The College Admissions Essay, Decoded

Emeryville, California (EastBayDaily) — Every year around the beginning of September, millions of anxious high school seniors stare at the blank page that will eventually become their college application essays. Movies like “Admission” and “The Spectacular Now” only seem to reinforce the essay’s standing as a difficult rite of passage.

Those students can now breathe a collective sigh of relief with the release of “The Art of the Personal Statement,” by Alex Thaler. The book can be downloaded free of charge at

“The Art of the Personal Statement” represents a watershed development in college admissions:     The first full-length publication on the subject to be offered for free to the 21+ million students, parents, teachers, and professionals involved in the college application process.     The first mindfulness-based approach to teaching the admissions essay.

Featuring introductions by Eric Furda and Amy Jarich, Deans of Undergraduate Admissions at University of Pennsylvania and UC Berkeley, respectively, “The Art of the Personal Statement” challenges prevailing notions about the admissions essay by rejecting approaches based on “what the admissions committee is looking for.” Rather, students are encouraged to explore the practice of mindfulness in order to find their authentic voices through a process of reflection and self-discovery.    

“Before breaking ground on this project I set out to achieve three goals,” stated Alex Thaler, the book’s author. “First, I wanted to provide a structure or system for the brainstorming phase of the writing cycle. If you look at other books on the subject, only a few pages at most are dedicated to brainstorming. And yet it is the most difficult part of the process. Second, I wanted to shift the discussion away from winning the game of admissions. The application process should be intuitive, reflective. Third, because the admissions consulting industry provides a competitive edge to individuals with disposable income, I wanted to create an ‘admissions offset’ that would balance that negative effect. Giving the book away for free levels the playing field a bit.”

The Art of the Personal Statement is organized in five parts, the first four of which introduce concepts of mindfulness and how it relates to the brainstorming-drafting-editing cycle. The last part presents eighteen sample essays, each followed by comment and analysis.

About the Company

Dear Admissions is the leading provider of admissions essay editing, admissions consulting, and resume development services.


Emiliana Bean