For the last four years you have been working proactively choosing classes, extracurriculars, and community service to gain the attention of your dream University. You have your top pick and a few safety schools picked out and now it’s time to write the college essay.
Why is this essay so important?
Great Universities can be difficult to get into. College admissions officers have several things to consider beyond the grades, community service, and extracurriculars. Admissions must take into account diversity, athletic recruiting, legacy applications, academic ranking, etc.all before determining if the applicant (you) will be successful in their program.
The essay is important because it gives life to who you are. It is a glimpse into the personality and the person behind the grades and gives those determining your future a clearer understanding of who you will become.
What a college entrance essay needs to communicate
Think of the essay as your personal introduction to a group of people who you are asking to invest years of their life and reputation with. What is it about you that they should find appealing? What is it about them that has made it your dream college?
College entrance essays are your chance to showcase education and dedication. Here are a few of the things that are important to convey in the essay.
• Show that you are an educated and dedicated student who has learned valuable life skills/lessons.
• Show who you are and why you want to go to this school. What makes you unique?
• Show how will their program benefit you? Colleges are looking for students who will gain the most from their programs.
• Show that you are passionate, have a defined purpose, and possess character qualities that are in line with the schools.
• Your essay should showcase your writing skills. Schools are looking for well-spoken individuals with clear communication skills.
Tips on how to write an essay
Now that you have an idea of what the college is looking for, it’s time to start writing your essay. Each essay needs to be unique to the individual school question. This is not the time to pull out the A+ essay from English class two years ago and recycle. A brand-new essay tailor made for the school needs to be crafted.
Remember, quality and uniqueness is important. You’ve been dreaming about this school for possibly years now, but this essay is the school’s first glimpse of you.
Here are a few tips to help you as you sit down to write.
• Take time to understand the question asked. Don’t just jump into writing. Take some time to think about what they are asking and how the question applies to you.
• Brainstorm. Now that you have a clear idea of what is being asked brainstorm how the question applies to you. Who are you? What are some of your personality traits and strengths? Think of yourself as a brand. What three words would convey who you are? Write everything that comes to mind down. Once you’ve emptied all the thoughts onto the paper then start narrowing in. Choose three that stand out. They should fit best into the essay prompt, capture who you are, and capable of expanding on.
• Outline. This will give you a clear direction of where you are going. Have an intro, body and conclusion.
• Begin writing your first draft. Don’t edit, just write.
o Be specific and concise. How does the essay question relate to who you are? Write to support that viewpoint. Avoid clichés, use detailed facts, examples and even quotes. Don’t use 100 words for something that could be said in 10.
o Be creative. Give a glimpse into your life and what makes you unique.
o Be honest. Be who you are. Don’t make it up. Don’t write what you think the admission office wants to hear because the truth is you don’t know them.
• Edit. Have those close to you edit your work to see if it adequately reflects you. But don’t let them rewrite it. Keep your voice. Read it out loud to them so that you can both hear the flow of the words. Edit for typos, spelling errors, and grammar.
• Use essay writing tools that will really come in handy. Here are a few of the most useful ones:
o Essay Geeks – A second pair of eyes for your assignment.
o Grammarly – Correct all writing mistakes and plagiarism
o The Easy Essay – Helps organize the paper
o Today’s Best College Essays – Read others who have been successful in writing their essays to help get ideas to begin your own.
You are one essay away from your dream!
Writing a great essay will open the door to the college of your dreams! It will communicate your desire and why the school is the perfect fit for you to succeed. Your essay will give the college admission officers their first look into who you are and all you will become. Set yourself apart and highlight why they should take a risk on you.