Ten Tips: How to Write Your Common App Activities List, Meet Ethan Sawyer, College Essay Guy
We are so excited to introduce Ethan Sawyer, the College Essay Guy. On the College Essay Guy’s site, you will find all things related to college essay writing, (personal statement), tips, common app, free resources, classes and more. Stop by his site to see why you will love his site as much as I do (he’s personal, warm, empathetic and his classes are unparalleled. Also, he has a ton of FREE resources).
Here is a great starting article about the common app activities list.
10 Tips: How to Write Your Common App Activities List
You only get 150 characters: how do you make the most of them? Some tips:
1. State role and organization name in top box, so you don’t waste characters in the lower, 160 character box.
Instead of: (top box) School newspaper
(description box) I am the editor for the school newspaper (And don’t repeat words!)
Try: (top box) Editor of International Column, School Newspaper
(description box) Responsible for brainstorming, revising, and supervising articles by other writers for my column.
2. Emphasize tangible, measurable impact.
Whom did your activity help? How many people? How much money did you raise?
Instead of: Raised money for children in Africa.
Try: Raised $3,000 to provide three uniforms and scholarships for students attending the Joseph Waweru Home School in Kenya (http://www.exop.org/home_school.html).
Instead of: Worked at a clinic doing different things.
Try: Organized patient diagnosis notes, sterilized tools for surgeries, assisted with x-ray analysis.
4. To fit in more info: use lists, don’t use complete sentences, cut extra words.
Instead of: I raised money to donate to a school in Ghana in Africa by selling t-shirts and bracelets.
Try: Arranged advertising events, organized fundraisers, and gave presentations at school meetings.
5. Use the present tense if it’s something you still do.
Instead of: I helped tour visitors around the campus and presented some information on school history and student life.
Try: I give campus tours, providing info on school history, student activities, boarding life.
6. Aim for variety in your list, making sure your verbs aren’t redundant.
Instead of: Instructing, helping, teaching children tennis (how are these three different?)
Try: Instructing in proper technique, while imparting lessons in sportsmanship, health and integrity.
7. Include any responsibilities you had to demonstrate leadership skills.
Instead of: I swim on the swim team.
Try: Responsible for leading swim practices, planning fundraising events; assisting in recruiting process.
8. What if there isn’t much to say, or it was a one-time event?
Explain the significance of the activity: who did the event matter to and why?
Rather than: Tutored students.
Try: Provided support to fourth graders with particularly difficult math concepts.
Continue reading this list over at the College Essay Guy. In addition, be sure to check out his new course: How to Write a Personal Statement. This course includes seven videos and is 100% guaranteed. The fee is only $149.00 and if you cannot afford it, contact Ethan about his pay-what-you-can program. Yes, pay what you can.
And did I mention he has the #1 Selling College Essay Book in the country right now? Yes, he does.
About: Ethan Sawyer is a nationally recognized college essay expert and sought-after speaker. Each year he helps thousands of students and counselors through his online courses, workshops, articles, products, and books, and works privately with a small number of students.
Raised in Spain, Ecuador, and Colombia, Ethan has studied at seventeen different schools and has worked as a teacher, curriculum writer, voice actor, motivational speaker, community organizer, and truck driver. He is a certified Myers-Briggs® specialist, and his type (ENFJ) will tell you that he will show up on time, that he’ll be excited to meet you, and that, more than anything, he is committed to—and an expert in—helping you realize your potential.
A graduate of Northwestern University, Ethan holds an MFA from UC Irvine and two counseling certificates. He lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, Veronica, and their amazing daughter, Zola.