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Tips For Writing a Good College Essay

September 26, 2017 Essay writing tips
Tips For Writing a Good College Essay

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Before one can even begin pondering about their college admission essay, they must understand a cold and hard truth. The various types of essay writing that was considered acceptable in high school is nowhere near the same level as that of higher education writing. Much more time and energy must be spent in making the college essay eloquent and informative, so using high school essay samples will not cut it.

Read more: How To Write an Essay

Essay Writing Tips for High School Students vs. College Students

As high school students, we were trained to follow strict guidelines that paved the way for the creation of essays. The methodology used in the 5-paragraph-essay formulation (for example) was ingrained in us and became a safe pathway for any academic writing. When we would ask our teachers for tips on writing a good essay, they would generally give us very common advice. They would recommend using high-level vocabulary, proofreading your work for clarity, and carefully scanning for grammar errors. When looking at tips for writing a good college essay, these same rules do transfer over, but content-related ones hold a higher value. When entering primary education, what one writes about holds is much more important than how they write it, making research for unique and exciting content a primary objective. In other words, the style vs. content scale gradually shifts right as one enters a more professional sphere of education.

College Essay Writing Tips

With everything already being said, we have 7 helpful tips that will make your college admission essay stand out and shine. Let’s start with #1

  • Brainstorm Brainstorm Brainstorm: Most likely at this point in your life, you have lived through 17 or 18 years of unreplicable experiences that make you as a human stand out. Obviously, not every day of life was filled with memorable experiences, but having those in your pocket help you gather the necessary ingredients for an exciting admission essay. Look back through times that helped you grow, caused you to see a different picture or in anyway strongly affected you as a person. When actually putting the writing together, pick out the ones most suitable for a captivating piece of literary art.
  • Actions are louder than words: When writing a college essay, students tend to attempt and persuade admission officers that they are a great candidate for the position. This is done by stating character traits for the purpose of self-appraisal, attempting to prove through words that they are someone special. The problem with this strategy is that it is way too redundant. One of the best tips that can be given for writing a college essay is using life events as anchors (actions) on why you as a student stand out. In other words, anyone can say that they are a fantastic athlete and scholar, but not everyone can show a gold medal or an academic achievement award to back it up. When you present the latter in your writing, you are moving along the right path for academic success!
  • Answer the damn question: It is such a shame that so many students ask for tips on writing a good college essay, but they don't answer the admission prompt DIRECTLY! Commonly, students tend to ramble once they begin putting words on paper, and they lose track of the main point. Remember, your writing is simply an enforcer of the direct answer that comes from the question. For example, if the prompt asks you to explain how you would solve a certain problem, respond to the question straightforwardly. No need for filler texts that present no value. However, by offering a strategy for a similar idea that was successful, you are killing two birds with one stone. You are literally answering the question as well as updating and honing your portfolio in one sentence!
  • College is a Job Interview: The one mistake that so many students make when putting together college applications is not understanding that college is simply a business. Just like any other organization, universities look for the best of the best to fill their openings. The clearest way to show a student's value to any educational institution is through the concise explanation of their biggest accomplishments. One of the most underrated tips for writing a good college essay is that one must sell themselves. Many students tend to write about obstacles that they have faced or even issues that they have encountered, and as much as a sob story can grab attention, it does NOT make you an attractive candidate as a student. Rather, follow the problem-solution mentality. In other words, show problems that you have encountered and explain how you arrived at a suitable answer. Remember, an essay full of productive solutions is what you are aiming towards!
  • What makes you unique?: Over 20 million students submit college application essays every year. Considering the big picture, you are just a spec of sand on a beach; so be the shiniest spec that can be seen from miles away! Reading a college admission essay becomes incredibly dull and redundant for officers; so many students state useless information that can be seen in any application. Everybody knows that each student is unique, but almost all academic writings seem to follow the same pattern. Stick out from the crowd. For example, one student used a unique method that helped admission officers see his inner personality. His process of learning the Rubik's cube and breaking a national record really impressed the reader, as well as the fact that he was able to translate these actions into a metaphor that resembled his lifestyle.
  • Mirror Successful Essay Writers: You know that classmate that just told everyone about their acceptance to Harvard, Yale or some other prestigious university? If you don’t, I guess it is time to make new friends! But seriously, reading successful admission essays helps you paint a picture of what type of text to create. Although one may expect to see some sort of shakespearean masterpiece, the reality is that this successful writing is just a captivating piece of 17-year old literature. Another way to look at this would be through the eyes of a spectator. Attempt to read your own essay writing through a neutral perspective and see if it actually catches interest. If not, it is time to do some editing!
  • Get Secondary Reviewal from Multiple Sources: Great, you have finished putting together your college admission essay! Even after personally proofreading it, getting a second or even third pair of eyes is essential. Why is that so? Well, just because the thoughts written on paper make sense in your head, it does not instantly make them universally comprehensible. Having an outside point of view look over and understand your writing gives it coherent validation. In other words, having two or three extra people tell you that the essay is clear and informative significantly increases the chance for an admission officer to agree with that opinion!

Now that you have been given insightful tips on writing a college essay, it is time to put pen to paper. Remember, be the best version of yourself and edit edit edit!

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