Things to Remember When Writing a College Application Essay

Allison Schottenstein, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Brandeis University, is studying for her PhD in history at the University of Texas at Austin. Beyond her responsibilities as a student, Allison Schottenstein serves as an editor for Scholar Compass, where she helps first-time college students edit their college essays.

College application essays bring up feelings of worry and anxiety for many high school seniors, but there are several ways you can get your essay to stand out among the thousands of others. Following are just a few things to keep in mind when writing a college application essay:

Be yourself. Every individual thinks and interprets things differently, and writing your college essay is a great time to take advantage of this. Rather than placing too much focus on what you think the admissions office wants to hear, write in a way that is unique and honest to you.

Follow instructions. Colleges typically put a lot of thought into the instructions that they lay out for application essays, so it’s important that you follow them. These instructions may appear repetitive after applying to several different colleges, but they are there for a reason. Make sure all your creativity stays within the parameters that have been set.

Be clear and concise. Even though most colleges do not place maximum word limits on their application essays, making an essay too long can delay the review process of your application. Additionally, long and convoluted essays can be difficult to read and may result in readers losing interest in the essay as a whole.


Simple Tricks for Antiquing Success

Allison Schottenstein balances most of her time between completing her PhD in history at The University of Texas at Austin and serving as an editor at Cincinnati, Ohio-based Scholar Compass. During her free time, Allison Schottenstein enjoys antiquing and is an ardent collector of Jewish antiquities such as books and dreidels.

Antiquing is a great way to find uniquely designed items that sometimes have a good story attached to them. However, finding the perfect treasure can be difficult, especially with the increasing number of fakes and distressed items made to look like antiques.

When antiquing for decorative household items, remember that buying what you love is better than buying what is trendy. If you find an item that evokes memories or even just a strong emotional response, you are likely to enjoy it more than if your motivation for purchasing it is its popularity. Additionally, you are likely to keep longer, as it won’t lose its novelty as an interesting household detail.

For all antiquing, make sure to do some comparison-shopping, both online and otherwise. Just because an item is classified as an antique does not mean you should pay a lot for it. Many antique items were mass-produced, so they are not always difficult to find at various price points. When searching online, you have a higher risk of coming across a fake, so make sure you know and check for signs of authenticity. Occasionally, you may have the opportunity to barter with a store owner or an online seller. If the asking price for something you love is just too high, see if you can come to an agreement by asking if it can be lowered.