college essay advice

The College Scoops Podcast

Episode 87: Students Helping Students

August 31, 2021

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One of the stress points for high school students applying to college is finding their unique voice for the personal statement and supplemental essays. Standing out in a way that will highlight a student’s strengths and their ability to contribute to a college community is essential. Dyllen Nellis experienced the same frustration and angst during her college application journey as she researched ways to craft a college essay that would stand out to an applications reader. During her sophomore year at Stanford she officially launched her business, College Essay Advice, as a way to help students of all backgrounds tackle the college essays in a strategic way.  

Key Takeaways:

  • Why Stanford?
    • Stanford does provide significant financial/merit aid allowing students to attend
    • Stanford is incredibly flexible with their class curriculum and major requirements. Students have the flexibility to create their own majors and minors. They offer “Designing Your Stanford” which is a course focused on helping students get more out of their Stanford academic experience.
    • High School students need to do the research for each college to make sure they offer the programs, classes, and financial aid that will enable them to achieve their educational goals and succeed on campus.
  • Strategy matters when tackling the college admissions process, especially the essay/personal statement.
  • Structure your essay – identify what you want to talk about? What does the beginning or ending need to be? How are you making connections between your ideas?
  • Summer before your senior year, start to write your essay and do not be afraid if you have to change your topic
  • The college application process is about understanding who you are as a person and communicating that to other people. It is a time of self-growth and personal development
  • Students at Title 1 high schools or who do not have the ability to hire an educational consultant, need resources, tools and tips to help them write college essays.
  • College Essay Advice started with a couple of YouTube videos and then grew to a company with a team of college students helping high school students by offering a specific strategic, structured process. 
  • College Essay Advice offers three services:
    • College Essay Editing – online submission. The essay will be edited within five days.
    • College Consulting – 1:1 consulting with Dyllen.
    • College Essay Course – asynchronous training where students can work through the program at their own pace.
  • Becoming an entrepreneur and the steps needed to get your business up and running. Platforms Dyllen uses to manage her business (Tik Tok, YouTube, IG, WordPress, Teachable, Excel, Flowdesk, Venmo, PayPal, and Square.
  • Define your brand and define your mission. Make sure everything in your business is tied to your brand and achieves the mission and goals you set out to achieve.
  • College Essay Advice was one of the recipients of the Ozy Genius Award 2021
  • Advice for college-bound students around the Duck and Imposter Syndrome. 

Important Resources and Links:

College Essay Advice

USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy 

Designing Your Stanford

OZY Genius Awards

Meet Dyllen Nellis

college essay advice

Dyllen Nellis is a college application consultant and undergraduate at Stanford University. She empowers students to discover their sense of self and effectively communicate their personal values, experiences, and potential in well-crafted college essays. Dyllen offers a range of services/resources including college essay editing, live consulting, educational videos, and most valuable: a comprehensive online course to craft a successful college essay. Her system places emphasis on the necessary pre-production work that will save time in the long run by implementing strategy, structure, and storytelling into every essay. Her students come from around the globe and have been accepted to Stanford, UPenn, Cornell, UCLA, USC, and many more. Dyllen aims to unlock a future of possibilities for students of all socio-economic backgrounds.

Thank you Dyllen for joining us today. As a student who went through the college application process just two years ago, you took what you learned from the application and essay writing process and founded College Essay Advice with the goal to help high school applicants through the process. Strategy and structure matter when writing the college essay. The entire college application process is about understanding who you are as a person and communicating that to other people in an authentic and meaningful way. It is a period of self-growth and personal development which takes time. Dyllen also shared why Stanford was the right choice for her and tips for fellow entrepreneurs looking to start a business. 

Episode 87 – Full Transcript

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College Scoops Staff, Author

College Scoops has a team of college interns who share their insights and expertise with our community. Our team consists of editors, writers, videographers, social media experts, and storytellers who work hard to produce relevant and interesting content for students (and parents) whether they are applying to, attending or graduating from college.

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