Here’s the deal.
Writing your college application essay is your shining moment. Don’t just blurt out words, make each one count.
The sooner you realize that your essay is more than just a requirement to be submitted, the sooner you can write one that’ll stand out from a pile of thousand hopefuls waiting to be admitted in their dream school. Are you ready?
For universities and colleges in the US, the admissions process usually follow a three-point criteria for selecting students: previous coursework, standardized test scores, and college application essays. While everyone can do well for the first two, the essay serves as a clincher for students whose character goes beyond the grades.
Convince the admissions board you’re the one they’re looking for! Write an essay that makes a good first impression by keeping these important tips in mind:
Analyze the prompt.
Before you get too excited and overwhelmed with a million thoughts, make sure you understand the question. Read the prompt and then reread it again. The last thing you want is to come up with a really compelling essay to the wrong question.
Determine your essay goals.
There’s A LOT of things you can say in your essay. But which ones will help inch you closer to your dream school? Set two to three objectives. Not only does it help you keep your thoughts on track, it also guides you when choosing what aspects of your life you need to include and which ones you can do without. #priorities
Have a writing plan.
Having a good writing plan is always a good plan, and it’s often the ones that lessen future headaches when you get lost in writing. So take time to sit down and brainstorm what you envision for your essay. What accomplishments and personal qualities do you want to highlight? How many words should you allot for a certain point? These are some important details that need to be crystal clear before you start writing. Or else, you might end up rewriting the whole thing just because it exceeded the word count limit. You don’t want that, do you?
Show, don’t tell.
Everyone loves good storytelling. And most often than not, it includes using words that take you to places and move you to emotions rather than straight-out telling facts and figures. So don’t just recount experiences, reflect on it! Fo sho, the admissions board is more interested in knowing your key takeways than knowing details like 5Ws and 1H.
Impress with college-level writing.
One sure way to stand out is to wow them with a well-written essay. For starters, there’s the golden rule of being clear and concise. Express your thoughts effectively by writing efficiently. Use strong words (read: this is different from highfalutin), sophisticated sentence structures, and if possible, use figures of speech to spice things up a bit.
PS. As an international student, having an excellent command of the English language is one way you can assure the admission boards that you can thrive in the academe.
Write with your own voice.
Going through thousands of application essays can be really tiring, especially when the same thing’s being said over and over. Break the monotony by bringing in your personality in writing! Do share personal stories and thoughts that can help them get to know you better. And when you do, make sure it feels you—not some generic sounding essay that clearly just want to get admitted. Be yourself.
Thou shall not submit your essay without proofreading! Simply put, this is one of those things you don’t want to get disqualified for when your future’s on the line. Review your work to spot for grammar errors, spelling typos or even misused words. And though computer aids help, don’t fully rely on them. Even programs miss out on these little things sometimes!
Ask for feedback.
Sometimes, people get so attached in their writing that they tend to overlook mistakes, even after proofreading it over a dozen times. Get fresh eyes to read your essay! Not only can they spot things you missed, but they can also give valuable feedback on things you can add, remove or rephrase in your work.
Check the application details.
When all is said and done, go back to the important stuff! To whom will you address the essay? Did you meet the word count? How will you send in the essay? These are just some of the many nitty-gritty details that you need to remember aside from keeping track of the deadline. For admission board officers, a student who pays attention to details says a lot about character. Make sure it says the right thing.
Your college application essay can either make or break your application. Remember these reminders when you go through the whole writing process, and give it your best shot. Don’t forget, since you know yourself best you already have it in you to slay the essay like a pro. You just have to put it down clearly in writing!