How to Create an Effective Application Paper

When it comes time for you to create an application paper for those college applications there are some things that you should keep in mind. Keep in mind that these college admissions boards see thousands of applications each year and you want your to really stand out from them all. You might have excellent grades and test scores, but so do hundreds of other applicants. Your application should highlight who you are and what you want to gain from your experience. Here are some tips:

  • Be yourself. Don’t use words that might make you seem smart but you would never use in an actual conversation with someone. Things like that make it seem as if you are trying too hard.
  • Start early. You don’t want your application to get there right at the same time as hundreds more. The earlier it gets there, the more time the admissions officers have to look it over thoroughly.
  • Choose a topic that highlights you. Do not tell them all the great things about their school. They already know all of them. Do share things like your personal thoughts or story. Do not repeat anything that can be found elsewhere in the application. Redundancy is frowned upon. They also do not want to read about your extracurricular high school activities or dedication.
  • Your focus should be personal and narrow. If you try to incorporate too many topics then your application will be more like a resume. Find one thing about yourself and write about it. It must be the main idea and flow through the essay from beginning to the end.
  • This is not show and tell. When you state something like I enjoy traveling, tell where you have traveled and what you did or learned on your trips.
  • Use your own voice. This could fall under the same category as be yourself but it is a bit different. Don’t use clichés or things of that nature. Don’t say something like you want to help people. Why do you want to help people? Help them do what?
  • You should NEVER turn in an application essay without proofreading it. Beyond that, have someone else proofread it too. This could be a friend, teacher or parent. Do not rely on spell check because while those programs can be helpful, they can also be incredibly stupid.

All that being said the best thing to remember is to breathe. Take it easy and take your time about it. Do not stress about it because if you do, it will be apparent in the tone of the paper. Make sure to think it through before and during the writing. Make more than one draft and make sure it is perfect before you submit it.

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