When Grace Kim was in high school, she wrote a college application essay that landed her a full ride to Princeton University. Kim went on to become an admissions officer at Stanford University and today, she is a university programs specialist for Google and helps students with their college admissions process for LogicPrep.
But the college essay that opened these doors for her is not one she would ever suggest that students emulate.
"Its funny, because I think my application essay is something I would advise students not to write about now," she tells CNBC Make It. "Often times we see essays about service trips that people do abroad and mine actually was about a trip that I took to Costa Rica with my church."
Kim explains that essays about a short but rewarding service trips are often overdone by students and have become a cliche in the college admissions community.