A well-written college essay could be the difference between acceptance into one’s dream college and being washed away with the crowd. Essays should display and support clear ideas with reasonable arguments.
Students should be aware of the typical three types of college essay questions: the “you” question, the “why us” question, and the “creative” question. In answering these questions, applicants should not only have a well composed essay, but should let admission officers see a part of their personality.
The “you” question is an open-ended question that allows the opportunity to show colleges the most redeeming qualities of the applicant’s personality. The “why us” question can be used to elaborate on personal goals and why the school is a match for those goals. The “creative” question generally asks to discuss an issue and find unique solutions for it.
Students need to take into consideration a topic that will highlight a section of their life not shown by high school records. It is important to keep the essay from covering too many aspects of one’s life because the essay will sound like a summary of a résumé.
Beginning an essay can be the most difficult part. Brainstorming different personality traits and identifying personal strengths is an ideal starting point. Students must find a main idea and follow it throughout the essay.
An essay should never be written and turned in immediately. Beginning with a draft, one should identify the voice of the essay, allowing ideas to flow without worrying about editing until later.
The first draft should include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Students should develop each part of the essay with examples and explanations for the main idea.
It is important to tie personal experiences back to the question. In order to make admission officers understand and relate to the essays submitted, applicants can describe real-life events that summarize what compels them to be involved and what inspires passion in them. Therefore commonly used phrases such as “There are so many people suffering that I feel I have to help those in need” can be avoided.
College essays should not contain exaggerations nor dishonest writing. The essay must be authentic and must reflect truthfully on the writer. Students should remove the temptation to write about they think what the admission officers would want to read.
Once the drafts are written, proofreading can improve the essay. Proofreading is important because spell-check and grammar softwares look over certain mistakes. Asking a trusted teacher or family member to read one’s essay is best; they can help check for mistakes and say whether or not the essay has a unique voice.