“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” – Anne Lamott
College admission essays are essential to your application. This gives admissions officers the opportunity to better understand you and may help you win admissions to your dream school!
In writing essays, you must also take into consideration your audiences and their goals for you as a college applicant.
An admissions officer may read several personal statements in a day. When he/she reads your application their eyes will turn to your writings. How do college essay writers prepare to write an effective college essay? Admission experts offer suggestions to write essays for colleges as well as editing them to near perfection.
Not only are essays an ideal place to display your writing skills, but they are also an important part of any college application. Unlike scholastic exams, essays allow students to showcase their personalities.
How do I make my college essay stand out?
There are plenty of ways to make your college essay stand out. We will discuss a great deal of the below. Besides the standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and transcripts, the college application essay is the most essential part for college applicants.
In your college essay, you reveal to college admissions officers who you really are and what diverse experience you bring to your school of choice.
It is essential that you write the words that speak to your personality. The risk-reward element is very high, especially if one wants a high-quality university.
When do I start my college essay?
The best time for students to work on essay projects is the summer before senior year.
Starting early gives students time to write multiple versions of the paper before college deadlines, usually by the end of October. Early decision/early action applications are accepted before this time as well, and most selective colleges offer scholarships to applicants who meet the early submission deadline.
Students can visit online to check requirements for college admission such as word limits and essay topics. Several young adults use Common App - a software platform used by almost 800 schools worldwide and widely adopted by the community.
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How To Write A College Essay
1. Always start with brainstorming Ideas
Brainstorming is one of the most important steps you can take when writing a college essay.
By taking the time to brainstorm, you'll be able to generate more ideas and narrow down your focus to come up with a top-notch essay.
Here are some tips on how to brainstorm effectively:
Identify your purpose
Why are you writing this essay? What do you hope to accomplish? Once you have a clear understanding of your purpose, it will be easier to come up with relevant ideas.
Jot down everything that comes to mind
Don't worry about whether or not an idea is good at this point - just get it down on paper (or in your computer). You can always edit and narrow down your list later.
Group similar ideas together
This will help you see which ideas are strongest and which ones you may want to ditch.
Try brainstorming with a friend or family members
Sometimes it helps to run your ideas by someone else to get some feedback.
Take a break if you get stuck
If you find yourself struggling to come up with more ideas, take a quick break and come back to it later. Sometimes all you need is a little time to clear your head before the creativity starts flowing again.
By following these tips, you'll be on your way to writing a killer essay that will impress an admissions officer in no time!
2. Frame your Thesis Statement
A thesis statement for a college application can be many different things, depending on the type of essay you are writing. However, most college essays will require you to take a position on a topic and defend that position in your paper.
For example, if you were asked to write an expository essay about the rise of obesity in America, your thesis might be something like "Obesity in America has grown significantly over the past few decades due to a number of factors." You would then go on to support this thesis with evidence from your research.
If you were asked to write a persuasive essay arguing that schools should start later in the day, your thesis might be something like
"Starting school later in the day would allow students to get more sleep, which would lead to better grades and healthier students."
Again, you would support this thesis with evidence from your research. These are just a few examples of the different types of college essays that might require a thesis statement.
As you can see, the thesis statement is typically one sentence that states your main argument. Once you have your thesis statement, the rest of your essay should be dedicated to supporting it.
3. Create an Outline
A college essay outline can help you organize your thoughts and ideas before you start writing the actual essay.
By creating a college essay outline, you can ensure that your essay will flow smoothly and logically from the introduction to the conclusion.
An outline can also help you determine how much information to include in each section of your essay. Creating an outline is an important step in the essay writing process, so be sure to give yourself enough time to create one before you begin writing your essay.
Here is how you can create a stellar essay outline:
There's no one right way to outline a college essay, but there are some common methods that can help you get started. Here are a few tips on how to create a stellar college essay outline:
- Start with a general idea of what you want to say.
- Narrow down your focus to specific points that you want to make about your topic.
- Organize your thoughts in a logical order.
- Make sure each point ties back to your main argument.
- Conclude with a strong conclusion that wraps up your overall argument.
4. Start with an attention grabber
You want to start with “hooks”. These words attract people's interest and get them to read more.
The first sentence should contain deep facts, stimulate the reader's curiosity and be unique from the others.
The first sentence is a question, and is often interesting but only when it is particularly informative. Stanfield. What makes these paragraphs interesting to a reader? That was a good writing tool, he said.
Below are some tips that would help you write a stellar hook sentence:
Start with a bang
Your first sentence should be interesting, shocking, or otherwise attention-grabbing. This will give your reader a reason to keep reading.
Your hook should be fresh and unique, not something recycled from another essay or source. This will make your essay stand out from the rest.
Your hook should be relevant to the rest of your essay. It should give the reader a taste of what's to come without giving too much away.
Specificity is key when it comes to hooks. The more specific you can be, the better. This will make your essay more relatable and relatable essays are more likely to be read.
Use strong language
Your hook should be written in strong, persuasive language. This will grab the reader's attention and make them want to keep reading.
By following the above-mentioned tips, I am sure you would be able to write a killer hook sentence(s) for your college essay.
What should you not do in a college admissions essay?
1. Never plagiarize
It seems obvious, but one thing you should never do is plagiarize another applicant's essay prompts.
If (or when) you are caught, you may face extreme consequences apart from never being allowed to apply to the college or university that caught you again.
It's much too big of a risk, so let's avoid this issue by using your God-given creativity to tell your story in a way that grabs the attention of your dream school's admission committees.
Some recommendations to avoid plagiarism:
There is plagiarism that you know is plagiarism and then there is plagiarism that just happens without you intending to do so.
Well, there is no strategy for intentional plagiarism. You just got to understand the importance of college essays and a personal statement and even more about your integrity and honesty.
On the other hand, unintentional plagiarism will be very low in percentage and it can be avoided. There are a few things that teachers recommend to avoid plagiarism in a college application essay, which are as follows:
- Use proper citation when quoting or paraphrasing another source.
- Make sure that all of your sources are properly credited.
- Do not use someone else's work without their permission.
- Do not copy and paste from another source without giving credit.
- Always write in your own words.
- Be careful when using information from the internet. Make sure that you are only using reliable sources.
- Keep track of all of your sources. This will help you to avoid accidentally plagiarizing in the future.
- If you are unsure about something, ask your teacher for help.
By following these tips, you can avoid plagiarism in your college essays and ensure that you are properly crediting your sources.
2. Don't try to Overuse impressive vocabulary words
There are a few reasons for this. First, using big words when you're not 100% sure of their meaning can make your essay sound pretentious and difficult to read.
Second, the admissions officers reading your essay aren't looking for a display of vocabulary prowess - they're looking for evidence that you can write clearly and effectively.
Finally, using unfamiliar words can backfire by making your essay look disorganized and hard to follow.
So, what's the best way to show off your impressive vocabulary?
Use it sparingly and only when you're confident that you know exactly what the word means. A well-chosen, strategically placed vocab word can add just the right amount of flavor to your essay - but using too many of them will leave your reader feeling overwhelmed.
So use your words wisely, and you'll be sure to impress the admissions officers with your smarts!
3. Avoid stale, overused introduction techniques
It is important to write college essays in the same way as the hundreds of other papers the admissions office reads.
This explains the importance of avoiding boring and predictable introductory techniques. Besides formulating essays, you must avoid wasting your time and energy.
College admission essay is more creative. Therefore, it would be best not to use overused formulas for something more original.
How to pick a college admissions essay topic?
It's usually difficult to find an essay topic to write about and how. In college applications, there can often be many prompt essays. It's generally broad-open questioning that gives the student an open opportunity to explore multiple subjects, Barron said.
College admissions essays are not autobiographies. It seems overwhelming when a writer can summarize his entire life in one article, but it is possible.
There are a few things to consider when picking a topic:
- First, think about what you want to say about yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What makes you unique?
- Secondly, consider what the admissions officers are looking for in an essay. They want to know more about you as a person, not just your academic achievements.
- Finally, don't be afraid to be personal and show your true self in your essay. The admissions officers will appreciate it!
Picking a college essay topic can be daunting, but if you take the time to brainstorm and reflect on what you want to say, it'll be much easier. Keep these tips in mind and you'll be on your way to writing a great college essay!
How to structure and outline a college essay?
In my essay preparation, I ask students 'Do I have any major obstacles in my life? How would you write a book about this one? It's a key distinction because you'll never need to list the difficulties on your personal statement.
I have cited this because I think many students think writing about challenging tasks would be a better option for them or expected. It is an option. No. That's the truth. There are many wonderful essays that got students in almost every school you were looking for but had no central problem.
What should be included in a college essay?
In my previous blog post, APPLICATION ADVICE | HOW TO APPLY FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL IN 7 EASY STEPS, I give a general outline of what should be included in a college admissions essay. I will illustrate it here as well:
- Introduction: (one paragraph) Start with a strong leading sentence to grab the attention of the person reading your essay. They go through a lot of applications, so you want to make sure your application stands out with a strong first paragraph. I encourage my students to start with a personal story and tie that story into why they are applying to that specific program.
- Body: Include relevant research experience. Don’t be afraid to highlight your expertise in the body. Other applicants will, so this is not the time to be shy. You put in all that hard work during undergrad, so talk about it. Never brag, but always sound confident in your ability to bring your experience to your graduate school program.
- Conclusion: (one paragraph): Briefly state why this program fits your needs as a graduate student. If you are still not 100% sure of what you want to do during or after the program, choose ONE area of interest and talk about it here. No one will kick you out of the program if that changes later. But you have to sound decisive in your statement of purpose.
How long should a college essay be?
Keep it brief
The average college essay length is between 600 and 800 characters and the average student's introductory paragraph should contain at least 500-750 words. The “seed” must be sorted immediately. In your introduction, you should summarize the whole article. When you start your essay, you should have 300-500 words in it. Your essay should not exceed 30% of your total word count. However, we suggest limiting your introduction to 20% of your essay.
Editing and submitting college essays
When you are editing your college essays, make sure you take advantage of all the resources available to you. One resource is the writing center at your college or university. Another is other college students or even your educators. They are there to help you and want to see you succeed in higher education.
Never forget to read over your college admissions essays over and over before submitting them, especially if you are submitting to multiple schools (which I highly recommend). Get a friend to read over your essay prompts also. Maybe they can spot something that you did not. Check for the proper word count, if the essay prompt is addressed, and if the application essay is free of grammar errors.
Strong College Essay Examples
Starting an essay draft can be one thing, but never feel like you have to start from 0 to impress an admission officer. There are plenty of great essay examples online for you to look through to spark inspiration. But remember, never plagiarize! The chances of prospective students getting caught is too high.
Write a college essay by staying true to yourself, always.
To sum up:
So, if you want to know how to write a college essay that stands out, start by brainstorming some great topics and then doing your research. Once you understand the topic well, it’s time to start putting together your argument.
Be sure to structure your essay in a way that will make it easy for the admissions committee to understand your points, and always edit and proofread before submitting.
By now, you must be well-resourced on how to write an admissions essay and/or personal statement.
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