Monday, July 16, 2012

Back to School: College App Essay Advice

Use the college app essay to improve your chances of being admitted into the college of your dreams—especially if your test scores, grades and extracurricular activities aren’t as strong. The essay can set you apart from the other applicants at your level, bumping you from a “maybe” to a “definitely.”

Use it to describe your favorite activity, story about yourself, etc. The most important part is capturing the reader’s attention, and the easiest way to do that is to talk about something you’re passionate about.

Since this could be the deciding factor in your admission process, make sure you start early. For me personally, I wrote my first college app essay my freshman year of high school because my English teacher assigned it. After that, I got a lot of practice by writing practice SAT essays, as well as writing college app essay assignments my senior year (I eventually used those for my app!).

If you don’t get the chance to do it your first three years of high school, then do it during the summer before senior year! This gives you time to play around with ideas, as well as get feedback from other people. If you’re not going to be a senior in the fall, just print out the prompts for the universities you’re interested in and start thinking of good topics to write about (as well as activities that you should do so that you can have an awesome activity to write about J).

Five easy steps to writing the essay:
  1. Print out prompts.
  2. Brainstorm topic ideas. (go crazy!)
  3. Select an essay topic.
  4. Write the essay.
  5. Proofread!!! Be sure to have others look at it as well.
  • ·      Write about yourself with your own voice.
  • ·      Be genuine and honest.
  • ·      Be concise. Most prompts have word limits.
  • ·      Provide vivid details.
  • ·      Focus on one aspect about yourself to seem more in-depth and passionate.
  • ·      Mundane topics about your life are A-OK; your essay doesn’t have to be outrageous to be an interesting read.
  • ·      Share opinions, but be sure to back them up with details and facts. Keep in mind your audience (the admissions committee). They read thousands of (boring, typical) applications, so entertain them but don’t offend them.
  • ·      Most importantly, tell a good story! Show how you overcame something of great difficulty, learned something new, became a better person, etc. Write an essay that you yourself would want to read.
It’s super important to focus on the essay because it’s one of the few things you can still control when you apply. Scores, grades, and activities are past things that can’t be changed. The college app essay is your opportunity to show off, and prove that you’re the best choice the college has ever made. Good  luck. J



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