Students race to craft forceful college essays as deadlines near

Leslie Atkin leads a college essay workshop at Wheaton High School in Maryland on Oct. 17. (Bonnie Jo Mount/Washington Post)

Find a telling anecdote about your 17 years on this planet. Examine your values, goals, achievements and perhaps even failures to gain insight into the essential you. Then weave it together in a punchy essay of 650 or fewer words that showcases your authentic teenage voice — not your mother’s or father’s — and helps you stand out among hordes of applicants to selective colleges.

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