1. Fish Legs
  2. Tacos (asada and pastor)
  3. Toothpaste
  4. Goggles tied together
  5. Broken frying pan

These were some of the items on Adrian’s Essence Objects list, which went on to make up important parts of his college application.

Go back and complete it if you didn’t get a chance to do it already.

In my last email I mentioned a second exercise that could help you find your personal statement topic.

I’ll share it with you in a minute.

Before I do... 

I want to share with you the difference between
a stand-out college essay and a boring one.

A boring essay…

Chooses a common topic.

Like basketball. Or the violin. Or debate.

Makes common connections.

Like “I’ve developed the values of hard work, discipline, and perseverance.”

And uses common language.

Like “I’ve learned that working with others is essential for success.”


Why Zzzzzz?



A stand-out essay often

Chooses an uncommon topic. (When possible)

Makes uncommon connections.

Uses uncommon language.

Here’s a quick example:

I’ve devoted thousands of hours to playing the santur, a classical Persian instrument that originated in the Middle East. My santur is King David’s lyre: it can soothe, enrapture, mesmerize. It’s also a tool for social change: many view Iran as a land of terrorists, but when I play, if just for a moment, the barrier is broken and the innocent of Iran, the educated, the artists, the innovators, come to life. The santur is also my way of connecting to my Persian grandfather, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s…

See what he’s doing there?


Crushing it.


By choosing an uncommon topic (santur) making uncommon connections (social change, family) and using uncommon language (My santur is King David’s lyre).

How did he do that?

It all begins with a second simple exercise, which takes about 4 minutes to complete. (Click below to see it.)

By going through two of the brainstorming exercises in my video course, the student above figured out how to address their core values and passions in their Common Application essay.

Here’s the cliff-hanger:

This exercise will do more than help you find a college essay topic.

It’ll help lay the foundation for your entire college application. 

Want to know how?

I'll tell you soon. :)

But first, complete the Values Exercise here. >>

<< Go back here. <<