Grades, transcripts, and resumes are all necessary if you plan to apply to colleges and universities. But more than that, application essays play a key role as well.
Your college application essay is your view of the world and ambitions. It's not just a resume or list of everything that you have done. It needs to tell a story with passion, using personal, entertaining anecdotes that showcase your character, your interests, your values, your life experiences, and even your sense of humor.
Through your essay, the admission officers will have an an idea of who you are and how your experiences help you stand out from the thousands of applicants.
Writing your application essay to your dream school can be daunting- you have a lot of options for your topic, and at the same time your essay should make sense and be straight to the point. Try these tips to help you keep you organized while writing your application essay and shines in the competitive admission process.
Planning and preparing for your application essay is one of the hardest part. You have so many things you want to say but you know you can’t say them all. One of the ways to help you organize your thoughts is through brainstorming.
Having an idea on what the college or university wants is the first step. Once you’ve narrowed down what prompt you want to write about, start thinking about your experiences and personality traits that can relate to the specific prompt.
To help organize your thoughts, create an outline. A detailed outline will help you categorize your points and paragraphs for it to make sense. This is especially important for college application essays because you want to get straight to the point to immediately catch the admission officers’ attention.
Speaking of getting their attention, one way you can achieve this is by writing a strong first sentence or paragraph. In these types of essays, first impressions count. Your one goal is to make it interesting enough for them to read and be curious about your essay.
This is an important part of your essay because admission officers have read thousands of application essays, hence, getting their attention from the first sentence of your essay is a big plus. You may start with an interesting story or even a shocking statement. Just remember though, you still have to be honest and appropriate. And be sure to keep the admission officers interested all throughout the essay, not just in the beginning.
As mentioned earlier, college application essays are meant to showcase your personality to the admission officers. From your essay, they should know what personalities you have that make you unique from the rest of the college applicants.
In doing this, show your personality not just through your stories but through your writing style as well. Show, don't tell. Be creative as much as possible. If you want to add witty phrases and humor, do so appropriately. After all, you wouldn’t want to offend the admission officer reading your essay.
Apart from showing your personality, you should always remember to be specific and honest in your essay. Explain in detail why you want to go to that specific school, do not give out general and cliché statements. A lot of universities and colleges want to know that you’ve done your research, and they want to know what you can contribute to their community. If any, mention organizations or clubs you want to participate in and elaborate on why you want to do so.
In giving out specific details about yourself, remember to answer honestly - don’t write what you think what the admission officers want to know.
After you’ve organized your thoughts and written your essay, make sure you proofread before submitting it. There’s nothing more frustrating than reading a college application essay with wrong grammar, spelling and wrong use of punctuation.
If you want to be sure about your essay, ask other people to read, review and correct it. Do not rely on your computer's spell check to catch mistakes. After all, there’s no harm in asking for help from your teachers, parents, siblings, or friends.