Getting into college after a laidback life in High School can be quite hard. Colleges take a lot of things into consideration, including grades and other elements like your extracurricular activities, participation in different events, achievements, etc. also play a huge role. However, your college application essay is probably the most important among all of them. Even if you have all your other affairs in order, these few thousand words are what could decide your future in your dream college. With these few simple tips, you too can write an excellent college essay of your own!
- Understand the question
Often the university asks for a specific topic to be written about. This can be quite tricky sometimes. The task in such cases is usually to figure out how to relate your role in the college and the topic.
Analyze it carefully. Try and understand their motive behind assigning this to you. If you are facing a problem, then take a break. Come back to it after a few hours (or days) with a fresh mind and try again. A fresh pair of eyes might help you understand the topic better.
After all this, take your time and write the essay with a clear mind. You might need multiple drafts, but it will be worth it. Listing down your thoughts and ideas can help a lot.
- Get inspiration
One of the best ways to prepare for a college essay is to read the ones that have succeeded in the past. Some of these articles have become so famous that they have been published in many websites, newspapers, and magazines. Go through these and get an idea of what is special about them. It is sometimes their writing style, accomplishments or even the content of the essay.
However, being inspired doesn’t mean that you try and copy their writing styles. It is clearly understood when the essay seems forced by someone. Don’t make it seem unnatural. Write with in your own way.
- Be original
Reading other college application essays is a good source of inspiration. However, don’t let this affect how you write. One of the best ways to stand apart from the crowd is to be yourself. Do not use clichéd dialogues like “I want to make the world a better place”. Some college deans suggest that you write how you speak and express yourself without being too formal. Show them your story and why you deserve to be there.
- Never lie
One of the worst mistakes that you can make in a college essay is to lie about facts. Often after an essay, one is required to give an interview. These interviews are usually to find out more about the student – to go beyond the essay. However, they may use your own words as a reference to ask these questions. Thus you should always be honest in these essays. Even if it is a bad experience, write down what you learned from it. Sometimes Honesty is the best policy.
- Try and be specific
Time is valuable to everybody. Do not beat around the bush in the essay. If you want to say that you try and do charitable work, then mention details of previous charitable work that you have done.
Don’t try to rewrite the same qualities using synonyms again and again.
Be concise and organized. Ensure there is an introduction, body, and conclusion. The body should also be split up into multiple paragraphs to try and avoid a wall of text.
- Use proper vocabulary
Many times, applicants mess up by trying to seem too sophisticated in their articles. They try and use complicated synonyms wherever possible to show off their Microsoft thesaurus. Most of the time, these synonyms aren’t used properly. This leaves a bad impression in their minds thus making it less likely for your application to be accepted.
Use simple words wherever possible. Only if you are confident enough in your command over the language, use the “SAT words” wherever it seems apt. Sometimes a phrase can be contracted into a single word. This can impress admission office.
- Be creative
The admission office receives several letters of the same kind with the same topic. If you can, write about something interesting. Controversial topics are a bit risky, but they might just pay off. Find out about a local (for the college) issue in the region, something people can relate to and write about it.
You can also use the topic to try and highlight your qualities subtly. These essays are extremely useful for presenting the things that you want to say but can’t on the other application forms. Set your application apart by using any of the above methods.
- Get it Proofread
Proofreading by yourself is a great practice. However, your brain may ignore some of the minor mistakes that you generally make. Let someone else proofread it for you. The greater the number the better it is. Every individual mind will look at your essay from a different perspective and thus identify things that can be improved.
You can also use professional help. Some people make a living out of proofreading, college application essays especially. Pay their minor fee and get it checked. You can also use some writing tools like Grammarly (To check for grammar and spelling mistakes). Plagiarism checkers and Readability scores also improve the quality of your essay from a technical point of view.
- Use professional help
Even after using all the tips mentioned above, college essays are much harder than they seem. When nothing seems to work, you could always seek professional help. Some companies provide admissions services assistance writing the whole essay for you based on input that you provide
After all these tips, there is a high chance your essay gets selected and you get called in for an interview. However, that is an entirely different game. But we will cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, grab a pen, and get cracking on your college essay now!
Rick Riddle is a marketing consultant and an up-and-coming blogger whose articles aim to help people with e-learning, career, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing. Feel free to follow Rick on twitter and LinkedIn.