All Roads Lead To The 5 Paragraph Essay
A 5 part Mini-Series Based on this Conventional Form
She thinks she wants to apply Early Decision to a competitive northeast school and has nothing to say, she tells me, her tutor.
“I’m nothing special,” she confides.
“Yes, you are,” I say. “But don’t trust me. Let the Five Paragraph Essay show you. The Common Application Essay’s new five hundred word limit fits perfectly, snugly, and cozily into that form.” I feel like a salesman, but not the con artist-y kind. I’m the tutor who believes her pitch. “The Five ‘Graph Essay can even jumpstart ideas.”
The student seems suspect, but goes with me. I’m the tutor; she’s the student. Trust is slow in coming, but she’s game. She wants her college essay checked off the To-Do list so she can work on her supplemental essays, study a bit more for the May SAT exam, decide which other SAT Subject Test to take, and the list goes on.
It’s spring. The birds are humming, the sap is flowing, and she’d rather be anywhere but inside with me. Nevertheless, she gives me the thumbs up to proceed.
I draw five squares, one stacked on top of the other. “What are those? Ice cubes? A geometric snowman?” She says. We laugh.
“It’s your college essay,” I say. “Now, fill it in with the first thing that comes to mind. Food, airplanes, winter, anything goes.”
She looks at me and says, “You’re serious.”
I put on my best serious look.
She writes, “I love hummus,” in the first box and then laughs.
“Perfect,” I say. “Why? What does hummus say about you and your love of food? Is it the texture? Where it originates from?”
“My dad makes the best hummus,” she says. “I love to watch him do it.”
“Great,” I say. “Write that.”
We proceed like that. Her thoughts and ideas progress, one step in front of the other, and my prompting questions enable her to create and follow her own direction. Soon, she’s writing an essay about her father who works all the time and is rarely home, but who loves to cook on the weekends, vacations, and in his spare time. Hummus is one of his specialties. She gives examples of when they eat the hummus: on family hikes, at potlucks with friends, and during the Super Bowl. Each example gives her a chance to use her Common Application Essay to show her love for her father, who can’t go to college with her, and hummus, that can.
“I bet no one’s written a college essay on hummus,” she says.
“That makes it special,” I say.
Related Blog Posts:
- Prologue – 5 Tips to Writing A Persuasive Five Paragraph Essay
- Episode 1 – 5 Paragraph Essay and the High School Application Prompt
- Episode 2 – 5 Paragraph Essay and The College Common Application
- Episode 3 – 5 Paragraph Essay and The High School Junior
- Episode 4 – Spring Into High School With the Fail-Proof 5 Paragraph Essay
By Elizabeth England, Writing Coach