Here's the thing: your college application essay needs to breathe life into your application. It should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school activities. But that’s not nearly as scary as it seems, because you get to choose what to share and how to share it.
Take a minute and think about the college or university admission officers who will be reading your essay. How will your essay convey your background and what makes you unique? If you had the opportunity to stand in front of an admission committee to share a significant story or important information about yourself, what would you say? The college application essay is your chance to share your personality, goals, influences, challenges, triumphs, life experiences, or lessons learned. Not to mention why you're a good fit for the college or university—and why it's a good fit for you. These are the stories behind the list of activities and leadership roles on your application.
Activity | Explain to students that they will now start developing personal essays for their college application packages, by evaluating and then capitalizing on advice on how to write effective essays.
Feedback from our professional writers will help you to transform or lightly refinish your existing essay.
Students find it helpful to have our editors analyze and critique their existing essays.
You should never write a one-size-fits-all essay if you’re applying to multiple programs and schools. Even if the topics are similar, you still want to tailor your writing so that each university your applying to feels like you’re writing it for them. For instance, you might take a different approach for a small Christian university like as opposed to a large, urban public institution like or a more specialized program like at the .
When students are finished drafting their essays, ask them to bring in their drafts for peer review. Use your favorite method or one of the options presented in our lesson , including using the (PDF). You might also suggest that students seek feedback from their school college counselor.
In their discussions, ask students to narrow possible topics for essays to three they think will help a college admissions committee “understand why [they] want the applicant.”
You have worked so hard up until this point, and while you might be relieved, remember: your essay is only as good as your editing. A single grammatical error or typo could indicate carelessness—not a trait you want to convey to a college admission officer.
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!
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. After you brainstorm, you’ll know what you want to say, but you must decide how you’re going to say it. Create an outline that breaks down the essay into sections.
Get your creative juices flowing by brainstorming all the possible ideas you can think of to address your college essay question.
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But first, they have to choose a topic. As one parent contributor to The Choice , crafting an essay is really a foray into memoir writing. And while all of the advice they have gathered is useful, the question of what to write about remains.
Tell each student to choose one piece of advice they found most compelling and to craft a college essay that puts this suggestion into practice. They might, for example, take a risk, as Dave Marcus suggested, or as one reader advised.
Ask: What advice here seems most useful? Despite all of this advice, what don’t you know about writing college essays? What role does the reader play in determining what works and what doesn’t? How can you account for individual, unknown readers as you write?