Tips For Writing A College Application Essay
So you have just graduated from school and now you are planning to enrol in your dream college. Besides appropriate academic qualifications and skills, you need to hand over a well-crafted college application essay to the supervising committee of the college. This essay is like a golden opportunity for you to flaunt your talent and creativity. Consider the essay as the living, breathing part of your application to a college. You get to speak in your own voice and personalize the application accordingly. The essay is your chance to show something very significant about you that you might not have shared elsewhere in your application. So, let's take a look at the nuts and bolts of writing a college application essay that will certainly stand out from other applications.
How To Write A Good College Application Essay?
The format for a college application essay is somewhat the same as other essays. It consists of an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. But, the context is pretty different and unique. You have to take a step back and be reflective about who you are as an individual while writing this essay. What do you care about deeply? What are your aspirations in life? There are so many questions to ask yourself before you start writing the essay. But let's first understand how to start a college application essay without sounding boring or just like the rest of the applications.
Settle on an interesting topic
Most applications ask you to choose a topic to write about in the essay. This topic is the first thing your supervisors will see while assessing the essay. So, make sure the topic is worth their attention and time. Here are some ideas for you to get hold of the right topics for the essay:
- Are there any hobbies or non-school pursuits that you are excited about? What is your favourite hobby that engages your heart and mind? You can write about your out-of-classroom interests that could help you bring out a part of childhood that is not yet covered in any part of the application process.
- Do you hold a social cause near and dear? The college essay is not a regular academic paper. It is a cause that you feel passionately about. So, that social cause could be the basis for a strong, persuasive college essay.
- You can also write about an event (local, national and international) that might have just touched you in a personal way.
- Is there an academic subject that sparks your interest even at the thought of it? What is it about that subject that engages you? You can also talk about a subject that is beyond the courses you took.
Yes, deciding the topic is your first step. But, there's more work to after settling on the topic. You must know how to do justice to the topic that you have chosen for the essay. After all, your supervisors would want to assess your creative writing skills in your essay. Right?
Handle the topic smartly
Let's say you are writing about an experience or an achievement in your life in the essay. Don't get too carried away, lest you may sound very arrogant in your essay. You have to handle the topics smartly. Go beyond the 'what' and dig into the 'how' and 'why.' Here are some examples to help you understand how you should handle your topic:
- Let's say you have decided to write about a trip to another country. Remember, you are writing an essay, not a travelogue. So, tell about how the experiences affected you and why they were interesting or meaningful to you. In short, the readers aren't interested in knowing how the trains in Paris work. They want to know what makes you tick and how you got the way you are.
- Are you writing about your bonding with your grandparents? In that case, try to be as personal and specific as possible instead of just making your essay sound too sentimental. Explain how certain things that your grandparents said or did were important to you.
- Some of you may even want to talk about a challenge and how you overcame that challenge. So, write your essay so that you could inspire someone else to get over their challenges or problems.
Plenty of students submit their application essays every year. And chances are you will have similar topics. So, it is how you handle the topic that will set you apart from the rest.
Work on the college application essay format
As mentioned earlier, the college application essay format template consists of three sections such as introduction, body and conclusion. The essay style should sound like you. It should be original. Remember the following pointers to get your essay right.
- Start with a hook to capture your reader's attention.
A hook can be:
- An unexpected or unusual statement such as "My battle cry was Cockroaches, unite!"
- A thought-provoking question such as "Why do teenagers think parent's advice isn't reliable?"
- A confession or admission such as "I think I have xenophobia: fear of the color yellow."
You may want to start by describing a scene or setting in the beginning. So, make sure it is interesting and intriguing. Be careful if you plan to end the introduction with a quote or statistic since that usually doesn't work out.
- Always tell the reader something about yourself
At times, your essay prompt may ask you to describe specific activities and opinions. But, make sure you tell your readers at least something valuable about yourself.
Example: I had taught autistic kids to paint last summer and this job helped me measure my success based on how hard I have worked and not how much I have achieved.
- Provide detailed, specific explanations and examples
It is an unsaid rule that your college essays should be compelling enough to capture and retain the attention of your readers. Vague explanations will not do. You have to provide specific and in-depth details about your experiences in the essay.
Example: My mother is like the superhero of my life. I didn't understand that before when I was younger. She made me eat all those new vegetables and foods and it's because of that I could adjust to the new country to pursue my higher education.
- Use details to show and not just tell
Generalizations don't really work great with college application essays. You have to use vivid images to make your readers believe what you are trying to convey. So, use as many details as possible to show your message and not just blatantly tell them.
Example: We had slept on the rocky floor amid the harsh cold weather during our trip to Germany. I was sleepy, but the cold didn't let me sleep. The next day, we got a simple cabin to stay in for the day and it seemed like a palace.
- Finally, finish it off
Now that you are done writing the maximum part of your essay, let's learn how to end a college application essay topic. You may have made and overlooked the pesky mistakes while writing the essay. So, proofread EVERY word before handing your paper to the supervising committee.
Here are the important errors you should look out for:
- Singular or plural pronoun agreement
- Unclear pronouns
- Passive voice
- Grammatical errors
- Punctuation mistakes
Finally, ask yourself how this essay will make the admission officers want to enroll you. Make sure the entire essay sounds like you. Proceed with the work if you are confident about the top-notch quality of your paper.
A perfect college application essay can make it way easier for you to enroll in your dream college. However, it might be a little tricky writing the essay for the first time. Though the format is the same as other essays, the context is pretty different. You have to show off your best personality through a single essay. Check out college application essay examples for better reference.
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