How to Write a Good College Application Essay

They turn the dial, just as they have hundreds of times before, until a soft, metallic click echoes into my eardrum and triggers their unconscious stop. I exultantly thrust open my locker door, exposing its deepest bowels candidly to the wide halls of the high school. The bright lights shine back, brashly revealing every crevice, nook, and cranny, gleaming across its scintillating, bare surfaces. On this first day of senior year, I set out upon my task. I procure an ordinary plastic grocery bag from my backpack. The contents inside collectively represent everything about me in high school – they tell a story, one all about me.

Before you write your first draft read our sample essays to get a few tips on writing your perfect admission essay. Typically the essay portion is broken down into a few short supplemental essays addressing particular questions and then one longer personal statement. Check out this Supplemental College Essay Guide for examples of supplemental essay prompts. The personal statement is generally the same across all applications, and the prompts are available to view here.

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Colleges usually have one prompt for you to address in your personal statement or will give you the option to choose from a list. Having a how to right a college application essay variety of questions to choose from can come with its own difficulties; you may not know which question is best or how to approach it.

These sentences are weak and vague, and they’re also likely written by many college applicants every year. To make the anecdote vivid, you should include specific details that paint a picture in the reader’s mind. This highly detailed description of a family game of Bananagrams provides an excellent introduction to Merchant’s essay about his love of words. The very first sentence of your essay should be the“hook” or “grabber.”This sentence “hooks” readers or “grabs” their attention, making them want to read more. That’s certainly not many words for such an important piece of writing, so it’s necessary for you to keep the essay introduction brief.

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Humor is a great way to make friends or break the ice with someone new, but you should try not to rely on it in your admissions essay. You have no way of knowing what the admissions officer’s sense of humor is like, and you don’t want to run the risk of a joke falling flat or, even worse, offending someone. Some places like the Common App will release the essay prompts from previous years, if you want to get an idea of what topics you might be asked to write about. College admissions officers are interested in learning more about who you are as a person and what makes you tick. A college essay is your unique opportunity to introduce yourself to admissions committees who must comb through thousands of applications each year.

One purpose is to communicate a lot of information fast. Another is to allow you to share a lot of different kinds of information, as the example essay below shows. I’ve seen many, many incredible essays—ones that got students into every school you’re hoping to get into—that had no central challenge. I mention this now because, in my experience, many students are under the impression that they have to write about challenges—that it’s either expected, or that it’s somehow better to do so. Make sure that your essay does not exceed the maximum word and page length. This might mean cutting out whole sentences or it might mean using fewer words to say the same thing.

How to Structure a College Admissions Essay

This gives you a chance to show how your brilliant brain works, plus keeps us hooked as you explore possible answers/solutions. I say “probably” because I’m about to share a few overused techniques that I don’t recommend. Having said that, it is possible to pull them off—they’re just really hard to do well. Complete the brainstorming exercises, as these will help no matter which structure you choose. Take special care to complete the Feelings and Needs Exercise, as it will help you outline your essay.

how to right a college application essay

An image-based description that focuses on a particular moment and doesn’t explain much—at least not right away. This technique lets dialogue, actions, or details speak for themselves.

An Overview of the Process of Writing a College Application Essay

As part of the artist community, myself and two other members organized a tsunami-related art project with all proceeds donated to charity. We raised $10,000 in funds, and had about 100 pieces of work donated from artists in nine countries.

After our third doctor visit, I worked with the librarian after school to sift through research on ADHD and other learning disabilities until we came across the term executive functioning. Armed with knowledge, we went to a new doctor, and before my mom could insist that we get testing or get referred to a specialist, the doctor handed us a signed referral. My mom mentioned that some doctors had refused to refer us to a specialist because my grades were too high. He became a different person overnight, frequently getting into fights with my mom.

Use your inner voice

Thankfully, the potentially perilous conversations I’ve had with my friends has given me a newfound appreciation for my own fear. I’ll admit, part of me still seeks to close my eyes, to hide in the safety I’ll find in silence. Yet, a larger part of me yearns to embrace the dangers around me as I fall through the sky.

  • I shattered my school’s 1ooM breaststroke record, and learned how to play the clarinet, saxophone, and the oboe.
  • It’s okay to be vulnerable and honest; in fact, it’s critical you do so.
  • Don’t just go with the first idea that comes to mind when you read it.Consider writing down a list of ideas that come to you after you read the question or prompt.
  • Feelings of being trapped in a stagnant environment permeated my mind, and yet I knew I had to graduate high school; I had to get out.

Instead, it should highlight what makes you a fantastic candidate beyond grades, extracurricular activities, and test scores. Most online applications will include a text box for your essay.

Make Your Essay Beautiful

If you’re applying to colleges, you’re probably writing a lot of essays. Resist the temptation to just rework an essay from another application to fit the new prompt. It will be obvious to the admissions officer reading your essay if you’re answering a different question. You’ve probably read a newspaper article at some point in your life.

You may not want to spend an entire paragraph describing your feelings, for example, or you may choose to describe your needs in just one sentence. And now that you see how it frames the story, you may want to expand on certain columns. However, the sideways Feelings and Needs chart can help you think about how the chronology of your experiences might translate into a personal statement.

Get assisted by higher education experts

Once applicants have edited and proofread their essays, they’ll benefit from at least one more read-through. Applicants should focus more on writing something they care about rather than what they think will impress admissions officers. The Common App essay, for example, allows applicants to write a maximum of 650 words and a minimum of 250 words. Most supplemental essays submitted through this application system should be around 250 words or less. Although universities consider other elements such as GPA and recommendation letters, an outstanding personal essay for college can help you stand out from other applicants.

  • Therefore, it may be less important to stay away from these topics than to take a fresh approach.
  • They give the admissions committee a more personal understanding of you, and they can tip an admissions decision in your favor.
  • It is filled with unexpected dinners and unusual conversations where I was uncertain.
  • Here, I recall spending six weeks in my glory, not only studying and learning, but actually pursuing new knowledge to add to the repertoire of mankind.

Recommendation Letter A recommendation letter is a significant component in the selection approach. With student applications getting competitive every calendar year, a great recommendation letter functions as a differentiating factor. There are means to make certain you get a very good recommendation letter. Our writers at 5staressays know precisely the best way to pen an evocative paper. By the close of the workshop, each essay writer will complete a minimum of one personal statement essay.

A quick word on common or cliché topics

If you need to exceed the limit by maybe one to three extra words, you can definitely get away with that. Colleges will allow that, but you must be absolutely sure it is appropriate to do so. There’s a chance that if you have to copy-paste your essay into your application rather than upload it, the formatting can become skewed, and a few words at the end could be cut off. HBR Learning’s online leadership training helps you hone your skills with courses like Career Management. Access more than 40 courses trusted by Fortune 500 companies.

how to right a college application essay

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