Interview 27: Susan Tree on “Writing the Personal Essay: Don’t miss your opportunity to fill in the gaps and bring yourself to life”


A former Admissions Counselor at Bates College and former Director of College Counseling at Westtown, Susan has 40 years of experience.

Susan Tree
– Don’t miss the purpose of the essay
– So many students write a good first half and and then the essay goes downhill
– Are there certain topics that should be avoided?
– How personal compelling experiences relate to the essay.
– Some exercises Susan uses to help students tell their story
– How many people should review the essay?
– How English teachers look for different things than admission counselors but how English teachers are invaluable
– How vulnerable should a student be in their essay?
– The importance of the other writing beside the Personal Statement
– The Additional Info section
– How many words should the Personal Statement be?
– The importance of the introduction
– The student for whom the essay is a game changer.
(Length 2:06:24)

You can also listen on Episode 59, Episode 60, Episode 61 and Episode 62

  • Super fantastic insight! I want Susan Tree to mentor me! Ms. Tree provided such great information that I will visit time and time again as I help HS students with the college admissions process.

    • Sylvia, she is such a wealth of wisdom. I am blessed to have had her invest so much in me. I thought she did an amazing job of communicating that there is power in the student voice and there is nothing else that can substitute for the student sharing their unique story.