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How to Shine With Your College Application Essay

Content how to shine with your college application essay

Most high school students do not know how to write a college application essay for a very simple reason – they have never written one before. And the pressure is on, because sometimes it is only the essay that distinguishes between two candidates that otherwise have the same qualifications.

You want your college application essay to be impeccably written and to stand out as one the readers will remember for its creativity and compelling content. Here are some important tips that will help you understand how to write a college essay and make you unforgettable.

  1. Read and Choose a Prompt Carefully

If you are using the Common Application, there are five essay prompts from which to choose. If the college has its own essay requirement, it will give you prompts as well. Read through each prompt very carefully, to make sure you understand exactly what is being asked for. All of these will relate somehow to your personal life – a time when you failed at something and how you dealt with it; someone in your life who has been key in the values and core beliefs you now have; a time when you had to exhibit leadership, etc. As you look at each prompt, try to conjure up some initial thoughts about circumstances and/or events in your life that relate to the topic. Are there any that really stand out, and about which you remember a lot of detail? If so, consider those seriously. Once you have decided on a prompt, the rest of these steps should follow.

  1. Start Early

The essay for college application should not be written quickly or at the last minute. The Common Application prompts are published well over a year in advance and, in fact, may stay the same for several years in a row. Individual institutions that have their own publish these on their websites. Give yourself at least a few months. During that time, keep a notebook or a document on your device where you can jot down thoughts and ideas as they come to you. They will come at odd times, and you don’t want to forget them.

  1. Do Construct an Outline for Your Rough Draft

You have created outlines for essays and papers you have written. When you write a college paper you will do the same. Your application essay is no different. If you want it to flow logically, you have to organize your points or thoughts. Even if the bulk of it will be a narrative, get the sequence of events in order. Write your rough draft according to that outline and save the introduction for last.

  1. Use Standard Essay Format

The college application essay format is no different from any other essay – introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. Once you have written your body paragraphs, you should go back to the introduction and conclusion

  1. The Introduction Must be Killer

If you do not grab the attention of your readers with the first sentence, you are already losing. While this is not meant to put pressure on you, understand that your opener is critical to someone wanting to read on. There are a few ways to do this – a startling statistic or a short anecdote, for example. If you cannot come up with something that really rocks, you may want to consider help from a professional essay writer. This is just too important to settle for mediocrity.

  1. Be Creative

Admissions committees are expecting most essays to read and “sound” the same. You be that unique, different one that all of them will remember. You can use humor; you can set up a unique scenario. One winning essay serves as an example. The prompt related to the process she used to solve problems. The scenario she used was getting rid of a fly that was buzzing around in her room making her miserable. She used a well thought out problem-solving process, but the topic itself was humorous and delighted the readers. Think outside the box a bit.

College application essays are not easy – they have to be engaging, creatively written, and memorable. If you are really struggling with this task, accept that an essay writer needed is not a shameful thing. Solid writing skills and creativity may not be in your “bag” of strengths, and that’s okay.