Show instead of telling When selecting anecdotes for your essay, pick vivid ones that you can tell succinctly. 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? Can you substitute an advanced vocabulary word for a phrase? Writing concisely expresses to the admissions officers that can organize your thoughts and that you respect their time. 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. Write the essay Once you are satisfied with your essay in outline format, begin writing! By now you know exactly what you will write about and how you want to tell the story.
So hop on a computer and get to it. Try to just let yourself bang out a rough draft without going back to change anything. Then go back and revise, revise, revise. Before you know it, you will have told the story you outlined—and reached the necessary word count—and you will be happy you spent all that time preparing!
Start with your main idea, and follow it from beginning to end. Be specific. Be yourself. Bring something new to the table, not just what you think they want to hear. However, you must demonstrate that you can read and follow directions. Think of that great pile of applications. The admissions officers are looking for a reason to disregard candidates.
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.
For this reason, you should ask a friend or a relative or an English teacher to look over your essay and check your: Grammar: did you write in complete sentences? Do all your subjects and verbs agree? Diction: are all the words used properly for an American audience?
Essays that come from the heart are the easiest to write and the best written. The students did not use fluff, big words, or try to write an essay they thought admission decisions makers wanted to read. Be your brilliant self. 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 It was a macabre little composition, but it was about exactly what was on my mind at the time I was writing it. In the second, yes, we know you like fishing but we also understand your commitment to an activity you engaged in every day and recognize that your fishing trips are a social effort.
I actually use voice memos in my car when I have a really profound thought or a to do list I need to record , so find your happy place and start recording. Expand upon? They want students who will: Succeed once they are admitted; Contribute to the educational experience of other students; and, Bring honor and prestige to the university once they graduate. No one's idea of a good time is writing a college essay, I know. It could be index cards. Do you think she likes her brother?
However, selective colleges receive applications from many worthy students with similar scores and grades—too many to admit.
Organization: have you grouped sentences together coherently? Do this exercise for days straight, then read out loud what you have written to a trusted source a parent? Looking for more college application essay help? It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. Warmth, closeness. 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.
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. It is almost always better to think small first. My favorite activities included fishing and cooking my daily catch. Define, Describe, Dare. Half the words and retains the meaning. This college essay tip is by Brennan Barnard, director of college counseling at the Derryfield School in Manchester, N.
A good writing plan can streamline or even eliminate the need to do any significant rewrites. Have a teacher or counselor, not just your smartest friend, review and edit your essays. How can I contribute positively to the educational experience of other students? A webpage is comprised of code. Take a few moments to consider what else you may contribute. This college essay tip is by Dean J, admissions officer and blogger from University of Virginia.
Next, leave the prompt for a while and then return to it. Read them again. A student who can make an admissions officer laugh never gets lost in the shuffle. Parents can advise, encourage, and offer a second set of eyes, but they should never add their own words to a student's essay.
Crafting an Unforgettable College Essay Most selective colleges require you to submit an essay or personal statement as part of your application. Have at least one other person edit your essay. What do you think they want to know? The part that is about you is the most important part. Warm-up strategy: Read the first two sentences and last two sentences in a few of your favorite novels.