First Impressions College Consulting -

Sharon Epstein
First Impressions College Consulting

Proudly providing college essay writing, interview skills, resume writing in Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Stamford, Weston, Westport, Wilton Connecticut, and surrounding towns. Plus world-wide on the Internet.

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Writing advice, interview skills and admissions help 


  • Over 800,000 Common Application Essays were submitted for 2015-2016

  • 47 percent chose to write about their background, identity, interest or talent


What is the purpose of a college application essay?

Your college essay is the way that college admissions officers get to know you apart from your test scores and grades. It's your personality on the page.

The schools learn what kind of person you are—how you think, how you make decisions, how you see the world, and what experiences have been meaningful or important to you. Most of all, it helps the schools determine if you will  be a good fit.

What is the Common Application essay?
When people talk about a college essay, they're usually talking about the essay on the Common Application. The Common Application  is an application that is filled out once and sent to all the colleges you're applying to that accept it. Currently, over 600 schools accept the Common Application.

Do all schools accept the Common Application?
No. Schools that don't accept the Common Application usually require students to write different essays. Check your college list so that you know.

What do colleges look for in a college application essay?

College admissions officers look for three main things in an essay:
    •    How well you write
    •    How you organize your thoughts
    •    What's unique and special about you

Colleges also look for a learning or growth experience.

Your story should always contain a learning or growth experience.  For instance, your experience might have led you to develop new  goals, to recognize how you'd handle a certain situation differently, or to learn resilience when you work through an obstacle. Colleges look to see how you've grown because it helps them picture the type of student you'll be when you get to campus and adjust to a new environment.

How important for my essay to be original?

Very. That doesn't mean that you have to write about a topic no one else has ever written about (practically impossible). But it does mean that you should think of an original approach—a way to tell your story that is unique to you.

Do all colleges require a college application essay?

No, but most do.

What are the 2016-2017 Common Application Essay Questions?
1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

 2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

How many essays does the Common Application require?

What is the Common Application essay word limit?
650 words.

It is possible to upload more than 650 words?

Will some colleges want me to write additional essays?
Yes. Some colleges will ask you for one or more additional essays. These are called supplemental essays.

How can I keep up to date about the Common Application?

The Common App has a Facebook page. Like the page and get updates in your newsfeed.