If you think of the application as pieces of a puzzle or as independent voices coming together to tell your story, the essay is part of the puzzle over which you have complete control. For colleges, the essay not only provides an opportunity to evaluate your creativity, writing style and ability, but also says something about your outlook on life—your preferences, values, the way you think—and the experiences and people who have uniquely shaped you.
Tell your story.
Admissions counselors develop a sixth sense about essay writers who are authentic. Write with focus. Another very simple tip, but many of the less compelling essays we read each year fail to focus. Think about the special nugget of information you want the reader to know about you at the end of your essay and write with that central theme in mind.
Answer the question. At the end of your focused essay, be sure that what you have written directly responds to the request or question presented in the essay prompt you have selected. Throw out your thesaurus. Parading your highly evolved vocabulary in front of the admissions committee in order to impress is a very seductive trap. The most sophisticated writers can convey a message in simple and concise language.
Being able to cut to the heart of a complex issue is one of the greatest signs of intelligence!
Check out these 39 college essay tips from experts in the admissions world. Use these college application essay tips when writing to tell a story. You've taken the tests, requested the recommendations, completed the common app, and now it's finally time to refocus on what you've been.
Read your essay aloud to someone. Reading the essay out loud offers a chance to hear how your essay sounds outside your head. Enlist a proofreader. As a writer, you can become very close to your work. A proofreader will review your essay with fresh eyes and may even catch mistakes that you have routinely missed. In choosing a proofreader, find someone who knows you well, but who will also help you to preserve your voice within the essay.
Dickinson College. Essay Writing Tips and Prompts. Application Essay Writing Tips and Prompts Our veteran admissions counselors are frequently asked to share expert advice about writing compelling college essays. Purpose of the Essay The essay is valuable to you and the colleges to which you are applying. I brought my instrument to my lips and did everything just as we had rehearsed. The next five minutes were a blur. After the last note had faded, we turned in formation and marched off the field.
Leaving the field that day was the first time I realized the power of devoting everything I had to a goal and following through. See the difference? Note all the details. A good rule of thumb is this: write what you think is enough detail…and then write twice as much. The right amount is probably somewhere between the two. Many admissions essays focus too much on what happened and not enough on how it made you feel and what you learned from it.
To do this, you need to get away from simply summarizing events. When writing about an experience like this, it can be really easy to get wrapped up in all the cool things that happened. You need to talk about what you learned, about how this experience changed you, and how it helped form who you are today. Once again, the key is to be specific. Want some examples? On a more technical note, the individual words you use can make or break your essay. These are just filler words that we lean on for convenience.
To craft an outstanding essay you have to get past these overused descriptions. To round this article off, here are a few additional pieces of advice for writing a successful admissions essay:. I hope that after reading this post you feel a bit more confident in your ability to write your college admissions essay. It may feel scary and impossible, but with right approach and enough time , you can write an essay that showcases your unique personality and impresses admissions officers. What questions do you have about writing college admissions essays?
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Want to listen to an audio narration of this article? If this sounds like you, then please share your story. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family. What NOT to Write About Speaking of obvious ideas, the biggest piece of advice I can give about writing college essays is this: avoid the obvious.
Anything that comes across as narcissistic. Most of all, anything trite. But what in the world should you talk about? The point of this exercise is twofold: It helps you get all the obvious stuff out of your head first.
But we want to get that stuff out of the way as quickly as possible so we can move on to the not so obvious. When free writing about a topic, you may stumble onto an idea even better than your original. Notable accomplishments for instance, creating your own personal website or blog. Notable experiences traveling to the North Pole, doing a homestay in another country, meeting the President. Notable abilities fluency in multiple languages, wilderness survival skills, Iron Chef-level cooking abilities.
Big Mistake 2: Events vs. Seuss To round this article off, here are a few additional pieces of advice for writing a successful admissions essay: Proofread, proofread, proofread. Sadly, one of the easiest ways to stand out is to have correct spelling and grammar. Edit, edit, edit. Look for things like consistency of tone, style, and form.
Does the way the essay is organized make sense? What could be clearer? What do you need to add?