written by a good writer, and Runyan is just that. She is fun and engaging, and I easily read this book in a day. Students are so busy surviving school, taking SATs, researching colleges…but Runyan gets to heart of the issue and doesn’t bog you down in information you don’t need. She gives it to you straight and simple and even makes it fun. The quotes from people who actually read these application essays were very insightful, and the sample essays are worth the price of the book alone. Runyan makes this task doable for any student. I highly recommend this book – it would make a great gift to any high school junior or senior.”
—Amazon reviewer, Julie Klingler
Moving high school students from dread to confidence to enthusiasm about the college application essay
“At once authoritative and accessible, and with a calming voice of matter-of-fact understanding, Tania Runyan gives clear, easy-to-follow guidance on writing a college application essay (including how to revise!). Examples of autobiographical essays by published authors demonstrate good prose. Insights and quotes from admissions officers give us an inside view of how to write an essay that stands out. Appendix C gives more than 20 example college application essays.
Chapter 2 is a favorite. It contains a “Never Ever Do These!” list as well as a “Yes, Yes, Always Do These!” list.
As the mother of a college freshman and a 10th grader who already has a dream school in mind, I purchased a copy for our family and another copy to give away. This book can do more than just eliminate anxiety — it can get students pumped about college applications.
And, without even noticing, they will also become better writers.”
—Amazon reviewer, Monica Sharman