That being said, the essay is something you can control so you want to make it good. Quite simply, a great college essay helps illuminate who you are. You need to take the opportunity to present yourself in a way that gives the reader--the potential decision maker--a greater understanding of who you are and what you will bring to the community they are seeking to create.
The worst things you can do is write an essay that is generic, one where if your name was replaced by another, the reader could not tell the difference.
The people in the admissions office are trying to learn about you and the essay is often the last chance you have to shape their impression and understanding of you. Make it yours. Your teachers have submitted their letters of recommendation. You've sent in your transcripts and SAT scores. The only thing left to do is the thing you're dreading the most: Write your admissions essays.
The blank page can be daunting, and those short little essay prompts can be downright intimidating. But if you're willing to put in the time and effort, you can write a compelling essay you'll be proud to submit.
Here are five things to keep in mind before your fingers hit the computer keys. A great college essay: 1 Addresses the prompt assuming a specific prompt is given. While you are drafting and revising, stop to ask yourself: Am I answering the question the college is asking me?
Don't waste time trying to sound "collegiate" or scouring the thesaurus for big words to make your essay sound formal. Your essay should sound like you and let the reader "hear" who you are and what makes you a unique individual.
That's what colleges are interested in; not unless you're studying acting in how well you can pretend to be someone else.
Do the ideas flow logically? Does it reveal something about the applicant? No repeats. What you write in your application essay or personal statement should not contradict any other part of your application—nor should it repeat it. This isn't the place to list your awards or discuss your grades or test scores. Answer the question being asked. Don't reuse an answer to a similar question from another application.
Have at least one other person edit your essay. One is better than the other I'll give you a hint: it's the second one. By focusing on details, you set yourself apart; many people love museums and could list some artists that they like.
Not many have taken the time to geek out about Edward Hopper on paper. Write how you speak: If your friends, family members, and teachers would describe you as silly, outgoing, and uninhibited, why would you submit a collection of essays all written in a formal, subdued tone? Thoughtfulness, introspection, and an unassuming tone make for great college essays too!
Many college essay writers choose to tell me outright that their personality is this way or that way. Telling me that your friends would describe you as silly and outgoing is, unfortunately, not enough. As the admissions officer reading your application, I need proof — in the form of a written tone that matches your spoken one.
Writing concisely expresses to the admissions officers that can organize your thoughts and that you respect their time. Combine like ideas into more sophisticated sentence structures The vast majority of the sentences in your essay should be compound, complex, or a combination of both compound-complex sentences.
Save simple sentences for instances when you need to create impact. Seek qualified second opinions You should absolutely ask others to take a look at your essay before you submit it. As we work on things, we become blind to mistakes that will be glaringly apparent to others.
However, limit the number of people you ask to two or three. Therefore, look to individuals who have background and expertise in the college admissions process. EssayEdge is a great resource for editing services.
Do this exercise for days straight, then read out loud what you have written to a trusted source a parent? Don't expect a masterpiece from this exercise though stranger things have happened. The goal is to discover the kernel of any idea that can blossom into your college essay—a story that will convey your message, or clarity about what message you want to convey. Show your emotions.
Adding feelings to your essays can be much more powerful than just listing your achievements. It allows reviewers to connect with you and understand your personality and what drives you.
In particular, be open to showing vulnerability. Nobody expects you to be perfect and acknowledging times in which you have felt nervous or scared shows maturity and self-awareness. This college essay tip is by Charles Maynard, Oxford and Stanford University Graduate and founder of Going Merry , which is a one-stop shop for applying to college scholarships Be genuine and authentic.
Your essay should be a true representation of who you are as a person—admissions officers want to read essays that are meaningful, thoughtful, and consistent with the rest of the application. Essays that come from the heart are the easiest to write and the best written. Have a teacher or counselor, not just your smartest friend, review and edit your essays.
This college essay tip is by Jonathan April, University of Chicago graduate, general manager of College Greenlight , which offers free tools to low-income and first-generation students developing their college lists. Note how the writer incorporates a wide range of details and images through one particular lens: a scrapbook. Prompt: Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
The layouts of the pages are already imprinted in my mind, so I simply draw them on scratch paper. Now I can really begin. Cutting the first photograph, I make sure to leave a quarter inch border. I then paste it onto a polka-dotted green paper with a glue stick. For a sophisticated touch, I use needle and thread to sew the papers together. Loads of snipping and pasting later, the clock reads three in the morning.
I look down at the final product, a full spread of photographs and cut-out shapes. As usual, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride as I brush my fingers over the crisp papers and the glossy photographs.
For me, the act of taking pieces of my life and putting them together on a page is my way of organizing remnants of my past to make something whole and complete.
This particular project is the most valuable scrapbook I have ever made: the scrapbook of my life. The entire left side I have dedicated to the people in my life. All four of my Korean grandparents sit in the top corner; they are side by side on a sofa for my first birthday —my ddol. Meanwhile, my Texas cousins watch Daniel, the youngest, throw autumn leaves into the air that someone had spent hours raking up.
To the right, my school peers and I miserably pose for our history teacher who could not resist taking a picture when he saw our droopy faces the morning of our first AP exam. I move over to the right side of the page. At the top, I have neatly sewn on three items. The first is a page of a Cambodian Bible that was given to each of the soldiers at a military base where I taught English.
Beneath it is the picture of my Guatemalan girls and me sitting on the dirt ground while we devour arroz con pollo, red sauce slobbered all over our lips.
I reread the third item, a short note that a student at a rural elementary school in Korea had struggled to write in her broken English. I lightly touch the little chain with a dangling letter E included with the note. Moving to the lower portion of the page, I see the photo of the shelf with all my ceramic projects glazed in vibrant hues.
With great pride, I have added a clipping of my page from the Mirror, our school newspaper, next to the ticket stubs for Wicked from my date with Dad. I make sure to include a photo of my first scrapbook page of the visit to Hearst Castle in fifth grade. Unlike the previous one, this page is not cluttered or crowded. There is my college diploma with the major listed as International Relations; however, the name of the school is obscure. The remainder of the page is a series of frames and borders with simple captions underneath.
Without the photographs, the descriptions are cryptic. For now, that second page is incomplete because I have no precise itinerary for my future. The red flags on the map represent the places I will travel to, possibly to teach English like I did in Cambodia or to do charity work with children like I did in Guatemala.
As for the empty frames, I hope to fill them with the people I will meet: a family of my own and the families I desire to help, through a career I have yet to decide. Until I am able to do all that, I can prepare. It reads like the opening to a movie. She keeps clothes for a long time; she likes to be comfortable. What does "Levi's" suggest? She's not obsessed with neatness. What do these details tell us? Family is really important to her.
Fireplace: What does a fireplace connote? Warmth, closeness.
It could be a Moleskine notebook if you really want to do it with panache. Without the photographs, the descriptions are cryptic. Barak Rosenbloom College essay mentor, guide and editor essaymentors. They are looking to see what topic you chose and what you did with it. I make sure to include a photo of my first scrapbook page of the visit to Hearst Castle in fifth grade. What does it tell you about this family that they sit and listen to rain together?
It could be index cards. We want to learn about growth. Check your grammar and spelling.
As I read through your essays, I am crafting an image in my head of the person who will arrive on our campus in the fall if admitted. The essays that made the best impressions on me were the essays that were real.
Being confident is key, but you don't want to come across as boasting. Your job is to arm me with examples of who this person is. Wait, actually try cutting this in your mind before scrolling down.
Insight answers the question: So what? It should be people who know you best and want you to succeed. Consider these two hypothetical introductory paragraphs for a master's program in library science. It was a macabre little composition, but it was about exactly what was on my mind at the time I was writing it. A weak lede will have your reader thinking "reject"—a mindset from which it's nearly impossible to recover.
Plus, multiple errors could lower your chances of admission. Seek qualified second opinions You should absolutely ask others to take a look at your essay before you submit it.
Sometimes you need to disregard the conventions of English essay writing to make sure your tone and style are prominent.