Top 10 Tips in Writing a Successful College Application Essay

A good college application essay is an important part of the college application process. View the essay as an opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills and share something unique and interesting about yourself with the college.

1. Catch Their Attention. College admissions offices spend weeks reading applications and the essay is a great place to get their attention. Make sure your introduction is dynamic and fresh. It should make the person reading your essay excited to read more. Vivid details and imagery will help make your essay stand out.

2. Aim for Clarity. Bigger words don’t make for better writing. You only have 500 words on the college application essay and it’s your responsibility to make every last one count. Use clear, concise language. If you can say something in fewer words, do it.

3. Show, Don’t Tell. This age-old writing advice is extremely important to the college application essay. For example, many applicants will write about traveling experiences. A lively anecdote of one specific morning you spent navigating the streets of Prague is worth more than a list of things you learned during your first trip to Europe.

4. Keep the Focus. Before you begin writing, be sure you know exactly what your essay is going to say. What is the one point you want the school to take away from reading your essay? It is almost always best to keep the focus narrow so that you can fully explore your topic in the allotted words.

5. Be Original. Keep your writing professional, but it’s okay to take some risks that will help you stand out. Let your personality shine through and think of your essay as a story, not an encyclopedia entry. The better your story is told, the more it will resonate with its readers.

6. Make it Personal. Your college application essay should help the college learn more about you. It should include details and insights that aren’t readily apparent elsewhere in your application and cannot be told in a resume. Include details about your emotions and be sure that anecdotes reveal interesting and positive things about your personality, interests, and achievements.

7. Take Time to Edit. Read your essay carefully for grammar and spelling errors. Watch for typos that your computer’s spell check might miss. Read your essay through aloud to be sure that everything flows and there are no rough transitions and incomplete ideas.

8. End Strong. Your conclusion should leave a lasting impression. End with a strong image or idea and avoid ending with a cliché. Read your essay through once with the final sentence and once without it. If the essay is as strong or stronger without the final line, cut it and try again.

9. Plan Ahead. Start working on your college application essay early in the application process. This ensures that you have time to step back from your essay for a few days and then read it again. This will give you a fresh perspective on your work and allow you to make necessary changes.

10. Ask for Help. It can be worthwhile to give your application essay to a family member or mentor to read and critique. Ask specific questions about what they took away from your essay or what questions they have after reading it through. They will also be able to let you know if the essay is a good reflection of you.

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.


© 2009 - 2017 B Line Test Prep | All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board. Neither the College Board or the Graduate Admission Council is not affiliated and does not endorse this website. All marks are the property of their respective owners.