University of Rochester

New College Admissions Handbook Puts Supportive Spin on Tips, Techniques for Writing Top-Notch Essays

January 7, 2005

Father Burt and daughter Jordan Nadler are convinced that college-bound teens can gain confidence and actually enjoy writing essays for college admission. Their new book, The Adams College Admissions Essay Handbook, takes teen-age readers through the process, from the point of crystallizing a topic to finishing and submitting an essay.

“We want applicants to be inspired to draft, edit, and finalize the very best admissions essays,” says Burton Jay Nadler, director of the Career Center and assistant dean of the College at the University of Rochester. His daughter Jordan, a senior at Cornell University, and other contributors from the fields of admissions and college counseling offer advice to students who must complete admissions essays.

“I would have used a book like this if I knew I could turn to it for helpful, yet concise pointers presented in a relaxed way,” explains Jordan Nadler. She describes the required admissions essay as the way to “factor in your personality, values, and communication talents” into the application process.

The book gives a step-by-step path to successful essays. The encouraging tone diminishes anxiety, frustrations, and negative thinking that can overwhelm college applicants. The handbook (Adams Media, 256 pages, $10.95) advises students to capitalize on what they know and on personal experiences in essays. Actual essays of successful college applicants are included. Chapters offer lists of do’s and don’ts with fill-in-the-blank exercises.

Students are meant to feel empowered as they go through the book. “Don’t view admissions essay writing as an academic or lengthy process,” the authors say, “but rather as your way to share views with readers and express thoughts and attitudes that will yield admissions success.” After addressing the preparation for and finishing the essay, the handbook includes resources and tips for making the right choice about college once acceptance letters start arriving.

Besides The Adams College Admissions Essay Handbook, Burton Nadler is the author of the 2nd edition of The Everything Resume Book and Liberal Arts Jobs, and the forthcoming 2nd edition of The Everything Cover Letter Book, which will be released in spring 2005.