You’ve just graduated high school, got yourself some good grades, and can’t wait to get to college. However, gaining admission to your desired college will depend on your ability to prove that you’re smart, that you learned something in your previous years of study and will make a useful addition to their student body. In other words, many universities and colleges, especially in the US, have a certain set of criteria they use in their admissions process. Most of these tertiary institutions rely on your grade point average (GPA) from previous studies, standard test scores (SAT & ACT), and admission essays. Preparing well for each of these is highly important before making your college application.
While writing may not be a skill everyone is good at, there are some things you can definitely do to write a stunning application essay and increase your chances of being admitted to a college of your choice. Especially for some of the most competitive colleges, whether you’ll be accepted or declined may hinge on how original, correct, engaging, concise, and convincing your college application essay is. So how exactly do you write a powerful college application essay that will wow the admissions committee enough to gain you admission? Here are some helpful tips for writing your college application essay that will get you accepted into the school of your dreams.
1. Understand the Topic/Question/Subject
Depending on the university or college you’re applying to, you’ll be given a topic to write about, a subject to discuss or a question to answer in detail. Whatever the case, the first and most important step is to understand what is required of you and make sure your answer is responsive to the prompt. Thanks to technology, we have the internet, so even if the question or topic is completely new to you, you will always find helpful information through online research. Once you do your research and understand what the topic is all about, you’ll be in a better position to organize your thoughts and curate content that is relevant, informative, and convincing to the reader.
2. Choose a Creative Opener
While you can’t judge a book by its cover, first sentences count when it comes to grabbing the reader’s attention. If you start with a lame opener, you could easily spark negative energy in the reader’s mind, and they may find the rest of the article less engaging if they manage to read it to the end. Your essay has to be interesting from the get go, and there’s no better way to make it appear so than starting with a punching opener. Quotes, similes, and sayings, for instance, are a great way to start the first sentence in a college application essay. However, avoid using the ones that are too obvious or cliched!
3. Proofread and Edit Your Essay
In most cases, colleges and universities ask for application essays of at least 250 or 300 words. Well, this is something you can complete pretty quickly as long as you understand the topic and what is required. Even after using the required formatting style, including personal experiences, and dropping some really convincing college-level vocabulary here and there, many students end up missing out on the opportunities in front of them due to simple errors in grammar, typos, spelling mistakes, poor word choice, and the like. To avoid this, it’s important to carefully proofread your work upon completion before submitting it.
For better results, you may want to ask a friend, relative, or a third party to go through it to ensure it spells right, reads right, and the grammar is solid from top to bottom. Additionally, you can also pass your essay through a grammar and spell checker online after having proofread it. A recent review of this shows that other than checking your grammar and spelling mistakes, a good online spell checker can also help make your essay more readable, engaging, and convincing to your target audience. This way, you’ll ensure that each and every word, sentence, and punctuation count as far as driving the main points in your essay home is concerned.
4. Be Yourself in the Essay
We are all created differently, with unique personality traits and experiences that may come out as striking to other people. Remember, there are hundreds, if not thousands of other students applying to the same college. Can you distinguish yourself from the rest? When writing an essay where you have to describe yourself or provide a personal experience, it’s important to try and figure out what it is that can make you stand out from the rest of the pack.
5. Keep It Short and Concise
Admission officers, who are the reviewers of college application essays, often have piles of essays to review as they make their recommendations for final admission decisions. If you’re asked for a minimum of 300 words, there’s no point in writing an essay 3000 words long. Even if your essay is not too wordy and you’re just trying to go the extra mile, it’s best to be disciplined. The last thing you want to do is get the admissions officer thing, “this is too long, it will only slow me down”. Furthermore, you may appear as if you’re overselling yourself, so if you have to go above the minimum required word count of 300 words, it’s best not to go beyond 500 words. Similarly, avoid repetition, fluffy language, and long, complex sentences.
6. Observe Deadlines
Each and every college has its own admission timetable, and more often than not, these timetables have deadlines attached to them. Before working on your application essay, you’ll want to plan in advance, keeping a keen eye on the admission deadlines. When the deadline elapses, your chance of being admitted to the college evaporates with it.
When looking to join college, you’re filled with excitement, anxiety, hope, and determination. For most people, it’s kind of a “mixed feelings experience” that they find hard to explain. However, your application essay could be what is standing between you and your desired future, perhaps the key to a lucrative and successful career. With the above tips, you will hopefully ace it on your college application essay and pursue your dreams to the fullest.