Tips for Writing a Winning College Application Essay
Nearly all colleges rate application essays as either important or very important in their admissions process. A poorly executed essay can cause a writing essays for kids student to get rejected.
On the flip side, exceptional application essays can help students with marginal scores get into the schools of their dreams. The tips below will help you win big with your essay. Many college applicants make the mistake of trying to include all of their accomplishments and activities in their application essays. Such essays read like what they are: tedious lists.
Other parts of the application provide plenty of space for you to list extracurricular activities, so save your lists for the places where they belong.
The most engaging and compelling essays tell a story and have a clear focus. Through carefully chosen detail, your writing should reveal your passions and expose your personality. A thoughtful and detailed narration of a difficult time in your life tells far more about you than a list of competitions won and honors achieved.
Along with the essay, most colleges rate "character and personal qualities" as extremely important in their admissions decisions. Your character shows up in three places on the application: the interview if you have oneyour involvement in extracurricular activitiesand your essay.
Of the three, the essay is the most immediate and illuminating to the admissions folks as they read through thousands of applications. They are looking for good citizens for their campus communities. The more we can learn about what they value in their lives, the better. While it's important to be thoughtful and mature, you don't want your college application essay to be too heavy. Try to lighten up the essay with a clever metaphor, a well-placed witticism, or a little self-deprecating humor.
But don't overdo it. The essay that is filled with bad puns or off-color jokes will often end up in the rejection pile. Also, humor isn't a substitute for substance. Your primary task is to answer the essay prompt thoughtfully; the smile you bring to your reader's lips is just a bonus and a tear can sometimes be effective too. Many students have been rejected for failing to take the prompt seriously and writing essays that end up being more foolish than clever.
Not just humor, but the overall tone of your application essay is remarkably important. It's also difficult to get right. When you are asked to write about your accomplishments, those words on how great you are can make you sound like a braggart. Be careful to balance your pride in your achievements with humility and generosity towards others.
You also want to avoid sounding like a whiner -- use your essay to show off your skills, not to explain the injustices that lead to your low math score or failure to graduate 1 in your class. Grammatical problems, punctuation errors, and spelling mistakes can hurt your chance of being accepted. When excessive, these errors are distracting and make your application essay difficult to understand. Even a few errors, however, can be a strike against you. They show a lack of care and quality control in your written work, and your success in college partly depends upon strong writing skills.
If English isn't your greatest strength, seek help. Ask a favorite teacher to go over the essay with you, or find a friend with strong editorial skills. If you can't find expert help, there are many online essay services that can provide a careful critique of your writing. How to write good essays in college Flipboard Email.
Allen Grove is an Alfred University English professor and a college admissions expert with 20 years of experience helping students transition to college. Updated November 20, From the Admissions Desk "The best personal statements are about the student, not the event, person, or situation that they are describing. Continue Reading.
Aug 25, - Writing your personal statement for your college application is an undeniably overwhelming project. Your essay is your big shot to show. Essay Tips: 7 Tips on Writing an Effective Essay. Pick a topic. You may have your topic assigned, or you may be given free reign to write on the subject of your choice. Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas. Write your thesis statement. Write the body. Write the introduction. Write the conclusion. Add the. Sep 6, - Steps. Read your assignment carefully. Review the prompt and ensure you clearly understand the assignment. Compile your sources and evidence. An academic essay needs to support its claims with solid evidence. Brainstorm to come up with ideas. Organize your ideas into an argument. Come up with a concise thesis statement.