It should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school activities.
Take a minute and think about the college or university admission officers who will be reading your essay. How will your essay convey your background and what makes you unique? If you had the opportunity to stand in front of an admission committee to share a significant story or important information about yourself, what would you say? The college application essay is your chance to share your personality, goals, influences, challenges, triumphs, life experiences, or lessons learned.
Not to mention why you're a good fit for the college or university—and why it's a good fit for you.
These are the stories behind the list of activities and leadership roles on your application. Instead, pick one moment in time and focus on telling the story behind it.
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One way to do that is to work step-by-step, piece-by-piece. The end result should be a carefully designed, insightful essay that makes you proud. Take advantage of being able to share something with an audience who knows nothing about you and is excited to learn what you have to offer. Write the story no one else can tell. Ease yourself into the essay-writing process. Take time to understand the question or prompt being asked.
The single most important part of your essay preparation may be simply making sure you truly understand the question or essay prompt.
How to Write a Great College Application Essay | CollegeXpress
When you are finished writing, you need to make sure that your essay still adheres to the prompt. College essay questions often suggest one or two main ideas or topics of focus. These can vary from personal to trivial, but all seek to challenge you and spark your creativity and insight. Get your creative juices flowing by brainstorming all the possible ideas you can think of to address your college essay question.
Believe it or not, the brainstorming stage may be more tedious than writing the actual application essay. The purpose is to flesh out all of your possible ideas so when you begin writing, you know and understand where you are going with the topic. Architects use a blue print. A webpage is comprised of code. Cooks rely on recipes.
What do they have in common? They have a plan. The rules for writing a good essay are no different. Create an outline that breaks down the essay into sections. By now you know exactly what you will write about and how you want to tell the story. So hop on a computer and get to it. Try to just let yourself bang out a rough draft without going back to change anything. Then go back and revise, revise, revise. Before you know it, you will have told the story you outlined—and reached the necessary word count—and you will be happy you spent all that time preparing!
You have worked so hard up until this point, and while you might be relieved, remember: your essay is only as good as your editing. A single grammatical error or typo could indicate carelessness—not a trait you want to convey to a college admission officer. Writing the college essay takes time and effort, and you should feel accomplished.
When you submit your essay, remember to include your name, contact information, and ID number if your college provided one, especially if you send it to a general admission email account. Nothing is worse than trying to match an application essay with no name or, worse, an email address such as donutsarelife domain. Make sure to keep copies of what you sent to which schools and when—and follow up on them! Be certain the college or university you are applying to received your essay. Looking for more college application essay help?
We have tons— tons— here , including lots of real-world examples! Tags: admission admission advice how to college essays applications brainstorming. Get to know your prompt Ease yourself into the essay-writing process. Read them again. Then read them one more time. Take some time to think about what is being asked and let it really sink in before you let the ideas flow. Is this essay prompt asking you to inform? Expand upon? These pieces rarely showcase who you are as an applicant. Share something specific to emphasize what makes you a good fit.
How To Write — And Not Write — A College Essay
Describe how the school would benefit from your presence. Share your plans. Focus on your most likely general field of study. How is the college the best place for you to meet those goals?
This question assesses planning abilities and awareness of strengths. Describe resources that will help you achieve your goals. Describe how much it matters to have a first-rate undergrad education. Using your unique profile, our free guidance platform helps you calculate your chances at hundreds of schools. We'll also help you understand what areas you need to improve to get into your dream school.
Write about instances when discipline and persistence helped you. Show evidence of initiative and determination. Describe examples of self-starting behavior so readers imagine you in action. Extracurriculars show evidence of determination, creativity, teamwork, passion, or civic-mindedness. They clarify what you value, what motivates you, what sets you apart.
Step 2 - The First Sentence
Which challenges did you overcome? Focus on one or two and make an impression with personal details. Describing extracurriculars that show talents and interests is valuable. Consider also showing concern for others. Have you volunteered, tutored, been a counselor, helped parents with their business, or worked after school? How do you challenge yourself as part of a team? Willingness to get help is good—knowing limits is healthy.
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Being willing to get assistance and learn from others is impressive. Enthusiasm, attitude, and drive are easier to see if you explain that you used them to start a club, work at a dog shelter, or build a boat. Let readers imagine you doing and succeeding. Let that behavior illuminate who you are. Get at least one person a teacher or counselor is ideal to proofread i it.
Show what you care about and what makes you different. Your essay shows how well you follow directions. What does the college hope to learn? Sarah Myers McGinty , author of The College Application Essay , says essays often uncover how well a student might fit at the school, or show whether a student can do the work. She says colleges tend to ask three kinds of questions:.
Before writing to a prompt, take time to consider what kind of question it asks. What is the college really interested in learning about you? Write to address that interest. Make answers specific and personal.