The Essayists

The College Scoops Podcast

Episode 25: Tips from The Essayists with Cheryl and Brian Klam

September 1, 2020

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The college essay is a daunting task for many seniors in high school with only 650 words to convince an admissions counselor to fall in love with you. How can students make their essays stand out? Hasn’t every topic been written about? What are some ways to help admissions readers root for them as the hero of their college essay?

Cheryl and Brian Klam bring in real-world experience in creative writing to help students tackle the college essay in a new and exciting way.

Key Takeaways:

  • Similarities between storytelling and the college essay
  • Becoming the hero of your essay so the admissions committee roots for you
  • Sensitivity equals creativity
  • Highlighting small heroic moments
  • The brainstorming and planning process
  • Using the essay to talk about things not mentioned in other parts of the application
  • Creating an emotional connection with the reader
  • Show don’t tell in the essay
  • Timing of college essay- when should I start?
  • Not being afraid of failure or asking for help

Important Resources and Links:

Website: The Essayists


Instagram: @the_essayists

Facebook: @theessayists

Meet Brian and Cheryl Klam

Brian Klam:

Brian has created advertising campaigns for organizations like Rosetta Stone, Ritz Carlton, Discovery, Johns Hopkins University, Sprint, and many others, winning just about every creative award the advertising industry has to offer. He’s written TV shows for National Geographic and his own shows have been optioned in Hollywood. He’s also been published in an anthology of well-known authors for Norton Press and received an MA in Creative Writing from Hollins College. Brian uses his experience in advertising and TV to teach kids how to think strategically and hook an audience with a great story that speaks to the student’s strengths.

Cheryl Klam:

A New York Times best-selling novelist, Cheryl has published 12 books, including young adult, science fiction, thrillers, and romances. She’s sold nearly a million copies worldwide and her books have been optioned for movies multiple times. Her young adult novel “The Pretty One” has sold nearly forty thousand copies and was a finalist for the Isinglass Award.  Cheryl also appeared in many movies, including as a monster in the cult classic, The Evil Dead. She’s an expert at spotting a great story and loves helping her students brainstorm topics and then sharing the skills she’s learned as a novelist to help them bring their essay to life in a memorable way.

We enjoyed our conversation with Brian and Cheryl today and we hope you did as well. Creating an emotional connection with the reader, looking for the small moments in life, and trying to paint of picture with your story are ways you can write an essay that will grab the reader’s attention.

Episode 25 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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