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Storytelling Essentials for Your College / Graduate Application Essays [Ep. 7]

podcast Oct 23, 2019

Application essays are a crucial part of the admissions process, and effective essays essentially come down to good storytelling.

Your goal as the protagonist of your own story is to become a hero that admissions officers want to root for, says Michael Noltemeyer, founder of North Star Editing and guest on this episode of The Dominate Test Prep Podcast


During our wide-ranging conversation, Micheal sheds light on just how to become that hero while sharing examples of successful essays from his 10+ years as a professional editor.

Specifically, in this episode you will learn:

  • The Japanese concept of Ikigai for finding your life's purpose, and how that's what you're shooting for on your application essays as well;
  • How writing an application essay is like a "choose your own adventure" story in reverse, and how that understanding should influence the aim of your essays;
  • What not to do in your essays (hint: you're probably not as clever as you think you are);
  • The key to finding the story inside yourself that only you can tell;
  • How to structure your essays;
  • The difference between a "Statement of Purpose" and "Personal Statement" and what to include in each;
  • A simple test to determine whether the story you want to tell will resonate with the reader;
  • How one student turned a Pokémon obsession into a great essay topic, and how you can write an equally meaningful essay around your passions;
  • Parting advice based on the wisdom of Mark Twain;
  • And more!

A polished essays takes time, so be sure to heed Michael's advice and get started early.


Here's the quote we began the episode with:

"Who are we but the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, and believe?" -- Scott Turow


Here are the websites and other resources referenced in this episode:

As always, be sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you're alerted when new episodes drop each week. If you like what you hear, please write a favorable review. And if there's a topic you want us to cover in an upcoming episode, let us know. We'll do our best to work it in. Thanks for listening!



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