Elite College Essays


Outstanding Admissions Essays

by Students Accepted to Elite Colleges

As a consultant for college admissions essays, I am often asked what makes a personal statement "work." My approach, which is rooted in my experience as a journalist and an author, has contributed to the admissions success of more than 100 of my students who were accepted to the Ivy League, Stanford, and other elite universities. 

But my approach is not the only approach. Every year I read with admiration the Common Application essays of students who were accepted to the top schools in the country. The range of stories never ceases to impress. Equally impressive is the variety of ways that students use words to paint vivid self-portraits. 

Rather than attempt to tell what makes an essay "work" -- there is no shortage of instructive books, videos and courses -- I want to show the breadth of success. So I am creating a collection of outstanding essays written by students accepted by competitive colleges. My plan is to self-publish the essays in a book, Elite College Essays 2019.

Profit is not my purpose. My goal is to increase access to exceptional student writing and inspire college applicants to create and craft essays their own epic essays. To ensure access, the book will sell on Amazon for less than $10. All net profits (total sales minus production costs) will be donated to admissions non-profits such as Questbridge.

The success of Elite College Essays 2019 hinges on the quality and quantity of essays. The quantity I am seeking is 25 to 30 essays. Quality, of course, is subjective. Selection will include the extent to which an essay is distinct from others in terms of structure, content, writing, and voice. The goal is to create a collection that captures the range of approaches that can lead to success in college admissions.


So I am appealing to students to submit for consideration their Common Application essays from the 2018-19 admission cycle. Selection will, by definition, be subjective. Students whose essays are selected will receive a free copy of the book and the one-of-kind pleasure of seeing their name and their work in print. However, in the spirit of a non-profit project, I cannot pay for content.

Submit Your College Essay

Every essay will be an individual "chapter" in Elite College Essays 2019. In addition to the text of the essay, I will publish each student's name, hometown, high school, and college. Please email all of the above information, as well as the text of your Common Application essay to:


All submissions will be confirmed.

Everyone will be notified about essay publication.