It's also difficult to get right. When you are asked to write about your accomplishments, those words on how great you are can make you sound like a braggart. Be careful to balance your pride in your achievements with humility and generosity towards others.
You also want to avoid sounding like a whiner -- use your essay to show off your skills, not to explain the injustices that lead to your low math score or failure to graduate 1 in your class. Reveal Your Character Along with the essay, most colleges rate "character and personal qualities" as extremely important in their admissions decisions. Your character shows up in three places on the application: the interview if you have one , your involvement in extracurricular activities , and your essay.
Of the three, the essay is the most immediate and illuminating to the admissions folks as they read through thousands of applications. I'll never know if I got in because of that weird essay or in spite of it, but it remains a point of pride that I did it my way.
This college essay tip is by Mike McClenathan, founder of PwnTestPrep , which has a funny name but serious resources for helping high school students excel on the standardized tests. Revise often and early. 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.
Updated September 20, You may have an amazing story to tell for your college application essay, but your writing is going to fall flat if it doesn't use an engaging and effective style.
Image by Allen Grove Wordiness is by far the most common stylistic error in college admissions essays. In most cases, students could cut one-third of an essay, lose no meaningful content, and make the piece much more engaging and effective. Wordiness comes in many forms with many different names—deadwood, repetition, redundancy, BS, filler, fluff—but whatever the type, those extraneous words have no place in a winning college admissions essay.
Example of Cutting Wordiness Consider this brief example: I have to admit that theater did not come naturally to me, and I remember that I felt remarkably self-conscious and nervous the first few times I set foot on the stage.
The near repetition of the phrase "the first times I set foot on the stage" saps the passage of energy and forward momentum. The essay spins in place rather than taking the reader on a journey. Revised Version Consider how much tighter and more engaging the passage is without all the unnecessary language: Theater did not come naturally to me, and I felt remarkably self-conscious and nervous the first few times I set foot on stage in the eighth grade.
My best friend had talked me into auditioning for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Not only is the revised passage much more effective, but the author has cut 25 words.
This may prove important as the writer tries to tell a meaningful story within the application essay length limits. Image by Allen Grove Watch out for vague and imprecise language in your college application essay. If you find that your essay is filled with words like "stuff" and "things" and "aspects" and "society," you may also find that your application ends up in the rejection pile.
Vague language can be removed easily by identifying what exactly you mean by "things" or "society. When you mention "things" or "aspects," be precise—what exact things or aspects?
Example of Imprecise Language Although short, the follow passage is far from precise: I like lots of things about basketball. For one, the activity allows me to develop abilities that will help me in future endeavors. What endeavors? What abilities? What things? Also, the writer could be much more precise than "activity.
Revised Version Consider the greater clarity of this revised version of the passage: Not only do I find basketball fun, but the sport has helped me develop my leadership and communication skills, as well as my ability to work with a team. As a result, my love of basketball will make me a better business major.
Instead, they diminish the essay's message and reveal the author's lack of creativity. If given a responsibility, he never falls asleep at the wheel. Who others fail, he is not one to make a mountain out of a molehill. To make a long story short, throughout high school I have tried to emulate my brother, and I credit him with many of my own successes. Don't just recount—reflect! Anyone can write about how they won the big game or the summer they spent in Rome.
When recalling these events, you need to give more than the play-by-play or itinerary. Describe what you learned from the experience and how it changed you.
Being funny is tough. A student who can make an admissions officer laugh never gets lost in the shuffle. But beware. What you think is funny and what an adult working in a college thinks is funny are probably different. If you later realize that you misread the prompt, you might need to start the writing process from scratch.
This is another step that can initially seem completely skippable, but organizing your writing can save you considerable stress and frustration. A good writing plan can streamline or even eliminate the need to do any significant rewrites. Brainstorm your anecdotes. Create a rough outline, including approximately how long each paragraph needs to be in order to complete the essay within the word count limits. A paragraph a day? The whole thing next weekend?
Creating a schedule, even if you need to modify it later, gets your brain in motion.Allen Grove is an Alfred University English professor and a college admissions expert with winning years tips experience helping students transition to college. Good April college, Nearly all colleges rate application essays tips either important college very important in their admissions process. A poorly restaurant sales cover letter essay essays cause a stellar student to get rejected. On the flip essays, exceptional application essays can help students with marginal scores winning into the schools of good dreams.
Some students spend a lot of time summarizing plot or describing their work and the "in what way" part of the essay winds up being one sentence. Probably not! This college essay tip is by Dean J, admissions officer and blogger from University of Virginia.
No repeats. For now, that second page is incomplete because I have no precise itinerary for my future. The resulting sentence will be more wordy and less engaging than it would be if written with a meaningful subject and verb. Be specific.
Look at the last sentence of the second paragraph bolded below : Cutting the first photograph, I make sure to leave a quarter inch border. The lightning may be performing the action striking , but the tree is the sentence's focus. Phrases such as "it seems" produce a similarly uninspiring function in a sentence.
My own successes in high school are due largely to my brother's example. The writer's mention of "other jobs" does not enhance his point about Burger King. You don't need to have started your own business or have spent the summer hiking the Appalachian Trail. 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. Write like you speak. Define, Describe, Dare.
Grades and standardized test scores will be part of the admissions equation, but the college wants to know what it is that makes you uniquely you. I won't receive credit for our win, but I did pass the ball to my teammate who kicked the ball into the narrow space between the goalie's hands and the upper corner of the goal post.
Weirdly, including painful memories and what you learned from them!
Remember, this essay is about YOU. Use vivid imagery. Even a few errors, however, can be a strike against you. Some students spend a lot of time summarizing plot or describing their work and the "in what way" part of the essay winds up being one sentence.
To identify passive voice, you need to map out a sentence and identify the subject, verb, and object. Find a way to showcase yourself without bragging. My parents have photos of me crawling around as a baby pushing a ball with my head.
For example, let them know what hobbies, interests, or passions you have.