Writing About Money

Ron Lieber in today’s New York Times has a really good article about students writing about money for their Common App essays. He also includes four such essays, ranging in topics from one student writing about shopping in thrift stores with her mother and another about working at McDonald’s. I loved this piece because it confirms the advice I’ve given to some of my financially challenged students, with whom I work on a pro bono basis. I tell them that writing about working in McDonald’s (or Burger King or wherever) can be just as rich and memorable as an affluent student writing about a service trip to Haiti that his parents paid for him to go on.

I also think it’s interesting to look at what Jeremiah Quinlan, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions, has to say about the college admissions essay. “It’s the one part of the application where they completely control the voice, and that makes it a really valuable document for us,” said Quinlan. “When you’re applying to an institution with thousands of students who have the same general academic and testing credentials, those things only get you in the door. The rest of the application will separate you out.”

This is exactly what I have always said about the college admissions essay. It really, really counts.

Click Here to check out the article.