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Effortlessly Recycle Your Admission Essays
By: Gen and Kelly Tanabe

Build a longer essay by adding depth.

You can take simple sentences and expand on them to create depth. Instead of saying, "I had never felt so sad in my life" you can change the sentence to read, "I had never felt so sad in my life, but it was not because I lost the game; it was because I had done so in such a poor manner." In this case, you not only double the length of the sentence, but you also add more meaning and clarity. You don't want to do this for every sentence, but read find places where you can create a greater depth of understanding for the reader.

Whenever you are lengthening an essay, it is important that your main idea does not get lost in the added details and descriptions. Don't "pad" an essay with useless words. Still, almost every essay can be skillfully lengthened by adding relevant descriptions and detail.

Test your recycled essay.

Suppose that you've followed all the steps in this guide and you now have a newly recycled essay. Before you send it to the college, give it a final review and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the introduction set up the essay so that it is clear that you are trying to answer the stated question?

  • Have you given too much or too little information or detail?

  • Do the sentences and paragraphs flow well from one to the other?

  • Are the transitions smooth and the connections between your ideas apparent?

  • Is the logic of the essay preserved?

Invest the time you saved.

Through recycling, you just produced a great essay in the fraction of the time it would take to write one from scratch. You saved hours that you can invest in polishing the other areas of your applications. Perhaps you can spend some more time on an essay that still doesn't feel right. Or how about proof-reading your application form once more? Recycling is not a test to see how fast you can get an essay done. It's a tool to help re-use great essays that you have written. Saving time is a nice byproduct of the process; but if you don't put that time to good use, you're really not benefiting from the power of recycling.

Final Thoughts ...

Recycling is a powerful tool that every student should use. It saves time, creates better essays and generally makes applying to more than a handful of colleges much more enjoyable. However, in all of this talk about recycling and re-using essays, there is one major assumption—that you have at least one good essay with which to begin. As great a process as recycling is, it will not improve a bad essay. In fact, a bad essay recycled and sent to 10 schools will only yield 10 rejections.

About the Author

Gen and Kelly Tanabe
Founders of SuperCollege and authors of 13 books on college planning.

Accepted! 50 Successful College Admission Essays

By: Gen & Kelly Tanabe
Learn how to write the essay that will get you into your dream college with this step-by-step guide that includes writing strategies from top students and admission officers. Read over 50 successful essays, and learn the 25 essay mistakes you must avoid.

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Get Into Any College

By: Gen & Kelly Tanabe
The only how-to book which shows all students how to get into the school of their dreams. Based on the experiences of dozens of successful students and authored by two graduates of Harvard, this book shows you how to ace the application, essay, interview, and standardized tests.

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