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College Essay Writing Tips – Make That Admissions Essay Rock

September 03, 2015 - Posted toHow to: Essay writing tips

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College Essay Writing Tips

Students tend to have two reactions when they realize that they have to write an essay as a part of their college application process:

  1. They rather “blow it off” thinking that it really is not that important. In these cases, students will slap anything together to get that application in, thinking that the really important things are GPA, clubs, other activities and ACT/SAT scores.
  2. They become nervous wrecks, trying to figure out how they can write an essay that will make them stand out above everyone else.

Both of these reactions can spell disaster. College entrance essays are really important, so students in category #1 are fooling themselves if they think they can just “slap anything together.” Students in category #2 will have to calm down and realize that they have plenty of time and that there are college essay writing tips right here that will help them craft an essay that will be memorable.

The Right Strategy for Crafting a Great Essay

Writing that college admissions essay should begin long before anything is typed onto a computer screen. Here is the step-by-step process that will guarantee you have a worthy piece of writing to submit.

  1. You will have prompts. These are short descriptions of what you might use as a topic for your essay. And you will have options. Whether you are using the “Common Application” or whether the college to which you are applying has its own prompts, you will always have options. The first step to writing the perfect essay is to choose the right prompt. Usually the options will address the following:
  1. You may be asked to recall an event in your life that really changed you in some way or that impacted the rest of your life in some way. This might be the death of a family member, a time when your family went through a terrible crisis, etc. If you have such an event, this might be a good topic.
  2. You may be asked to identify your biggest hero and to explain why that person is a hero to you.
  3. You may be asked to explain how your ethnic or cultural background or socioeconomic status has impacted your life and your values.
  4. You may be asked to identify your personal and career goals and explain how a college education will help you achieve them.

One of the most important tips for writing a college application essay is to choose the right prompt. Read each prompt, make sure you understand it, and then choose one about which you have plenty to say.

  1. Now you need to start brainstorming. This process should really occur a period of time, not in one day, because you need to have time to mentally process the prompt and to think of all the things that might relate. If you do this too quickly, you may leave out something that would be really perfect to include.
  2. Get an outline together that puts your body paragraphs in order. You should consolidate all of your brainstormed ideas into 3-4 sub-topics. Your essay should not be longer than 6 paragraphs, counting the introduction and conclusion.
  3. Write those body paragraphs – just leave them in rough form for the time being
  4. Spend a lot of time on your introduction. Your first sentence is the most important one of the entire essay – if you can’t think of a great hook or some anecdote, then get someone who is creative to help you.
  5. You conclusion should tie back to your introduction. Why was it important to write what you wrote? How are you changed? How are you more focused?
  6. Obviously, edit this rough draft, maybe many times, and get someone else to read and edit it too. It really has to be perfect!

Not Sure How to Write a College Application Essay?

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