The Art of the Personal Statement
For millions of high school seniors across the country, the beginning of September means that they will begin contemplating, outlining, and then writing their college application essays. And for many of these students that have a difficult time creating effective essays, they can now take a deep breath and exhale calmly as Alex Thaler has released the book The Art of the Personal Statement.
And, the book can be downloaded for free!
According to a San Francisco Chronicle press release, The Art of the Personal Statement represents a major turning point in college admissions. It is the first full-length publication to be offered for free to the over 21 million students, parents, teachers, and professionals involved in the college application process. And, it is the first mindfulness-based approach to teaching the admissions essay.
Thaler’s book features introductions by the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, Eric Furda, and Amy Jarich, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at UC Berkeley.
The major thing The Art of the Personal Statement does is challenge the universal notion about the admissions essay by rejecting the approaches based on what the admissions committee is supposedly looking for. In the book, students are encouraged to find their authentic voices through a process of reflection and self-discovery.
The book is organized in five parts. The first four introduce the concepts of mindfulness and how it relates to the brainstorming to drafting to editing cycle. The last part of the book includes eighteen sample essays, with each one having a comment and analysis.
In the press release, Thaler said, “Before breaking ground on this project, I set out to achieve three goals. First, I wanted to provide a structure or system for the brainstorming phase of the writing cycle. If you look at other books on the subject, only a few pages at most are dedicated to brainstorming. And yet it is the most difficult part of the process. Second, I wanted to shift the discussion away from winning the game of admissions. The application process should be intuitive, reflective. Third, because the admissions consulting industry provides a competitive edge to individuals with disposable income, I wanted to create an ‘admissions offset’ that would balance that negative effect. Giving the book away for free levels the playing field a bit.”
For many schools today, the difference between gaining entrance and being denied or wait-listed lies in your ability to write compelling and stimulating essays. It is not enough to simply be grammatically correct. Today’s essays must deliver an impact and prove to admissions boards that you have what it takes to excel at their institution.
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