How To Write a College Admission Essay
Most students know that writing a college admission essay is stressful and due to school and work, it becomes a worry. With so many other qualified applicants, the need for your college admission essay to stand out amongst them is essential. It can make the difference in being accepted at the college or university of your choice – or not.
- Don't make it your autobiography:
Whether you’re allowed to choose your own topic or it’s chosen for you, you will need to make your theme focus both personal and narrow because you may have as few as 500 words. Choose just one life event or story to focus on, don’t attempt to cover everything, and don’t stray. It’s not a resume, and there shouldn’t be a list of accomplishments. Your college admission essay needs to convey a story that’s clear and engaging. It might be where your love of painting came from, a tough time in your life that you overcame, or the thrill of your first time skiing.
- Show your character:
This is the opportune time to reveal who you really are as a person and the place to show this is the essay portion of your college admission essay. It’s also where you can let your personality and passion shine. The application will give the admissions officers the particulars about you; however, the college admission essay tells them who you are. You need to show them that you’re responsible, thoughtful, and mature. They will also be looking for other qualities like self-assurance, empathy, perseverance, inspiration, and organization.
- Have a great introduction:
You need to grab the attention of the reader immediately. You might start with an anecdote, brief story, question, or a relevant quote. With a great lead-in, the reader will want to continue reading your college admission essay – not put it on the bottom of the stack.
- Put a smile on the face of the admissions officer:
You can add just a touch of humor to your essay with a well-placed quip that can lighten an essay that’s especially intense or personal. Be careful though because you still want to be taken seriously.
- Every word has to count:
A college admission essay most often has a very restricted word count, so make sure you’re making the most of every word. Simple language will convey your meaning in the best way. Be aware of unintended meanings, vagueness, or meaningless sentences.
- Do not use clichés:
There’s nothing worse than using a cliché and, if used, it can ruin a great essay. It will seem as though you’re using it to make up for poor content and it’s seen as being lazy. The point is to let the person reading your college application essay think you’re creative, fresh, and smart; you don’t want the reader rolling his eyes!
- Be Specific:
Don't just say your trip to England opened your eyes; describe how you felt visiting the museums, castles, ships, and forts and how it changed your perspective on history and tell them why. Use your truths, quotes, and examples in your story.
- Proofread more than once:
After writing the draft of your college admission essay, don’t assume it’s ready to send. When writing your draft, you don’t need to worry about the quality. When it’s done, get away from it for a while and then go back with a fresh set of eyes. Look at your college admission essay as a whole when you’re proofreading and ignore the spelling and grammar. You need to find any weaknesses in your essay and work on them.
- Editing your essay:
After completing any revisions, it’s time to edit for grammar, spelling, and clarity. It’s a good idea to have someone else review your college admission essay, and it will double the chances of finding errors.
- Allow plenty of time:
You shouldn’t expect to write your college admission essay the night before it’s to be sent. You need to allow yourself enough time to do it properly. You need time to research, brainstorm, write the draft, revise and then edit your essay. Remember – the more time you have, the better it will be.