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How to Write a College Admissions Essay

04 Apr 2018

You survived your SATs. You got letters of recommendation from your favorite teachers. You filled out your application forms and even prepared for interviews at your top choice schools. You’re counting down the days till you graduate high school. Only one big section remains: your college admissions essay. College admissions are more competitive now than ever, and the difference between receiving a big, fat acceptance package and a slim rejection letter in the mail comes down to a personal essay, what it says about your personal character in relation to the college’s zeitgeist and brand. The stakes are high, but you needn’t panic. You can entrust admission essay writing service with this important task, also you can check out our general advice and tips below and learn how to write a college application essay for the ages.

What is a college admissions essay?

Writing a personal essay is an integral part of the college application process. Other aspects of the this process are highly formulaic and based on algorithms. They signify what you can do in terms of performing on tests and earning grades in classes. Your writing, however, is the opportunity to inform admissions officers about who you are, and showcase your ability to self-reflect. Each college has its own unique theme and you need to consider how to format a college application essay based on the school’s particular requirements. Some lean in a biographical direction, others focus on social and intellectual connections between the prospective student and the university. Others still invite the prospective student to be creative with their response.

how to write a college application essay

Tip #1: Carefully assess and address essay prompts

This should go without saying, but arguably the most important aspect of a successful admissions essay is that it answers specific questions that were asked. Many colleges allow applicants to write about a topic or theme entirely of their choosing, but this is in no way a universal rule. If you are applying to a number of different schools, carefully check out the required parameters of each assignment. Most likely, you won’t have to write an entirely new piece for each application--develop a base composition, and you can tweak it in a variety of ways to meet all needs of each college’s instructions. If you don’t address a particular institution’s assignment prompts, it will appear as if you aren’t able to follow even basic directions, or worse aren’t really that interested in doing what it takes to enroll in that program, and admissions officers will deem your application unworthy of their time or consideration.

Tip #2: Be Concise

College admissions essays may not have a precise limit on length in terms of word count or number of pages, but that doesn’t mean you should write a novel! When you’re considering how to write an admission essay, remember that admissions officers have many thousands of other papers to read, and if they have to spend too much time on yours, they may skip it entirely, and leave your hopes of acceptance dashed. As a general rule of thumb, you should strive to keep your assignment under 700 words unless specifically directed to do otherwise.

Tip #3: Be Cohesive

Organize your thoughts in a clear and coherent fashion before putting them on a page. We recommend you start by brainstorming ideas, and pick the top three before placing them in an outline structure with a distinct beginning, middle, and end. Focus on utilizing target language when formulating your introduction and conclusion paragraphs.

Tip #4: Own Your Vocabulary

While you may be thinking that the key to how to write a good college essay is to use your robust vocabulary. However, it’s most important that you make are certain you are genuinely familiar with the words you are attempting to use. College admissions officers can tell easily if you’re consulting a thesaurus constantly and using the biggest words you can find. One rule of thumb is to write your assignment in a similar manner to how you would speak about the designated subject.

Tip #5: Create an Outline

When you think about how to write a college paper, the first thing you should think of is how to organize it. Every good essay includes a beginning, middle, and end; include an introduction, body, and conclusion. As part of this step, take your time to consider how you want to formulate your introduction: will you start with an anecdote? A question? A quote? How you begin your assignment sets the tone for the entire document. When you’re crafting your ideas in the body of your assignment, consider roughly how long each paragraph should be, and how much attention you want to pay to each point. Creating an outline that establishes the style of your work before you begin to write it helps you stay consistent and avoid track changes along the way later.

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Tip #6: Revise, Revise, Revise!

Creating an outline can help cut down on the time you’ll need to spend revising and rewriting drafts of your paper, but you’ll still have to review your work and make corrections at least a little bit after the fact. Take some time after you finish your assignment and work on something else, allowing you to look at it later with a fresh set of eyes. In addition to revising your own essay, letting someone else look over your work can be a highly beneficial aspect of how to write a college essay. When your friends review your composition, they should keep an eye out for cohesion, reader engagement, honesty, adherence to prompts and general flow. You can offer to do the same for him or her; the more, the merrier--make it an editing party! After this, you may wish to show your essay to a parent, teacher, or school counselor for advice.

Tip #7: Connect the Dots

Your college admissions essay is the part of your application where you get to qualitatively create your own brand and personal narrative. This is where you can showcase your strengths and emphasize your priorities, as well as contextualize any weaknesses or gaps found in your records. When considering how to write an application essay, don’t simply regurgitate the exact same information people can read about in the rest of your application with marginally more flowery language. Your composition should take the application’s information, fill in the holes in the data, and bring the very best of your college-aspiring character to the reader’s eyes in a way they will never forget.

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