How to Write a Great College Admission Essay
There’s no denying that the college application process can be stressful and nerve-wracking. While there are many ways you can showcase your talents, one particularly good method is to focus on writing a college admission essay to help cement your place in your institution of choice.
The admissions committee of your chosen college will use the admission essay to figure out whether you’re a good fit for the school. It’s no stretch to say that how you write your personal essay can make or break your chances. As such, if you want to give your college application your best shot, focus on delivering a fantastic essay.
Let’s review how to write a college admission essay with the handy overview below.
Table of Contents
Understanding the Prompt
The good news is you don’t have to worry about the general direction of your essay, as the application process will help guide you. The application will come with a prompt on where you will base the entirety of your essay.
You’ll have to read the question carefully and try to figure out how you can use the prompt to write an effective essay. For example, many of these questions are broad in scope, which allows you to stretch your creative muscles. Think of the prompt as a way to channel your inner experiences and personal strengths. You can use it as a guide to help you write, matching the question with experiences that have helped you grow as a person.
It’s perfectly fine to pace yourself, as there’s no need to rush things. Go over the question carefully and plan things out.
Following the Guidelines
While you work toward building the foundation of your essay, it’s crucial that you understand the overall guidelines. The application process will include details such as the word count, font, page limit, format, and more.
The guidelines help the admissions committee determine who is willing to read and follow the instructions. Those who failed to take the time to format the essay precisely as instructed will decrease their odds as this shows a lack of meticulousness and seriousness. Therefore, don’t take the guidelines lightly; ensure that you plan accordingly.
Writing a Compelling Introduction
In many ways, an essay is like having a one-sided conversation. As such, you’ll want to start things off with a compelling introduction. After all, you can’t imagine anyone being all that interested in what you have to say if you push for an abrupt start.
The idea is to get the reader’s attention. If you feel a little stumped, it’s perfectly fine. You just need to find a hook, an interesting quote, a vivid scene, or an intriguing question, that essentially acts as your conversation starter.
Being Authentic but Unique
Keep in mind that the admissions committee isn’t looking for quotable quotes and life advice from you. They’re looking to understand you as a potential student, and whether you’re a good fit for their school. As such, take your time to be as authentic as you can possibly be.
It’s also the reason why you should delve into your experiences and express how it has helped mold you as a person. Everyone is unique, and you have a better chance of showing off a unique and compelling essay if you write things down from your personal perspective. This will also allow you to showcase what separates you from all the other candidates.
Writing with the Admission Officers in Mind
The admissions committee has hundreds of thousands of college admission essays to read. As such, it’s important that you ensure that they have a pleasant time reading your submission.
Ensure that your paragraphs are clear and concise. Don’t write huge blocks of text as it makes reading your essay more of a challenge than it has to be. If you want to test out how well your essay reads, all you have to do is read through it.
Using Specific and Relevant Details
Of course, it’s good to share your experiences and tell how it has helped mold you into the person you have become. However, do not overshare. If you feel like what you’re writing takes away from the point, it might be better to leave that part out of the essay.
It’s okay to leave a few things to the imagination, provided you go for specific and relevant details in their stead. For example, if you can support your experiences with relevant takeaways and lessons, chances are they’ll make good additions to the essay.
Ending with a Bang
Ending things with a bang can be challenging. However, if you’ve been following the above tips, you’ll find a decent way to end your essay.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about writing a good ending? No worries, take your time. End things off with an impactful takeaway or even a bit of humor for a wholesome conclusion.
Proofreading and Editing
Unsurprisingly, proofreading and editing are two of the most important aspects of writing a college admission essay. The reason skilled writers leave proofreading and editing after they finish as it helps maintain focus and momentum. As such, you’ll want to save proofreading and editing once you’ve written down everything you want to write.
Take the time to proofread, fix all grammatical errors, and make the necessary edits. And if you really want to guarantee your success, have trusted family or friends read your essay to get meaningful feedback. It will also be wise to have your English teacher critique your work. Then, you can revise as necessary.
A New College Experience Awaits
A college application essay that is clear and coherent, compelling, and easy to read will give you every opportunity in the world to get into your college of choice, so ensure that you follow the guidelines on how to write a college admission essay. Doing so will help you get a spot in your dream university.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.