Tips for a Successful Student Application Essay


Write an engaging college essay to make your application stand out!  An excellent piece could help pave the way to a brighter future.

Most colleges design their essay questions to learn more about you. So this is your chance to tell colleges about yourself.

How to Write a College Essay

The first step to writing a successful college essay is choosing the right topic. Pick a topic that allows you to give colleges the best idea of who you are as a person. What are your interests or dreams? What is important to you? Colleges are interested in these aspects of your personality.

Approach your college essay as you would any of your previous school essays. Begin with an outline detailing the structure of your essay, as well as emphasizing the most important points. Think about your strengths and weaknesses, and then choose one or two positive aspects of your personality to demonstrate to the college committee.

You can structure your essay in several primary ways. In your article, you can focus on a single strength that you possess, elaborating on it in detail. Or, you can choose two or three significant aspects of your personality to discuss, devoting only a paragraph to each aspect.

The narrative essay is also a standard and efficient format; in the narrative essay, begin with a short and engaging story about yourself, then explain how that story relates to your personality. Illustrate your positive traits through the story, perhaps talking about an event that highlights your creativity, problem-solving skills, or your ability to help others.

College Essay – What to Include

When writing your essay, make sure to clarify the strengths of your personality, rather than just stating things that you’ve done (ex. “I volunteered at an animal shelter”).  Go the extra step to demonstrate how your activities reveal your personality and values (ex. “All my life, I’ve been extremely passionate about animal welfare and animal rights.  While volunteering at the local animal shelter, I was able to put my passion into practice”).  Talking about your strengths and values gives a much deeper insight into your personality than merely listing some of your activities.

Finally, proofread and edit your essay. Make sure your writing reads smoothly, clearly, and is free of grammar and spelling errors. It never hurts to send it to a professional editing service for polishing, such as FirstEditing. Not only will a professional editor check for basic grammar errors, but an editor can also give you valuable feedback about the content of your essay. Also, many college essays have word count requirements. A professional reduction edit could neatly trim your writing down to the required word count.

A college essay is a great chance for you to show colleges your strengths. Approach it with confidence and dedication, and you’ll soon be off to a promising new future!

Originally posted 4/10/2010 and happily updated 11/15/2017. Thanks for reading!

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