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How to Write a Compelling College Application Essay
You have known for months the day would come when you could no longer put off your college application essay and you would have to write. It’s ok that you are nervous, but you really shouldn’t be. A college application essay is your only chance to speak for yourself because your grades, recommendations, and test scores simply speak for you. As a result, you should put a lot of thought and effort into writing your college essay because it will be read and impact whether or not you are admitted. The following tips will help you write a college application that is compelling and certainly will get the admission counselor’s attention.
Essay Tip #1
Personal Event Always choose a personal event in your life to write about. It does not matter what the event was, as long as it was profound and had a serious impact on your life. However, since there are so many young students applying for college and many of them have had similar life experiences make sure you focus on the moments that occurred during the event that affected you rather than the event itself. Pinpointing events, your feelings, and the result is the best way to relay the story of your personal event to the admissions counselor. Not to mention when you are telling a personal story, it comes through in the writing.
Essay Tip #2
Be Honest Too often students think their personal experiences and feelings are not worthy of an essay so they make something up that sounds worthy. Unfortunately, this is a huge mistake because college admissions counselors are not looking for a specific experience, but rather are interested in your experiences and how they have affected you. Think back throughout your life to a defining moment in your life. It could be receiving your first bad grade, making a mistake and learning from it, a death, an accomplishment, nothing is too big or small to write about if it really impacted your life because you will be able to convey why it affected you. This is what counselor’s want to see, not a generic essay that is obviously without personal feeling.
Essay Tip #3
Proofread and Organize So, you have finally written your essay. That is great, but now is the time to proofread and organize. You might want to let the essay sit for a day or two and then go back and re-read it. Doing this will help you catch any grammatical mistakes as well as parts of the essay that are confusing, don’t flow well, or simply don’t tell the story you want. Make all the changes and then have a friend, parent, or teacher review your essay. Ask them if they are clear on the defining event in your life and how it affected you. If so, great because this is what counselors are looking for. If not, you have a chance to go back and fix it.
Essay Tip #4
Don’t Assume Too often students assume college admissions counselors want to hear about certain political figures having great influences on their lives. The truth is, if you write about a famous president or figure in history hundreds if not thousands of other students will do the same. The truth of the matter is that many other events in your life have influenced you more than the current president or Gandhi. The counselor’s know this and don’t have certain topics they want to read. However, writing something different than the rest of the applicants will certainly win you points with the admissions counselors because they get bored of Bush, Clinton, Gandhi, Mother Theresa and all the rest after a while.
By following these guidelines you will certainly write a compelling and thought provoking college essay that will make an impression on the college admission counselors reading it. This will help you market yourself in your own words and might very well be the element that tips the admissions scales in your favor. By not following these guidelines your college essay will come off as generic and just like hundreds of other essays received each day. You want your essay to stand out, so make it personal, honest, well organized and focused. Doing this will make your essay something you can be proud of because it is one of a kind and a reflection of your originality.