Remember that the admissions officers are more interested in your perspective of what happened than the events themselves. They want to get to know you, and the essay is your first introduction. Show them through strong examples. Know your vocab Your admissions essay should reflect command of college-level vocabulary. One of the most common mistakes that we see in essays is using advanced vocabulary almost correctly. Even among synonyms, there are shades of meaning.
Will it still fit into your sentence? Avoid overdoing it. Essays that are riddled with advanced vocabulary can seem pompous or even inadvertently comical to the reader. Write succinctly Can you say what you need to say in fewer words? 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. Cutting the first photograph, I make sure to leave a quarter inch border. I then paste it onto a polka-dotted green paper with a glue stick. For a sophisticated touch, I use needle and thread to sew the papers together.
Loads of snipping and pasting later, the clock reads three in the morning. I look down at the final product, a full spread of photographs and cut-out shapes. As usual, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride as I brush my fingers over the crisp papers and the glossy photographs. For me, the act of taking pieces of my life and putting them together on a page is my way of organizing remnants of my past to make something whole and complete. This particular project is the most valuable scrapbook I have ever made: the scrapbook of my life.
The entire left side I have dedicated to the people in my life. All four of my Korean grandparents sit in the top corner; they are side by side on a sofa for my first birthday —my ddol. Meanwhile, my Texas cousins watch Daniel, the youngest, throw autumn leaves into the air that someone had spent hours raking up.
To the right, my school peers and I miserably pose for our history teacher who could not resist taking a picture when he saw our droopy faces the morning of our first AP exam. I move over to the right side of the page. At the top, I have neatly sewn on three items.
The first is a page of a Cambodian Bible that was given to each of the soldiers at a military base where I taught English. Beneath it is the picture of my Guatemalan girls and me sitting on the dirt ground while we devour arroz con pollo, red sauce slobbered all over our lips. I reread the third item, a short note that a student at a rural elementary school in Korea had struggled to write in her broken English.
I lightly touch the little chain with a dangling letter E included with the note. Moving to the lower portion of the page, I see the photo of the shelf with all my ceramic projects glazed in vibrant hues. With great pride, I have added a clipping of my page from the Mirror, our school newspaper, next to the ticket stubs for Wicked from my date with Dad.
I make sure to include a photo of my first scrapbook page of the visit to Hearst Castle in fifth grade. Unlike the previous one, this page is not cluttered or crowded. There is my college diploma with the major listed as International Relations; however, the name of the school is obscure.
The remainder of the page is a series of frames and borders with simple captions underneath. Without the photographs, the descriptions are cryptic. For now, that second page is incomplete because I have no precise itinerary for my future. The red flags on the map represent the places I will travel to, possibly to teach English like I did in Cambodia or to do charity work with children like I did in Guatemala.
As for the empty frames, I hope to fill them with the people I will meet: a family of my own and the families I desire to help, through a career I have yet to decide. Until I am able to do all that, I can prepare. It reads like the opening to a movie. She keeps clothes for a long time; she likes to be comfortable.
What does "Levi's" suggest? She's not obsessed with neatness. What do these details tell us? Family is really important to her. Fireplace: What does a fireplace connote? Warmth, closeness. My brother's hot cocoa: Why hot cocoa? Again, warmth. How is the fact that her brother made it change the image? It implies that her brother is engaged in the family activity.
On the other hand, the prompt is designed to give you some freedom for creativity, which will allow you to work in those three or four key ideas that you have developed through tips 1 through 4.
You are encouraged to find novel ways of answering the prompt, so long as you do indeed answer the questions provided. If you need more help choosing a topic , you can find some tips on our Choosing a Topic for Your College Essay page.
Section 2: Writing Your Essay At this stage in the college admissions essay writing process, you have considered the goals and psychology of the college admissions board. Now it is time to actually write the essay. Tip 6: Write with Specific Details The key to excellent and memorable writing is to write in fine detail.
The more specific your essay, the stronger an impression it will make on the admissions board. Despite having a degree fever and being required to stay in bed, I still completed my draft speech on the possible impacts of global warming on agriculture.
As you are writing your essay, ask yourself: Is there a specific instance or example that shows this? Can I add imagery colors, shapes to make it more interesting? The admissions officers are expecting you to celebrate yourself, to underline your strengths and personality, so they can make a quick, accurate judgment about you.
Tip 7: Demonstrate College-Level Diction Diction word choice is the fundamental structure of writing. Your word choice reveals a great deal about your personality, education and intellect. Furthermore, as an international student, you want to reassure the college admissions board that you have an excellent command of the English language remember: they want you to succeed; they need to know that you can actively participate in English-only instruction.
With this in mind, you should replace lower-level words bad, sad, thing, nice, chance with higher-level words appalling, despondent, phenomena, comforting, opportunity. You should also remove any slang or casual diction; the university is not interested in casual language in their admissions essays. In this instance, you want to show that you already have college-level writing skills. So, in writing your college application essays, you should write with the following features in mind: Write primarily in complex sentences, rather than simple or compound sentences; Include figurative language such as a metaphor, a simile, personification; and Include a trope or scheme, such as chiasmus, oxymoron or anaphora.
As with tip 7 , this serves two functions: 1 it distinguishes your essay from those that are poorly written; and 2 it reassures the admissions board of your excellent command of written English. It may sound like a chore, and it will certainly take a substantial amount of work.
But it's also a unique opportunity that can make a difference at decision time. Admissions committees put the most weight on your high school grades and your test scores.
However, selective colleges receive applications from many worthy students with similar scores and grades—too many to admit. Telling Your Story to Colleges So what does set you apart? You have a unique background, interests and personality.
This is your chance to tell your story or at least part of it. The best way to tell your story is to write a personal, thoughtful essay about something that has meaning for you.
Be honest and genuine, and your unique qualities will shine through. Admissions officers have to read an unbelievable number of college essays, most of which are forgettable.This is a legitimate concern as you will likely compete with numerous applicants who have backgrounds similar to yours. Therefore, follow these tips to ensure that your essay shines in the competitive admissions process. Analyze the prompt thoroughly Take three minutes to think about the prompt. If needed, divide the prompt into phrases and look at each aspect. Why would the admissions officers ask this prompt? What do you think they want to know?
You should take some time to think about what else makes you different from most the other hundreds of students writing college admissions essays. Fireplace: What does a fireplace connote? While you want to share your thoughts in the best possible light edit please!
If you find yourself trying to pack a lot into one sentence, just use two. I read a great essay this year where an applicant walked me through the steps of meditation and how your body responds to it. The remainder of the page is a series of frames and borders with simple captions underneath. A good writing plan can streamline or even eliminate the need to do any significant rewrites. Ask your parents, teachers, high school counselors or friends for their eyes and edits. Being confident is key, but you don't want to come across as boasting.
In your college admissions essay, you want to portray yourself as a student who will meet those needs. It's so important to just be yourself and write in a manner that lets your personality shine through. We need to trust that this is going to be worth our time.
If you are choosing the Division of General Studies, tells us about your passions, your career goals, or the different paths you are interested in exploring. Use your essays to empower your chances of acceptance, merit money, and scholarships. The more specific your essay, the stronger an impression it will make on the admissions board. On the other hand, if you're writing about something you love, something that excites you, something that you've thought deeply about, chances are I'm going to set down your application feeling excited, too—and feeling like I've gotten to know you.
Do not feel pressure to share every detail of challenging experiences, but also do not feel that you need to have a happy ending or solution. But if sitting down to write your essay feels like a chore, and you're bored by what you're saying, you can imagine how the person reading your essay will feel. We caution against one-liners, limericks and anything off—color. As you work and rework the essay, pay attention to the admission deadlines and requirements. Remember that the admissions officers are more interested in your perspective of what happened than the events themselves.
You don't want to get caught up in thinking too much about what they are expecting. If you are choosing the Division of General Studies, tells us about your passions, your career goals, or the different paths you are interested in exploring. Have fun. Some aspects to consider: Have I worked at an interesting or relevant job?
So application essays are a unique way for applicants to share, reflect, and connect their values and goals with colleges. A weak lede will have your reader thinking "reject"—a mindset from which it's nearly impossible to recover. I suggest handwriting versus typing on a keyboard for 20 minutes. 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. The majority of the essay should be about your response and reaction to the work. Nobody expects you to be perfect and acknowledging times in which you have felt nervous or scared shows maturity and self-awareness.