We spoke with Anjali Tiwari, a former participant of Write the World’s College Essay Program, about her experience with the college application. Anjali discusses her nerves going into the process, shares how Write the World helped her develop and polish her essay, and gives advice to current college applicants. Anjali attends the University of Delhi, India, where she studies psychology with a minor in creative writing. She hopes to attend Saint Louis University in the spring. Read on to learn more about Anjali’s experience!
Q: How did you first feel going into the college application process?
I was really nervous about the entire process because I’d left it really late (I began my college research in late September), and I was especially worried about my recommendation letters and personal essay. Even after scouring the web for resources on essay writing, I felt rather clueless about it all. I wasn’t really aware of what goes into writing a good essay and all my drafts looked like they wouldn’t work. Since my college applications had already been delayed by a significant bit, I wasn’t sure where I could get help from.
Q: What are you the most proud of in terms of your personal statement (common application essay)?
I’m really proud of the very first sentence! It was everything that a good starting point should be- not too long, interesting enough to catch the reader’s attention, and unique to my story. I also loved the descriptive elements woven throughout the narrative, and especially the audio-visual imagery. While writing it, I tried to go back in time to my eleven-year-old self and really talk about what I’d been feeling at the time. Of course, the WtW team had a whole lot to do with how good the essay turned out- I think it was one of my favourite essays out of all the ones that I’ve written!
Q: How did you choose the topic for your personal statement? How did your personal statement evolve with WtW’s support?
I was a bit confused about which topic I should choose, because all of them looked really interesting! In the end, though, I decided to write about how I overcame a challenge, which in my case was my crippling social anxiety. It isn’t something that I’ve completely moved past, but it’s more of a step-wise process, and I try to make some progress every day!
The Write the World team was amazing! They had a segment in their program dedicated to the choice of topics and they encouraged all of us to pick the topic that worked best for us, and guided us towards deciding which one would be the most suitable by building roadmaps. Also, they talked about how to structure our essays, how to write a powerful beginning and conclusion, and how to phrase the content we wanted to speak about. We also did all sorts of writing exercises and we had a draft ready by the end of the workshop.
Q: What aspects of the application process did the WtW college essay program help most with?
The WtW program helped me most with my personal statement and supplemental college essays. I received a lot of guidance and resources which really made a difference. Write the World’s Expert Advisors also gave detailed critique and a list of pointers for improving my essay, which was amazing! Every aspect of my essay was touched upon and reviewed, and the advice really helped me polish up the final draft. I used this essay for almost all of my applications, and I got an acceptance letter from my top-choice college!
Q: What would be your advice for current students going through the application process?
Hang in there! The whole college admissions process is really stressful, and especially very much so for international students. Also, the pandemic has introduced so many new norms and aspects that it’s natural to feel lost. I’d tell the people who are applying or will apply to join an online forum or community for college applicants, because knowing that you’re not alone in this really helps. Also, don’t leave things too late! Speaking from experience here, it’s terribly difficult to catch up if you keep procrastinating. Whenever you feel anxious, just think of a time when you’ll have put all this behind you.
Lastly, it’s completely fine if you don’t get into a Top 20 or even a Top 30; you can make the best out of any opportunity you get, and there are a ton of schools out there that’ll be a perfect fit for you!
Remember – you got this. Good luck on your applications!