FAQ

Here you will find answers to Uniquely U.’s most frequently asked questions for receiving college application essay writing help.

1. Give me just one good reason to write the best college essay I am humanly capable of?

We’ll give you 35,000+ reasons. That’s the average number of applications a typical selective college received in 2012.

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2. If I ask very nicely, will Uniquely U. write my essay for me?

Ha ha ha ha ha. No.

3. My English teacher will work with me for free. Why do I need Uniquely U.?

We're sincerely happy for your good fortune IF your English teacher has enough time and energy to devote to guiding you through the comprehensive series of steps deep rewriting requires.

BUT...What if you both recognize that there is an awkward patch in your essay's middle?

Will your English teacher know that the source of the problem is a still buried unifying metaphor upon which your essay's internal logic hinges? Will he/she know which specific creative writing techniques to call into play to swiftly, concretely, and successfully solve your problem?

If all you want is an essay, you’ll be fine. If you want an essay that stands out from the pack, you need Uniquely U.

4. How does Uniquely U. feel about the new 650-word limit on the college essay?

In my 16 years of experience guiding high school seniors through the self-definitive process that writing a Uniquely U. personal statement requires, I have found that the natural narrative rhythm of the college essay often weighs in at closer to 750 words than the new 650-word limit currently imposed. In fact, Uniquely U. invokes one and only one writing rule during the preliminary stage when we are collecting information: don't count words. Once we have delved deep enough to discover the unexpected connection that always emerges, the cadence involved in conveying that discovery automatically, amazingly shrinks the emerging essay to somewhere between 500-750-words. Can something be conveyed in fewer words? Of course, but it's a shame for admissions officers to miss even 100 words of the insightful dramatic steps that led UU seniors to their act of self-awareness, but it's a limit UU can live with. As it happens, Uniquely U. applicants hear from college admissions officers all the time. 'PS: We loved your essay,' is the message they invariably deliver. How long, over the past 16 years, are the essays that they praise the most? 750-words, sometimes on the nose.

5. I live thousands of miles away from Uniquely U.’s home base in Connecticut. Does this mean I’m deprived of working with you?

Not at all. Skype and IMing on Facebook are the coolest ways ever for a Uniquely U. college essay to come together. I work with seniors from all over the world, including one transfer applicant who, while on Semester at Sea, reported in each week from Ghana, Mauritania, India, China, and Japan. Hey, these are global times. Get with it!

6. Help! I am an ADD and/or LD student who has difficulty organizing my ideas.

Uniquely U. has achieved some of our most personally gratifying successes with college-bound seniors who have learning disabilities—and with tons of kids who were simply spooked by writing. One of Uniquely U.’s most fundamental directives for anybody is "write the way you talk." If you’re more comfortable relating what’s on your mind out loud, Dragon Dictation to the rescue. The simple eloquent essay that then interactively emerges invariably results in a stratospheric boost in a feeling of mastery and confidence on the part of its formerly shaky author.

7. I'm already a strong writer. What can you teach me that I don't already know?

All professional writers work with editors. Not one of them would ever dream of submitting his/her work for publication under any other circumstances. Too much is at stake for YOU not to do the same. Tellingly, often it’s the most secure writers who gain the most from working with us—perhaps because they are already comfortable with the "given" that real writing is re-writing.

8. What is the biggest mistake parents make about the college essay?

Waiting too long to call Uniquely U.! No parent is completely sane your senior year. "Did you start your college essay?" We at Uniquely U. have come up with the solution. Parents hand you over to us, secure that a brilliant essay will ensue. In exchange, parents agree to completely remove themselves from the essay writing process until you decide it’s ready to be read. They stop nagging; you relax. This is a wonderful thing.

9. What is the biggest mistake seniors make about their essays?

Underestimating the amount of time it takes to write a good one! Come fall, you’re going to be stressed out beyond your wildest capacity to imagine. Should you apply early? Retake your SAT’s? Pile on a few more SAT2’s? Can this and more be done without your GPA going into free-fall? Do yourself a favor; write your essay in the summer!

10. What mistake with their essays do students who attend private schools or high schools in insular communities make?

Ironically, students who receive the fullest academic support from elite, private, and suburban schools tend to produce the most vanilla essays. Uniquely U. will not let you write a blandly superficial essay. We promise to guide you to that totally unprogrammed place within yourself you thought you’d lost, reconnect you with your inner child you thought you weren’t still allowed to be.

11. Who dreamed up the college essay in the first place?

The Little Known Story of How the Teaching of Writing Went Off Track in the US


Cambridge, Massachusetts.The year is 1851. Francis J. Child, Harvard professor of Rhetoric has just returned from an exhilarating three-year leave of absence spent studying drama and philology at the Universities of Berlin and Göttingen. Compared to Harvard, German universities are temples to the creative intellect. Professors there do not have to lecture on Classic Oratory and Forensics, subjects students preparing to be theologians and lawyers have grimly ground away at since the Middle Ages. At German universities, being a professor means you get to conduct pioneering research the way the Brothers Grimm do. There, professors hand the scut work over to lowly graduate students. Upon his return, Child announces to Harvard that unless some changes are made in what and how he teaches, he will be departing for Johns Hopkins, which is just opening its doors, the first American university based on the German model.

Harvard hastily kowtows to Professor Child’s demands. The mandatory composition course he detests is no longer part of the curriculum. In its place: English Literature, a brand new course of study. It will draw upon a required reading list of fifty books, which under Child’s successors A.S. Hill and Charles W. Eliot become known as “The Harvard Classics.” The arrangement frees Child to devote his energy to his academic passion: the cataloging of English and Scottish ballads.

Still, how to guarantee that incoming freshmen will be able to write clearly and concisely if Harvard no longer teaches courses in rhetoric, oratory, and English composition? In 1874, an ingenious pass-the-buck solution evolves which other colleges hasten to adopt, and which remains in place to this very day:

“…each candidate for admission will be required to write a short English composition, correct in spelling, punctuation, grammar and expression, the subject to be taken from one of the following works: Shakespeare’s Tempest, Julius Caesar, and The Merchant of Venice; Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield; Scott’s Ivanhoe and Lay of the Last Minstrel.”

In one of the biggest cop-outs ever, somehow, magically, already knowing how to write becomes a prerequisite for admission.

12. Where can I find that famous send-up of a college essay?

The essay is attributed to Hugh Gallagher, who reportedly submitted it in 1990 at the age of 18 to New York University, where he was admitted. It won first prize in the humor category of the 1990 Scholastic Writing Awards, appeared in Literary Cavalcade and Harper’s.

3A. In order for the admissions staff of our college to get to know you, we ask that you answer the following question: Are there any significant experiences you have had, or accomplishments you have realized, that have helped to define you as a person?

I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently.

Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed and I cook 30-minute brownies in 20 minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once singlehandedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries.

When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang-gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear.

I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been Caller Number Nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal force demonstration. I bat .400.

My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy.

I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations with the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago, I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extra-ordinary four-course meals using only a Mouli and a toaster oven.

I breed prize-winning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka and spelling bees at the Kremlin.

I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery and I have spoken with Elvis.

But I have not yet gone to college.
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