Step 7: Take it from the Top

Write Draft 2: Content + Structure

Now that your coach has read your essay and helped you develop new content, you need to look at your writing with fresh eyes. Use the best of what you have already written, then build on it.

To begin Step 7, watch the Video Intro. When you are done, continue reading to learn more about this step.

When you are done reading, select Try It Now. Your coach will give you instructions for two different Try It activities. You will need those instructions to complete the writing exercises. 

Note: the video tells you to “Click Read It.” There is no click! Just read the page.

Play Video

Prepare for revision

By this point, you have determined whether your first draft responds to the prompt and sticks to its theme. Now it’s time to revise even further.

We like to call this a re-vision: an opportunity to truly see your work with fresh eyes. Cut words that do not enhance your story. Add details to the parts that sound generic.

Remember, you are writing your story, and it has to sound like you. Don’t get distracted by polishing your prose. You will proofread and edit later. If you spend all your time choosing the best word – walk, saunter or skip – you’ll miss real revision opportunities.

Get the content and structure right and the rest will follow. Admissions officers read hundreds of essays during application season. If you expect more than a perfunctory review, you need to grab your reader’s attention from the start. As part of your revision, take a good, long look at the beginning of your essay.

Consider this opening paragraph from a student named Adam: “I wasn’t thinking about all the bones that could break or where I was going to land. I certainly wasn’t thinking about my fear of trying new things while planning my jump off a cliff over a sand dune.”

Compare it with an earlier introduction to the same essay: “I first confronted my fear of trying new things during a 10th grade Boy Scout camping trip near Lake Michigan. We were on a boring nature walk, and we stopped at every tree looking for something to comment about.”

The image of breaking bones or landing in a sand dune is far more compelling than the flat sentence that told us a Boy Scout feared trying new things. While the first introduction was adequate, the final one stands out. It made us want to read more. It set the tone for a riveting story about conquering fears head on.

Where did the powerful introduction come from? We found it buried in the middle of Adam’s first draft. He learned how to better organize his paragraphs and make the story flow seamlessly through the revision process. This example illustrates the difference between good and great. Trust the writing process, and it will take you to this great place.

Reflect on your coach’s feedback and the writing you’ve completed so far

Before you start revising your essay, consider the writing exercises your coach asked you to complete in Step 6. How will you use that new material? Keep asking yourself: Why am I telling this story? What do I want readers to learn about me that they wouldn’t know from the rest of my application?

You are now ready to revise your essay.

This Try It activity comes in two parts. Complete Part 1, then wait for your coach to give you instructions for Part 2.

Try It (Part 1): Make More Notes

Estimated time to complete this writing task: 30 Minutes

Try It (Part 2): Take it from the Top

Estimated time to complete this writing task: 1 hour

Try It: Take it from the Top

Make More Notes

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Try It: Take it from the Top

Write Draft 2

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