Big College Essay Mistake

Essays/Apps Bootcamp | ACT/SAT | Recruiting Webinar

I’m still recovering from yesterday’s essays and applications bootcamp, our first of the summer. Congrats to the 19 students who worked all day on their essays!  I would have HATED something like that when I was 16.

Who am I kidding?  I never would have gone to an essay bootcamp!  But today’s kids work way harder than we did.

I’d like to share some takeaways from yesterday’s event that could be helpful if you have a rising Senior.

Most kids don’t think about their AUDIENCE when writing their essays. That’s because they’re so wrapped up in their little narcissistic selves.


Well, half kidding. 🙂

Picture the poor admissions officer, locked up for months between November-January 1, reading hundreds, even thousands (for realz) of essays.  Sound glamorous?

Yeah, right.  It’s cold, it’s dark, and it’s TEDIOUS!

So if you submit an essay bragging about the plethora and myriad leadership lessons you derived when you overcame your obstacle, you’re sure as shootin’ guaranteed to produce one, inevitable result:


Your friendly admissions officer is begging – dying for – you to be INTERESTING.

Not brag about how you single-handedly built a village in a week for some Third World  “little folks” whom you’ll never see again, now that you applied to college.

And certainly not to describe your Rocky-esque comeback once you were cut from the cheerleading team, were humbled, went back to the Old Gym, shook your pom-poms, did 24 splits an hour and screamed your buns off for 14 hours a day and were voted Most Improved next year.


Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.  Don’t feel pressure to make huge, sweeping statements or teach monumental, philosophical lessons.

In other words, it’s OK to “go small.”  Give details, lots of ’em.

Pick two or three anecdotes that support the Big Idea you’re trying to express in your essay.  Then go deep – like you’re writing a movie scene. What did you hear?  What did you see?  How do these experiences support your Big Idea?

Imagine yourself floating out of your body, Dr. Strange-style, disassociated from your physical self.  What can you observe about you, from a third party perspective? What’s interesting about you, when you get out of yourself?

That’s a small, surface-scratching example of what we’re planning on doing in our next available “Incomparable Applicant” College Essays and Applications Bootcamp.  If you want your kids’ essays and apps done before school starts in 45 days (YES – 45 DAYS), don’t blow this opportunity to drop them off and let me whip ’em into shape (figuratively, we have a strict “No Touch” policy at the firm). – use the coupon code “STANDOUT” to save 500 bucks, until the end of the month or we run out of space.


I’m running a free webinar to clear up some really stupid half-truths that I’ve caught wind of lately about recruiting, scholarships and other student-athlete urban legends.  I was a Division III benchwarmer myself, so that pretty much makes me an expert.

On a serious note (not easy for to write!), we work with 6-12 student athletes each year, helping them through the whole confusing recruiting, application and funding process.

If you have a kid who wants to play in college, sign up for Wednesday night’s webinar to hear a perspective different than the travel team coaches, showcase promoters and trainers:

If you can handle the truth, that is. 😉

Last, we have a few, dwindling openings for our summer ACT Crusher and SAT Crusher classes, (Part 2).  Summer is the best time for rising 11th graders to prep.  Put if off until the middle of the year, you’ll be filled with pain and stinging regret.  Don’t be stung.

SUMMER TEST PREP CLASSES – use the coupon code “SUMMER100” to get save $100 off SAT Part 2 or ACT Part 2.

Okie-dokie – heading to the beach to beat the haze and humidity!

-Andy “College Fun In the Sun” Lockwood

Leave a Comment