Essay Tips

The essay is about you.

College admissions officers want to get to know you and that is the purpose of the essay. Make sure the essay is about you. If the prompt is about someone you admire, show what characteristics in you make you look up to that person. The essay should say more about you than about Grandma or your favorite character from history. Of course, make sure it is about the positive side of you.

Write in your own voice.

A very important college essay tip is to write in your own voice. Again, the admissions officers want to meet you . Writing in the first person is perfectly fine. Use a casual style as if you were talking to a friend, however, the essay still needs to be well written with a beginning, middle and an end. It must have clarity and good transitions. Be sure to answer the question. Edit, edit, edit for perfect grammar and punctuation. Ask a parent or counselor to read your essay for editing purposes but don’t let anyone change your voice. It must sound like you!

Tell your story.

Reflect on your positive qualities and then think of a time when you used those qualities. What authentic stories can you share about how you solved a problem, made an improvement, came to a realization or simply grew? Your very own stories make perfect essay topics, especially when they demonstrate your character.

Before beginning your essay make a list of your best traits. Then think about a true story that shows the trait. Showing rather than telling is key. Writing about when you fell off your horse during a horseshow and got right back up, to continue competing, is much more effective than saying you are perseverant. Show it!

Entice the reader.

Open the essay with the exciting part of your story. Admissions officers spend countless hours reading essays; your opening needs to entice them to read more. Dialog or opening with a question can be very effective. Be intriguing!

Coordinate all parts of your application.

My final college essay tip is to try to show the many facets of who you are by using the application effectively. Don’t repeat information in the essay that is covered in other parts of your application. For example, if you are a recruited athlete, rather than writing about how much you love your sport, show another side of you. What else is meaningful to you? What experiences have been significant? How have you grown and changed? What life lessons have you learned?