How To Apply To College
- Applying to College Home
- College Admissions Calendar
- Requesting College Information
- Campus Tour Advice
- College Applications
- Early Decision and Early Action
- Financial Aid Questions to Ask
- Accepted Students Day
College Admissions Essays
The most time-consuming and difficult part when students apply to college is the essay. Read on for more tips on writing your college admissions essay and developing a college admissions essay topic.
Goals Of College Admissions Essays
The goal of an admissions essay is to write a personal essay, usually about 300 to 500 words in length (occasionally longer, depending on the college) that shares a powerful message and supports your academic profile, while connecting to the requirements of the essay. In a college admissions essay you can show your ambition, confidence and initiative through story telling and writing in first person. For an admissions officer, it is the time to connect a personality, a person, to the test scores and other academic information they have in front of them. College admissions essays are well written, and interesting. The best tips are to PROOFREAD and to listen to feedback!
Developing College Admissions Essay Topics
First you will want to think of an overall strategy. What are the strengths and ideas you want to portray? Who is the audience and what would they value? What tone, story or details in your story will best reach this audience? Let the information you gather guide a strategy to how you focus your ideas. Think of a topic that will allow you to incorporate supporting qualities and information about yourself into the essay, but remember to connect to the essay prompt. The topic must be interesting, and it must also relate back the essay question, even if you have chosen your own!
If you are have trouble starting, remember an English teacher may have already assigned an essay that you can use as a starting point. Look through your old writing, talk to teachers and mentors, and refine your thoughts. Sometimes you can get more than one use out of an admissions essay, and if you are using the common app you most likely will be using the same essay for several schools. But, if you can and want to refine the essay for for each school, you can.
Why is college important to you? Present yourself in the best light and make a clear argument. Successful essays are written clearly and organized effectively. Another tip is that many successful admissions essays have positive outcomes, despite a struggle. This type of story is a great way to show initiative and can have a powerful affect on a reader. Not only this, but a positive story will also put the reader in a jolly mood.
College Admissions Essay Tips
- Pick a topic is unique and original.
- Use dialogue or humorous anecdotes to spice up your essay. Don't just repeat what people said; quote them to bring the essay alive for the reader.
- Connect to the essay prompt.
- Prepare to write a few drafts and sleep on them, as you might think differently (and better) tomorrow when you re-read what you've done. This will also help you develop your own voice and help you organize your thoughts more clearly.
- Have several people look over your drafts and offer their comments and suggestions. Listen to their criticism and suggestions, make revisions, but maintain your own voice.
- Check, and double check, for spelling and grammar. We can't stress this enough!
- Take your time, and don't let the pressure of picking a topic throw you off track.
How To Refine Your College Admissions Essay
Once you have picked a story to tell for a particular admissions essay, and written a first draft, now focus on the details that make your story shine. Include more detailed facts if they are not obvious to the reader, remove any facts that are unnecessary or that make the story confusing. Remember, no matter how crafty you get with sentence structure and superfluous vocabulary, the story has to make sense to the reader. Read your essay with this in mind and remove unclear thoughts that may take away from the reader's experience.
It is better to sound natural, than forced. Make sure your voice shines through (remember it is okay to use first person, "I" in admissions essays), and then hand off the essay to be proofread by your English teacher, admissions counselor, friend or parent. After be thoroughly proofread, and you are satisfied, it is time to make sure the rest of you application materials are complete!
Other Materials You Need In Addition To College Admissions Essays
Explore the resources below to learn more about the application materials you will need when you apply to college:
>> Learn more about College Applications and how to complete them.
>> Learn when and how to request Letters of Recommendation.
>> Learn how Test Scores and Transcripts are used admissions.
>> Learn how to ace a College Interview.