The 150-Word Essay is Harder Than It Looks

You’ve got the personal statement written and you’re almost done with revising it, so you’re home free, right?


Most university applications ask students to also write short essays ranging from 150 to 200 words. These pesky paragraphs are far more challenging than the main essay which allows you to be creative and to craft a story with a beginning, middle, and ending.

By contrast, the shorter essays often require you to answer a decidedly uninspiring question, such as, why do you want to attend such-and-such college? And your immediate answer is likely to be that you visited the campus and felt at home there because of a pleasant professor or tour guide and the beautiful scenery.  With room for only 150 words, there is little space for mapping out a well-rounded response.

However, I encourage you to dig deeper into your thoughts and to research the course catalogue to figure out what other factors are attracting you to this college. Dare to be different and memorable. Find a reason that isn’t the same as everyone else’s.

Think about the learning options the college offers. Does it have a theater arts group that you’d like to join? An orchestra? A religious or recreational group that’s up your alley? Does it offer a unique curriculum for the degree you want?

I help seniors with this process and gladly work one-on-one to get them into a thoughtful mindset.

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