What does an admissions officer look for in a college application essay?

You. It's that simple. There's no formula, no trick, no strategy, says Harry Bauld, a former Ivy League admissions officer. But with acceptance rates at all-time lows, just being yourself in an essay means understanding your readers and the unique form in which you are writing. In this fully revised and updated edition of the classic guide to writing the best essay of your life, Bauld reveals the big clichés (The Trip, The Jock, Miss America, Pet Death) and helps you discover ways to come alive on the page as a real person instead of applicant number 13,791.

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Buy Harry Bauld's On Writing the College Application Essay: The Key to Acceptance at the College of Your Choice at your local bookstore or by following any of these links:


Harry Bauld has given countless presentations and workshops for students, parents and teachers all over the country on the writing of the college application essay. If you would like to bring Harry to your high school junior or senior class for a workshop or presentation or are interested in an individual essay consultation, please fill out the form in the contact section.

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"For many years, Harry provided his famous essay-writing workshop to our seniors. His presentations always engaged students tremendously and prodded them to think meaningfully about the stories they wanted to tell, while managing to be both hilarious and deeply thoughtful. His workshops were beloved by students. One year the senior class even invited him back to be their graduation speaker! Throughout his time working with CA, Harry displayed generous and heartfelt care with the students, along with exceptional insight into the art of the personal narrative."

– Cathy Nabbefeld, College Counselor, Colorado Academy, Denver


Articles on the college application essay featuring Harry Bauld

 Interviewed by Maureen Dowd of the New York Times. I was already at work on the book when Dowd, then a local feature reporter, called because she’d heard from a student who attended one of my workshops.

Interviewed by Maureen Dowd of the New York Times. I was already at work on the book when Dowd, then a local feature reporter, called because she’d heard from a student who attended one of my workshops.

 Featured by Ron Lieber, New York Times financial columnist.

Featured by Ron Lieber, New York Times financial columnist.