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I’m passionate about the value of college application essays.  I see time and time again how students grow by examining and writing about their strengths.

Now a study published in the April 17, 2009 issue of Science magazine is backing me up.

covtoc.dpWhat’s more, this study, titled “Recursive Processes in Self-Affirmation: Intervening to Close the Minority Achievement Gap” holds the answer to reducing the achievement gap currently challenging our nation and our schools–a problem that has been very difficult to solve.

The solution?  Writing.   A student must think positively about himself and reflect on his strengths (“self-affirm”) in order to create an excellent college essay.

The study found that self-affirmation writing could improve student’s GPAs.

“Encouraging children to remember what they like about themselves could have a big impact on their academic achievement.  Self-affirmation exercises can have a significant and lasting impact on academic performance, especially among minority children, according to a new study.”

Are you listening Bill and Melinda Gates Educational Foundation? Your recent report on dropouts concluded…


Here’s a proposal to schools:  Embrace a curriculum that trains students to reach down and pull out the best of themselves for  a compelling college application essay. Middle school isn’t too early.

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