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Top 10 Recommended College Essay Books in 2024

Writing the college application essay is the toughest task in the whole application process for many students. Even when colleges give out instructions for writing the essay, many things are still unclear for the applicants. So, if you want to secure admission at the college of your choice, then you need to read college essay books.

These come with all the guidance and tips to make your essay stand out by invoking your critical thinking skills. You may also learn what to avoid mentioning when writing a college essay. Hence, reading these books can make your essay significantly better. Here we will share our top 10 picks from this category that you must read before writing your college essay.

Part 1. The Best Tool to Take Notes When Reading College Essay Books

One way to improve your reading experience is by taking notes as you read. However, the old-school method of taking notes with a pen and paper is inefficient. That’s why UPDF makes the best option as your note-taking tool.

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What makes it the best choice is that you can read your PDF books within the tool if they are in PDF format, and whenever you want to take some notes, you can take those notes right inside the software. It even works for taking notes on your physical books digitally using the iPhone scanner. UPDF is the PDF editor tool available on all your computers and smartphones, so you can take notes whenever needed.

Here is how you can use the iPhone version UPDF application to take notes on your physical textbooks:

  • Start using the scan feature in the UPDF app on your iPhone and scan the textbook page where you want to take notes.
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  • Now use the scanned PDF of your book, and you can easily take notes with pencil features or text features.
Annotate on scanned PDF using iPhone UPDF
  • The iPhone version may lack some important features, and that’s where the desktop version can be instrumental. So, you can easily upload your scanned PDF on UPDF Cloud and instantly access the desktop version for further editing.

Hence, UPDF allows you to take notes on all types of books, whether they are digital copies or physical copies.

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To help you fully understand the book, we recommend you write a book review by following these book review examples.

Part 2. 10 Best College Essay Books

Here are the top 10 books you must read to make your college application essay captivating.

1. College Essay Essentials – Ethan Sawyer

Customer Rating: 4.5/5.0 (amazon)

If you want to write your college essay successfully, reading this book is necessary. The book contains practical advice, but the amazing thing is the engaging style that keeps the practical advice interesting.

This book is very helpful for writing your essay since it contains step-by-step instructions for the whole process, from gathering ideas to writing the final version of your essay. Examples of essays can help a lot, and this book contains several successful essay examples to make the process easier for students.

2. 50 Successful Harvard Application Essays with Analysis from staff of Harvard Crimson

Customer Rating: 4.5/5.0 (amazon)

This book contains the top 50 successful essays students admitted to Harvard University submitted for their application process. The interesting fact about this book is that readers can learn a lot about what a successful essay is like and how they can cover a lot of information while keeping it engaging and resourceful.

The book not only covers different writing styles from different essays but also explains the personalities of writers so the students can have a peek inside their thought processes and understand how they can write an impactful essay themselves.

3. On Writing the College Application Essay by admissions officer Harry Bauld

Customer Rating: 4.4/5.0 (amazon)

Another book that can be of great guide for writing your college essay. What makes it so special is that the writer is a former admissions officer with all the insights into the application and admission process. He keeps the book interesting with his unique storytelling style, and in this attractive way, he covers everything, including gathering ideas, creating the essay, and working on the final drafts.

 Students can learn a lot from this book since it contains some successful essays and analyses of what makes them successful. While the process of writing your college essay can be daunting, reading this book gives you a clear roadmap to follow.

4. The Truth about College Admission – Brennan Barnard, Rick Clark

Customer Rating: 4.5/5.0 (amazon)

You must read this book if the college application process is tough and daunting. It is because the book contains guidance on everything from selecting a college to the application process and even applying for financial aid. This book is informative and engaging since it contains several insights and knowledge from different perspectives.

Throughout the book, the writer emphasizes the importance of integrity and authenticity while applying to a college. It is because students often lie on their applications and get rejected right away.

5. College Admissions Essay – Alan Gelb

Customer Rating: 4.4/5.0 (amazon)

It is your practical writing guide for crafting the best college essay. The guide comes from a writing coach with years of coaching experience. So, you will find every step discussed in the book helpful. Gelb’s writing style makes the most complex things feel straightforward. Hence, the daunting application process becomes less complex for students.

In this book, you will find a complete guide to writing, successful examples, and an understanding of how things work. Gelb also explains what admission offers to find in a college essay so yours can be more impactful.

6. Escape Essay Hell! – Janine Robinson

Customer Rating: 4.6/5.0 (amazon)

Robinson, a professional editor, and writer, gives practical tips and tricks for students to write college essays. The book teaches you the importance of writing your voice and helps you find it so your application essay can be more engaging and attractive. You will find the book emphasizing the importance of developing your writing skills to help your essay stand out.

This book is divided into chapters logically organized so that the whole book stays enjoyable to read and gives a good step-by-step guide for writing your essay successfully.

7. The Elements of Style – William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

Customer Rating: 4.7/5.0 (amazon)

You can learn a lot about writing clear and concise essays that can be an effective part of your application process. The book is divided into 3 parts: the first focuses on grammar, the second focuses on writing principles, and the third is on formatting. What makes this book so better is its clarity and straightforward delivery of information.

As you read this book, you will encounter several examples and rules. You can apply it to your essay while writing and see its impact. Using all the practical writing tips in this book can change how you write your essay.

8. College Application Essay by Sarah Myers

Customer Rating: 4.1/5.0 (amazon)

A comprehensive guide focusing on correctly writing your college application essay. Following the teachings of this book can help you make your essay start in thousands of others. This book focuses on the uniqueness of every student. It teaches how to increase your essay's impact by staying original.

The book also includes proofreading, editing, idea development, and brainstorming tips. Apart from the essay, you will find valuable insights into the application process.

9. Writing That Works – Joel Raphaelson and Kenneth Roman

Customer Rating: 4.4/5.0 (amazon)

While this book is about writing business documents, it teaches about professional writing practices. Here you can learn about writing a college essay that stays concise and clear. The book teaches the audience to understand your writing and the importance of writing for them. Reading it will teach you how to write according to the given requirements.

The choice of words is important, and here you will learn to use different words and the ones you must avoid using in the college essay.

10. The College Essay Trap – Cassie Nichols

Customer Rating: 4/5.0 (Goodreads)

By reading this book, you will learn about the common problems that can affect the quality of your college essay. The book guides you to write what you want to say in accordance with the instructions. So, instead of going only to the extreme ends, you will create a balance with your experience and perspectives.

The book contains practical advice on creating outlines and drafting your essay. You can also learn about choosing the right essay. In short, you will learn a lot about the mistakes you must avoid during the application process.

Final Words

The college essay you write can decide your future since it greatly impacts getting your college application accepted or rejected. So, you must give your best while writing this essay, and if you need any guidance, then reading college essay books will help you a lot. You can start with any of the 10 books we discussed above.

While practically implementing these books' tips, tricks, and teachings when writing your college essay, you can use some tools to your benefit. UPDF is the best PDF editor tool that you can use to make notes of all important points to include in your essay.

Its UPDF Cloud feature allows you to keep all your material safe at a centralized location among all your devices for easy access and sharing. Hence, UPDF will significantly benefit you while writing your college essay.

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