Saturday, July 03, 2010

College application essays are like newspaper columns, are like blog postings!

On Friday July 2, in the Living Section of the Washington Post, p 14, in the “Family” and “class struggle” (pun) column, Jay Matthews wrote a piece “Words to the wise about writing college application essays”, link here.

He starts by talking about a column-writing course for seniors in the English department of a northern Virginia private high school, and then says that the coy purpose is to help students write their college application essays, because such essays are a lot like columns, “little bits of persuasive prose designed to be both personal and instructive, without too much wear-and-tear on the reader.” That’s a relief to him; he doesn’t need more competition from the kids in his professional journalism career.

The application essay should add something unique to the package, he says, and not reiterate what the reader already knows. The same seems to be true of effective blog posts, which generally add some personal relevance to events that may already have been reported in the public media.

It’s interesting to compare his view of the blog post or column with what Facebook does, which is, in large part, personalize the news that you get when you log on.

Picture: the new Washington-Lee in Arlington VA, not the school mentioned in the post

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