Hints on How to Write a College Admissions Essay and Impress a Committee

The college admissions essay is often the most difficult and worrisome part of an application for students. The essay is an opportunity to impress admissions committee with your personality, intelligence and writing skill. Here’s a list of tips and hints to help you get off to a good start:

  • Be yourself: Don’t try to reinvent yourself with the essay. Admissions officers have read hundreds of essays and will be able to right through your writing if you suddenly are writing outside of your element. If you are funny person, write a funny essay.
  • Write about something different: Don’t relate the same extracurricular activities that you list on other parts of your application. The application process is very limited and you should take full advantage of the space given to you to say something admissions officers won’t already know about you.
  • Don’t attempt to take on too much: Focus a single idea. This means writing about one event, one influential person, or one activity. You only have a few hundred words to sell yourself, tackling too much at one time will make your essay seem watered down and disjointed.
  • Keep it light-hearted: If you’re retelling an amusing and fun anecdote from your childhood, it shouldn’t read like a critical essay or an act of Congress. Keep it light-hearted and some fun with it. If you enjoy your writing, so will your readers.
  • Write on topics that are honestly significant to you: Never hesitate in revealing something very personal to you. This is the essence, after all, of this type of essay. Admissions officers want to know who you are and what you think.
  • Be honest and write from your heart: Don’t try to write something you think admissions officers want to hear. They will be able to see right through this and know that you aren’t being sincere. You should write on something you believe in.
  • Keep it short and to the point: You will have a word count limit. Make every word count. Don’t get off topic and don’t spend too much time providing background. While introductions and conclusions are helpful, some great college essays have been written without either. Make your body paragraphs the most significant part of your writing.
  • Proofread: There is absolutely no excuse for spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, inconsistent punctuation and any of a number of tiny mistakes that are sure to suggest that you wrote the essay in the last hours before deadline.

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