How to Write a College Application Essay

How to Write a College Application Essay February 25, 2020

How to Write a College Application Essay?

Our guide aims to provide the students with helpful tips and suggestions on how to write a college application essay. Undoubtedly, an admission process is a particularly important stage on your way to success. Therefore, you need to do everything properly to reach the expected outcome. An application essay is one of the main instruments for introducing yourself and explaining why you deserve to become a student at a particular college or university. We promise that by treating this assignment seriously and following our suggestions, you will be able to create an essay to be proud of.

So, let us find out how to write a breathtaking application essay:

  • Read the instructions very carefully. Pay attention that in order to write a great piece, you should clearly understand every single point of your instructions and follow it. Sometimes, the colleges may ask the applicants to write their essays on free topics whereas others give detailed instructions emphasizing the specific aspects that should be covered. Familiarize yourself with the application essay format requested in the prompt and it will make you closer to success;
  • Brainstorm your ideas. Being frequently underestimated, brainstorming is a particularly important stage of the writing process that should clearly indicate what points you want to discuss in your essay. So, if you want to get positive feedback on your essay from the admission officers, you need to read your prompt carefully and write down all the ideas that come to your mind. Consider writing a list of ideas pertaining to the topic of your essay as this technique will help you not to skip the meaningful insights. Also, some programs ask the applicants to choose one question from the prompt and answer it. In this regard, the brainstorming process will help you select the question that will help you present your personality from the best perspective.

  • Think about the skills, accomplishments, and experiences that make you a good fit for the educational institution chosen. In other words, think about all the things that make you different from your competitors. What are your best personality traits? What do your friends and educators say about you?
  • Pay attention to extracurricular activities. Many students commit the same mistakes by simply listing the extracurricular. However, to get good feedback, you need to explain in what way did participation in some clubs helped you grow mentally. Pay attention that your main focus should be not on what you did but on how it contributed to your self-identification.
  • Make your essay sound fresh and creative. You should understand that the admission officers have to read multiple standard essays with the same statements. Your essay will bring you a good result only if you manage to make it unforgettable. Also, you need to include the information that cannot be found anywhere in the application documents. Finally, make sure to present your information in a very clear and engaging way.
  • Tell your story. If the prompt allows you to tell your story, make sure to do so. Telling a personal story is much more effective than just listing the reasons why you want to enter college. Admission officers are often looking for interesting and creative individuals. Telling a personal story will help you build a special kind of relationship with your reader. If you are not sure how your college application essay heading should look like, we recommend you to look for the creative application essays available on the web. Studying the great examples, you will learn a lot of tips and secrets boosting your own writing skills.

How long should a college application essay be? 

As for the length of the application essay, it should be noted that most of the colleges and universities ask for 500-word essays written on free topics. A classic five-paragraph essay form is a perfect choice to develop your essay. The first paragraph is an introduction that is followed by three paragraphs or the main body, and, of course, a conclusion.

Choose the Best College Application Essay Topic

Can you not make up a good college application essay topic? Below, you will find helpful tips, as well as good examples of application essay topics. So, whenever you are writing a college application essay or any other personal essay, you need to take some time to create an engaging and impressive topic. By selecting a random topic, you will not be able to engage your audience and reach the expected outcome. Pay attention that your topic makes the first impression on your reader, thus it should sound truly engaging and interesting.

The following list of application essay topics will help you boost your writing inspiration and understand how a good topic for your paper should look like.

  1. No one is protected from failures. Recall some challenges or obstacles you have faced. Describe how you managed to cope with these problems and what lessons you have learned;
  2. Who are you? (when writing such an essay, make sure to study the information from the college website to find out what kind of individual they are looking for);
  3. Write a story about the most significant personal achievement of your life. What makes this achievement so special?
  4. What motivates you to become a part of the educational environment in this college/university? Why do you think you are a good match?
  5. What personal skills helped you grow personally and professionally in recent years?
  6. What are your long-term goals? What are you going to do after graduation?
  7. Is there some topic you would like to discuss with the world community. What social problem is bothering you?
  8. From a career perspective, how do you see yourself in ten years?
  9. Have you ever failed to get what you wanted? What lessons did you take from this experience?
  10. Are there any experiences in your life when you acted like a leader?
  11. Did you ever have a moral dilemma? How did you manage to solve it?
  12. Discuss your learning philosophy? What helps you overcome the learning obstacles?
  13. Why do you want to enter this specific college or university?
  14. Are there any extracurricular activities suggested by the college you would like to participate in? Explain your choice.
  15. Write about the most breathtaking childhood memories. What role does the happy childhood play in the life of an individual?

Now, when you know the topic for your essay, let us draft it.

When the topic is chosen and the list of interesting ideas is completed, it`s time to start writing your essay. Like any other academic paper, an admission essay should contain a thesis statement that will summarize the overall message of your essay.

Have a good start. Keep in mind that in order to make your essay engaging and intriguing, you need to begin it with a hook that will engage your audience making your reader follow the rest of your essay. For example, if you are going to pursue a nursing career, you may start your essay by telling about your childhood experience when you recognized the importance of nursing. Also, you may include a joke or a quote of the nursing specialist, who inspired and motivated you. In other words, having a good start is a must if you want to grab your reader`s attention.

Write your essay in your own voice. Of course, before you start writing your application essay, you will study a lot of great samples written by other students. However, pay attention that copy-pasting the ideas and insights of other people, even if their essays are truly great, you will lose your identity and the application committee members will easily recognize that. Pay attention that in order to bring you the best outcome, your application essay should represent you, your experiences, your fears, and your aspirations.

Create an outline. Many students think that the outline is not needed when it comes to writing a short application essay. However, you need to understand that having an outline, you will have a clear map that will help you move through diverse ideas without skipping the most important from them.

Write a rough draft. When you are done with your preparation for writing an essay, you may start writing your first draft. Do not try to make it perfect at once as focusing on its mechanics, you may compromise the content of your essay. Make sure to keep your essay topic-focused. Of course, you may want to include some interesting details about your childhood or career search. However, if these details are not related to your topic, try to avoid using them. When you suggest some insights, make sure to support them with sound evidence. For instance, when saying that you are a good leader, you need to suggest some situations in which your leadership skills were represented in the best way.

Do not lie. If you believe that you can cheat on your readers including fake facts to introduce your personality from the best perspective, we assure you that it is a wrong strategy. The admission officers can recognize fake information easily and it will become a reason for your failure.

Use humor very attentively. Yes, making your reader laugh is a pretty good strategy. However, when working on your essay, make sure to assume that the officers may simply fail to understand your jokes if they are not quite appropriate. Therefore, we highly recommend you to ask your friend or parents to read your essay before submitting it and let you know if they find all the jokes appropriate.

Always stay positive. No doubt, your way to success could be very challenging. However, try to avoid complaining. Using a positive tone is always better than making your readers feel sorry for you. Making your essay sound positive, you will show that you are not one of those individuals ready to give up when facing some problem. On the contrary, you accept all the challenges and problems with gratitude turning them into the lessons necessary for your personal and professional growth. We assure you that all the colleges and universities are looking for goal-oriented and enthusiastic people ready to broaden the horizons.

Tie your essay with a strong ending. Pay attention that the conclusion of your admission essay is your last chance to make a good impression on the application essay committee members. So, you need to use this chance wisely. Finalize your essay with some thought-provoking quote or a short summary of your career goals or share some interesting ideas you have learned from your high school teacher. In other words, let your reader enjoy the last lines of your essay and you will definitely reach the expected outcome.

Edit your paper thoroughly. Even if you think that you did a good job when writing your application essay, you need to take some time to edit it. Polishing your paper and fixing all the mechanical flaws and logical fallacies, you will significantly increase your chances of getting the expected outcome. To edit your paper well, you need to have enough time for it. Ideally, you need to have some rest after the paper is written as it will help you look into it with fresh eyes. Also, we advise you to print out your document as it will allow you to find mistakes easier. Do not rely on the automatic checkers too much. We understand that reading your essay, again and again, may seem boring and you may want to avoid this process by using the automatic spell checkers. However, they do not guarantee successful results as they work in accordance with the simple algorithms. In other words, only manual editing of your work will help you polish your essay until perfection. When editing your admission essay, you should pay attention to not only typos or mechanical mistakes, but also your vocabulary, paragraph division, transitions, and many other important aspects.

How to End a College Application Essay?

So, if you want to impress your target audience by a truly professional approach, you need to know how to end a college application essay. Now, when you have learned a few secrets of successful application essay writing, it is time to understand how to finalize it. Undoubtedly, by wrapping up your essay properly, you will get a few additional points from the admission officers. Remember that your conclusion is not a separate part of your essay, but its integral element.

Therefore, it should be connected with both the introduction and the main body. A good conclusion for an admission essay should perform the following functions:

  • It should convince your readers that you are a perfect fit for a position chosen. After reading your essay, the admission officer should claim “Yes! This boy/girl is definitely our student!”
  • Try not to commit a common mistake finalizing your paper with the words “In conclusion” or “To summarize.” These phrases already became clichés affecting the overall impression of the essay. Your reader should understand that it is your concluding paragraphs without these obvious statements.
  • Remember that your conclusion should not introduce new information but should repeat the points mentioned above in a clearer way.

Let`s figure out common do`s and dont`s of application essay writing once again:

Do`s: Dont`s
Try to be yourself, self-effacing, genuine, positive, and enthusiastic; Leave writing your application essay at the last moment. Remember that such an essay is a great instrument for reaching your academic goals. Therefore, you need to have enough time for drafting, writing, and editing your admission essay;
Make your essay sound concise, clear, revealing, and amusing; Focus on your weaknesses. Yes, as well as any other person, you have them. However, you do not need to mention anything that may undermine your image;
Follow the prompt suggested on the college website; Answer the question you were never asked. Following the prompt directly your primary task. Even if you have more information to say, make sure to stick to the prompt skipping all the irrelevant details;
Present yourself from the best perspective. Try to focus on your strengths proving that you are a passionate, optimistic, ambitious, meticulous, and thoughtful leader. Your task is to prove that the educational institution you apply to will lose if they fail to accept your candidacy; Copy-paste from the ready-made examples of application essays. Yes, you may use these papers for boosting your writing talent but if you want to get good feedback from the admission committee members, your paper should be fully original and authentic;
Exhibit your skills and competencies including the information about the study programs you participated in; Present yourself as a shallow, rude, negative, or immature individual. None of the educational institutions accept such candidates;
Use the right vocabulary. Pay attention that by overburdening your essay with the sophisticated concepts, you will surely lose its meaning. Thus, your wording should be appropriate; Write unthoughtfully. Each idea you introduce in your paper should be well-thought and connected to another; Exceed the word limit;
Edit your essay properly before its submission.

Make up the facts only to impress your target audience;

Be late with the essay submission.

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