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How To Write A College Admission Essay

How To Write A College Admission Essay

Writing College Admission Essay

A college application includes a lot of information about applicants including their grades, test scores, lists of extracurricular activities, etc. but not much personal information. The essay allows the college or university staff an opportunity to find out something about you and if you suit in an academic setting. The essay demonstrates your writing ability, which is a key component to success in college. In addition, the essay also reflects the maturity of your thinking and writing and your overall readiness for college.

Topics Required For An Application Essay

There are generally three types of application topics:

  • General Topics – “Tell us about yourself” questions
  • Specific Questions – about a favorite book, a beloved teacher, a life goal, or a significant experience
  • Creative questions – questions that require you to reveal your thoughts or opinions on a topic, such as: Why have you chosen this career or profession? Choose an issue of personal, local, or international concern and discuss its importance to you.

What To Write About

If the application asks you to choose a topic to write about and you cannot think of one, here are some pointers:

  • Write about an event (local, national, international) that touched you in a personal way
  • Write about a social issue (e.g., gun control, whale protection) that is near and dear to you.
  • Write about an out-of-classroom interest or hobby not covered to your fullest advantage elsewhere in your application.
  • Write about an academic subject (e.g., music, literature). There may be essay material on courses you have taken.
  • Write about a person (e.g., parent, grandparent) that greatly affected your life.

Best Way To Handle A Topic

There are some key points to remember when approaching the topic:

  • Be sure to answer the essay question and to follow all directions
  • Stick to the recommended or required length for the essay
  • Use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling
  • Use a writing style you find comfortable and that is appropriate for the subject matter
  • Select a topic that interests you and that you know something about
  • Start with a strong opening paragraph that captures the reader’s interest
  • Check all of your facts. If you mention a date, place, or event in your essay, make sure it is correct
  • Make a point and stick with it; develop your argument or narrative
  • Start early and allow yourself time to rewrite and revise
  • Write a draft and let it sit for a week, then edit the essay critically
  • Have at least two other people read and edit your essay for misspellings and grammatical errors
  • Presentation matters so make sure your essay is neat and word processed; sloppy mistakes makes it look like you do not take the essay (or your application) seriously

How To Make Your Essay Stand Out

Try some of the following techniques to enhance your essay:

  • If you are writing about an event or social issue, find some statistics to support your point of view
  • Be honest; do not brag or inflate your accomplishments; avoid writing about how wonderful you are
  • Be vivid. Use descriptions and adjectives to spark up your sentences
  • Avoid gimmicks, such as writing a poem or making a videotape; stick to the essay format and be succinct
  • Humor can be risky, so be careful how you use it, but it can perk up your essay if done well
  • Personalize your essay by providing insight into your interests and character; express your beliefs
  • Stand out from the crowd by exploring a new angle or investigating an unusual or unpopular opinion
  • Be specific; do not use vague generalities (e.g., England is a big country)

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