The personal statement is the one window into your personality that admissions officers will see, so really get to the heart of your identity and narrative in whatever stories or anecdotes you select as your focus. By writing about this experience, Soumil was able to present some of his passions, playing cricket and travelling, and discussed these in a way that portrayed him as an understanding, compassionate, genuine, and empathetic person. Avoid the trap of resorting to quick cliches and generic statements and invest your time in writing a unique essay that lets your personality, values and past experiences stand out among the thousands of other applicants!
Describing an event concisely gives you a greater chance of writing in a unique way, as your experience is your own. However, you must try to avoid telling a story without reflection. Underpin your unique essay with a moral teaching or lesson learnt that highlights your wisdom and depth of character. Expand upon? These pieces rarely showcase who you are as an applicant. Brainstorm Get your creative juices flowing by brainstorming all the possible ideas you can think of to address your college essay question.
Believe it or not, the brainstorming stage may be more tedious than writing the actual application essay. The purpose is to flesh out all of your possible ideas so when you begin writing, you know and understand where you are going with the topic. You have years to draw from, so set aside time to mentally collect relevant experiences or events that serve as strong, specific examples. This is also time for self-reflection. Narrow down the options. Choose three concepts you think fit the college application essay prompt best and weigh the potential of each.
Which idea can you develop further and not lose the reader? Which captures more of who you really are? Choose your story to tell. You should have enough supporting details to rely on this as an excellent demonstration of your abilities, achievements, perseverance, or beliefs. Architects use a blue print. A webpage is comprised of code. Cooks rely on recipes.
What do they have in common? They have a plan. The rules for writing a good essay are no different. Create an outline that breaks down the essay into sections. All good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Shape your story so that it has an introduction, body, and conclusion. Following this natural progression will make your essay coherent and easy to read. How are you going to open your essay?
With an anecdote? A question? Use of humor? Try to identify what the tone of your essay is going to be based on your ideas. Stick to your writing style and voice. Put the words in your own voice. Your admissions essay should go through several stages of revision.
Ask your parents, teachers, high school counselors or friends for their eyes and edits. It should be people who know you best and want you to succeed. Take their constructive criticism in the spirit for which they intend—your benefit. Write about things you care about. The most obvious things make great topics. What do I mean? Colleges want to learn about who you are, what you value and how you will contribute to their community.
I had two students write about their vehicles—one wrote about the experience of purchasing their used truck and one wrote about how her car is an extension of who she is.
We learned about their responsibility, creative thinking, teamwork and resilience in a fun and entertaining way. Don't tell them a story you think they want, tell them what YOU want. Of course you want it to be a good read and stay on topic, but this is about showing admissions who you are. You don't want to get caught up in thinking too much about what they are expecting.
Focus your thoughts on yourself and what you want to share. This college essay tip is by Ashley McNaughton, Bucknell University graduate and founder of ACM College Consulting , consults on applicants internationally and volunteers with high achieving, low income students through ScholarMatch.
Be yourself. A sneaky thing can happen as you set about writing your essay: you may find yourself guessing what a college admissions committee is looking for and writing to meet that made up criteria rather than standing firm in who you are and sharing your truest self.
While you want to share your thoughts in the best possible light edit please! Show your depth. Be honest about what matters to you. Be thoughtful about the experiences you've had that have shaped who you've become. Be your brilliant self. And trust that your perfect-fit college will see you for who truly you are and say "Yes!
This is exactly who we've been looking for. Admission officers can spot parent content immediately. The quickest way for a student to be denied admission is to allow a parent to write or edit with their own words. Parents can advise, encourage, and offer a second set of eyes, but they should never add their own words to a student's essay. This college essay tip is by Suzanne Shaffer is a college prep expert, blogger, and author who manages the website Parenting for College.
Don't just write about your resume, recommendations, and high school transcripts. Admissions officers want to know about you, your personality and emotions. For example, let them know what hobbies, interests, or passions you have. Do you excel in athletics or art?
Let them know why you excel in those areas. It's so important to just be yourself and write in a manner that lets your personality shine through. This college essay tip is by College Basic Team.
Find a way to showcase yourself without bragging. Being confident is key, but you don't want to come across as boasting. Next, let them know how college will help you achieve your long-term goals. Help them connect the dots and let them know you are there for a reason. This will not only help you stand out from other applicants, but it will also prepare you for the college interview ahead of time as well. Be real. As a former college admissions officer, I read thousands of essays—good and bad.
The essays that made the best impressions on me were the essays that were real. The students did not use fluff, big words, or try to write an essay they thought admission decisions makers wanted to read.
The essays that impressed me the most were not academic essays, but personal statements that allowed me to get to know the reader. I was always more likely to admit or advocate for a student who was real and allowed me to get to know them in their essay. Skip the moral-of-the-story conclusions, too. Warm-up strategy: Read the first two sentences and last two sentences in a few of your favorite novels.
Did you spot any throat-clearing or moral-of-the-story endings? Probably not! Don't read the Common Application prompts. If you already have, erase them from memory and write the story you want colleges to hear.
The truth is, admission reviewers rarely know—or care—which prompt you are responding to. They are curious to discover what you choose to show them about who you are, what you value, and why. Even the most fluid writers are often stifled by fitting their narrative neatly into a category and the essay quickly loses authentic voice. Write freely and choose a prompt later.
Spoiler alert It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. This college essay tip is by Brennan Barnard, director of college counseling at the Derryfield School in Manchester, N. Proofread, proofread, proofread. After you're done writing, read your essay, re-read it a little later, and have someone else read it too, like a teacher or friend—they may find typos that your eyes were just too tired to see.
Colleges are looking for students who can express their thoughts clearly and accurately, and polishing your essay shows that you care about producing high-quality, college-level work. Plus, multiple errors could lower your chances of admission. So take the extra time and edit! Take the pressure off and try free-writing to limber up. If you are having trouble coming up with what it is you want to convey or finding the perfect story to convey who you are, use prompts such as: Share one thing that you wish people knew about you.
What have you enjoyed about high school? I suggest handwriting versus typing on a keyboard for 20 minutes. Don't worry about making it perfect, and don't worry about what you are going to write about. Think about getting yourself into a meditative state for 20 minutes and just write from the heart. To get myself in a meditative state, I spend 60 seconds set an alarm drawing a spiral.
Never let the pen come off the page, and just keep drawing around and around until the alarm goes off. Then, start writing. It might feel you didn't write anything worthwhile, but my experience is that there is usually a diamond in the rough in there Do this exercise for days straight, then read out loud what you have written to a trusted source a parent?
Don't expect a masterpiece from this exercise though stranger things have happened. The goal is to discover the kernel of any idea that can blossom into your college essay—a story that will convey your message, or clarity about what message you want to convey. Show your emotions. Adding feelings to your essays can be much more powerful than just listing your achievements. It allows reviewers to connect with you and understand your personality and what drives you.
In particular, be open to showing vulnerability. Nobody expects you to be perfect and acknowledging times in which you have felt nervous or scared shows maturity and self-awareness. This college essay tip is by Charles Maynard, Oxford and Stanford University Graduate and founder of Going Merry , which is a one-stop shop for applying to college scholarships Be genuine and authentic. Your essay should be a true representation of who you are as a person—admissions officers want to read essays that are meaningful, thoughtful, and consistent with the rest of the application.
Essays that come from the heart are the easiest to write and the best written. Have a teacher or counselor, not just your smartest friend, review and edit your essays.
This college essay tip is by Jonathan April, University of Chicago graduate, general manager of College Greenlight , which offers free tools to low-income and first-generation students developing their college lists. Note how the writer incorporates a wide range of details and images through one particular lens: a scrapbook.
Prompt: Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations. The layouts of the pages are already imprinted in my mind, so I simply draw them on scratch paper. Now I can really begin.
As you are writing your essay, ask yourself: Is there a specific instance or example that shows this? How did it affect or change you? In other words, when all else is equal between competing applicants, a compelling essay can make the difference. Most people accommodate. The end result should be a carefully designed, insightful essay that makes you proud.
As a former college admissions officer, I read thousands of essays—good and bad. There is my college diploma with the major listed as International Relations; however, the name of the school is obscure. There is nothing better than that. Try to tie your account into how this has made you develop as a person, friend, family member or leader or any role in your life that is important to you.
Try to only include the information that is absolutely necessary. Tip 2: Determine Your Essay Goals Along with the three questions above, you should contemplate how you want the admissions officers to perceive you. We surveyed the application criteria at 20 of the most selective schools in the annual rankings of U.
Let them know why you excel in those areas. How will your essay convey your background and what makes you unique?
Use humor if appropriate. Surely graduate study should be about learning to participate fully in a discipline.
Half the words and retains the meaning. Since then, I have wanted to be a librarian. This will not only help you stand out from other applicants, but it will also prepare you for the college interview ahead of time as well. Then go back and revise, revise, revise. Many institutions now ask applicants to sign a statement avowing that the essay submitted is their own work.
This may sound a bit silly, but when reading in sequential order, your brain has a tendency to piece together missing information, or fill in the blanks, for you.
Every school has their own system for how and when to file your application. These pieces rarely showcase who you are as an applicant. Note that it's all "show. I then paste it onto a polka-dotted green paper with a glue stick. Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions officer: Is the essay interesting? Some of my best days were spent arranging and reading her books.
To me, personal stuff is the information you usually keep to yourself, or your closest friends and family. Which captures more of who you really are? All good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end.