Why Does the College Application Essay Have To Be So Hard?


There are few tasks that challenge a rising senior more than the college application essay. And few have the potential to so significantly impact a student’s future. In fact, writing a strong college application essay may be the single most important thing a high school student will do.

Often the essay is the final element used by colleges to decide who gets accepted and who gets rejected. It seems almost unfair that this short document, which terrifies so many students, is so important. But it is.

For those who get it right, the essay can unlock a future at the college of their choice. Unfortunately for everyone else, the essay doesn’t help, and sometimes even hurts.

It’s REALLY HARD to write a good essay, and only a few succeed. This is why the essay is used to select from otherwise comparable applicants, or to find hidden potential in an average student.

Teddy Barnes, MEd, President of Educational Advancement at EssayDog®, reads thousands of application essays every year and knows the struggles that parents and students experience:

“I’ve read more than 20,000 application essays and you wouldn’t believe the stress and anxiety that the essay creates…”

— Teddy Barnes, M.Ed.

University of PA, President of Education Advancement, EssayDog®

So how can a student ease the stress, but also stand out with a great essay? According to Barnes, “For starters, don’t write an essay, tell a story.”

The story you tell must be about YOU, and reveal something colleges can’t determine from your test scores or GPA.

Your story needs to convey a clear message about you, one that comes from the very story you are telling.

With a degree from NYU Film School and 25 years in the film and TV industry, Howard Reichman, President of EssayDog®, believes that the college application essay is really just “the story that colleges want to know about you, and your ability to tell that story well is exceptionally important”.

“An ESSAY conveys information, but a STORY creates a connection …”

— Howard Reichman,

President of EssayDog®

Reichman points out that the average time an admissions officer spends reading an essay is about 5 to 6 minutes, so it’s crucial to distinguish yourself. “I like to picture three piles on an admissions officer’s desk — the ‘YES’ pile, the ‘NO’ pile, and the ‘HEY BARBARA, YOU GOTTA READ THIS!’ pile. EssayDog® wants to get you in the ‘Hey Barbara’ pile.’”

Imagine writing an engaging story about someone or something that matters to you, and imagine that same story conveys a rich and meaningful message about yourself, while also showing the admissions officer how effectively you can express yourself.

“If your essay is layered and creates an emotional experience, then the reader will naturally be more engaged with your file, even if you don’t have the top scores,” adds Reichman.

Well, this kind of writing is possible and is actually not as difficult as you might think.

Mitchell German, CEO and creator of EssayDog® is also a graduate of NYU film school, and has been working with top screenwriters for over 20 years. After dissecting hundreds of films, Mitch discovered that “… great stories have a DNA, a structure that makes them succeed or fail.” When a friend asked Mitch to help his son with his college application essay, Mitch saw the potential:

“EssayDog unlocks secret storytelling techniques used by top film industry professionals and makes them available to the average high school student.”

— Mitch German, CEO of EssayDog®

It became apparent to Mitch that with just FOUR SENTENCES™, a student could gain a clear starting point.

“Getting off the blank page creates confidence, generates momentum, and shortens the process.”

Starting with FOUR SENTENCES™, you quickly identify your story and get to work on your essay. EssayDog® has a patent-pending framework to help you tell your story with a personal message that the colleges and admissions officers want to hear.

With short videos, EssayDog® provides STEP-BY-STEP training that significantly improves a student’s odds of writing that spectacular application essay. Take it from just one of our clients:

“An excellent piece of software that really helped my daughter organize her thoughts and the essay.”

— David Falk, Parent

Visit essaydog.com or stop by our booth at the Westchester College Fair to learn more about the FOUR SENTENCES™, and ask for a special discount offer.