Many colleges include an essay (or multiple essays) in their application for admission. Your college essay is very important.
Your Grade Point Average, Strength of Schedule, and ACT/SAT test scores are most important to the college admission process, but if you have similar academic accomplishments as another applicant, your essay can make or break your chances of being accepted. Or, if you are on the bubble of being accepted, your essay can be the deciding factor. Therefore, please take the process seriously.
The college essay allows admission officers to get to know who you are, beyond your GPA and test scores. This is your chance to show your personality, what makes you tick, how you think, and what you truly care about.
Your essay also allows the college to see how well you can write, and how well you can express your ideas.
There are 3 common types of Colleges Essays
1. Personal Statement
2. Why do you want to attend (Name of College)
3. Discuss an issue
College Essay Writing Tips
Write about something that is meaningful to you, a topic that you are passionate about, something that you love to talk about, or something/someone that is important to you. Write about a topic that you absolutely love. It will make the process so much easier.
Brainstorming can be helpful before you start your first draft. Write down your ideas whenever and wherever they come to you. Add, subtract, and edit your ideas until you feel strongly about a topic. Your essay should ONLY be about one topic, or at the most, two topics.
Make sure the topic you are writing about is not covered previously in your application. You do not want to be redundant.
Be 100% honest and do not embellish. Who you are is good enough. There is no need write what you think the admission officer wants to read. You are impressive exactly as you are.
Write the essay as you would normally talk. Use the vocabulary that you use on an everyday basis. Sounding “smart” is not going to impress an admission officer.
Write your essay yourself…do not allow your parent(s) or any other person to write your essay. Admission officers read thousands of essays…they can tell the difference between your writing and an adults’ writing.
It’s a good idea to have a teacher or counselor look at your essay. Take into consideration their feedback about the content of your essay, but remember it is you applying to college, so ultimately it is up to you what goes into your essay. Please make sure you keep your essay authentically yours.
It’s important to have an English teacher proofread your essay. They should check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, typos, and formatting mistakes. This is a critical step. Any errors in your essay can be detrimental.
The length of your essay should be about 1 page, single spaced. Approximately 250 to 500 words are sufficient, unless otherwise specified on the application. College admission officers have to a lot of reading to do each year, so no need to go on and on. Be concise…they will appreciate it.
If a college asks a specific essay question, answer that specific question. Do not cut and paste an essay you have already written for another college application. There are no shortcuts when it comes to your college essays.
Start the writing process early. Do not wait until the last minute to write your essay. As a junior, look at the applications of the colleges you are interested in applying to. Look to see what essay questions they ask. Doing so will give you ample time to think about how you want to answer the essay question.