The Common Application: Essay Tips | Edukasyon.ph
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The Common Application: Essay Tips

The Common Application for SY 2018-2019 has just opened a month ago! This application gives you the opportunity to find colleges abroad that best suit you. It is composed of several parts such as your academic record, extracurricular activities and awards list, and of course, your personal college essay!  

What is your college essay?

The college essay is one of the most crucial parts of your application. It allows the admissions officers to learn more about your personality. It’s important to be able to showcase your individuality to demonstrate what your grades cannot. With that being said, try to stray away from writing about academic achievements. There is an awards and honors section list that should summarize your academic awards. If you truly want to write about what you have accomplished, choose only one and expound on it. Discuss the skills you have garnered and lessons you have learned. You may also touch on how you wish to apply this in college.

Start early

Common App opens their website for the upcoming year at the end of July. Most of the time, they release the prompts for the year way before they launch the application. Take advantage of the time they have given. Do not cram your essay. It should be well-thought out as this plays a big part in the admission evaluation. You may check out the essay prompts for 2018-2019 on the Common App website.

Write using your own voice

Authenticity is important when writing your essay. It must sound like you, after all, you’re showcasing yourself and your experiences. Never fabricate anything as admissions officers can see past through this. Using a thesaurus is a great idea if you want to look for synonyms of words such as “said”, “did” ,etc. However, be careful in overdoing this. Before picking a word in the thesaurus, make sure it is appropriate and parallel to your subject.


One way to revise your essay is to print it then read it out loud. This will allow you to actually pinpoint grammatical errors that you might have overlooked while reading the essay on the screen multiple times. Don’t be shy to ask your parents, English teachers, and counsellors to proofread your essay as they are more than willing to help! It is important to garner numerous perspectives on your essay to see if you are truly able to get your point across the readers.

Common Problems

There are several problems one may face while writing the essay. As Common App releases numerous prompts, it is difficult for students to pick a question. Instead of wasting time debating which prompt is better than the other, answer all the prompts in bullet form. Just brainstorm topics, quotes, and experience that you might be able to incorporate in the said prompt. Once you are done with this, narrow it down to two prompts. Work on two prompts to see where you can truly showcase yourself better.

Another problem students encounter is starting the essay. As it may be hard to think of a great opening statement, try writing the body first then work your way up. Who knows, you might think of an anecdote while writing the body!

Writing your college essay is one of the hardest parts of the application. With that being said, you must truly put in a lot of effort and work into it. Understand how it plays a huge role in deliberation and start early with your drafts. Make sure to always be honest and true to yourself. Colleges want to see if you are a good fit in their university. They don’t want you to force yourself to fit in. After writing your drafts, proofread like there is no tomorrow!

Good luck on writing your college essay. For more study abroad articles, visit Edukasyon.ph’s Study Abroad!