An excellent college essay informs admissions councils about exactly what a student will do with their college education. In many cases, it could set the student apart and garner notice as the admission process continues, granting the student a better chance at enrollement—and possibly scholarships and financial aid.
Goals of the essay:
- To give the readers a better understanding of who you are, beyond your transcript, test scores and list of activities,
- To show the depth of interest and passion you may have in a certain area,
- To explain something significant about yourself that the readers wouldn’t otherwise know,
- To show your reader that you can think logically and analytically, and
- To set yourself apart from the many other applicants who will apply with equally good academic records, scores and recommendations.
Things you absolutely should do:
- Comply with the requests of the application (essay length, format, topic).
- Type your essay.
- Double space your essay (easier to read.)
- Answer the question that was asked.
- Send the correct essay in with the correct application.
- Write your own essay.
Things to Remember:
- This is the portion of your application that is totally under your control.
- Your personality and character should be reflected in your essa.y
- What makes you special may not seem profound, but it will be meaningful and authentic.
Be sure to…
- Choose an appropriate topic.
- Remember your audience.
- Choose something real to write about, something you feel strongly about and are knowledgeable about.
- Make sure your essay sounds like you; write in your own voice.
- Proofread; do not rely on your spell-check to catch errors of syntax, homonyms and simply making sense.
- Have someone else proofread your essay, such as a teacher or parent.
- Listen to someone read your essay aloud. How does it sound to you?
- Focus on the chosen topic.
- Reflect enough on what you have to say so that you exhibit some depth.
- Feel free to be challenging or funny if that is who you truly are.
- If focusing on another person and his/her life, make sure that you indicate in detail and in a reflective way how that person has influenced your life.
- If you choose to focus on a life event from your childhood, make sure that it has relevance to who you are now; make the connection for your reader as to how and why this past event may have been a “turning point” for you.
What might you do to get started?
- Stop stressing out and just get started by writing something.
- Remember that there is no one formula for a successful essay.
- Identify your interests and passions.
- Identify your strengths.
- Be yourself.
- Spend some time writing spontaneously or journaling on a variety of topics:
- · My mother/father says that I always …
· My best friend would say that I …
· Write an introduction of yourself to your future college roommate.
· List as many adjectives as you can think of that describe you.
· In what special ways do others see you contributing to your family, school or community?