This is one of the most extensive and helpful posts I’ve read on how to write college admissions essays. My feeling is that most English teachers know their great literature, but are not as versed on teaching writing–especially narrative style pieces. I agree that the best place to get ideas for unique topics, as well as learn how to structure these more informal essays, is by reading what others have written. You have collected a wonderful assortment of sample essays. Reading excellent writing, especially the New York Times, is also very helpful, especially feature-style articles that use creative writing techniques, such as anecdotal leads and descriptive details. I try to share similar writing advice on my blog, Essay Hell.
Week 9: Experimenting with Structure / Group Review
Personal essays are often written with a straightforward narrative structure: a story is told, starting at the beginning and working toward the end. But experimenting with the chronology of events in an essay, or taking on an unusual form that reflects the essay’s main themes, can be a powerful tool for catching and holding the reader’s interest, or affecting the reader’s perception of the events being described. In this class we’ll explore several possibilities for structure. Participants will write an essay using the skills from Weeks 7, 8, and 9 and submit it to the instructor (and, if desired, for Group Review).