8 tips for a great college admissions essay

Tell Me... by Gaby Av licensed under CC BY 2.0

Tell Me… by Gaby Av licensed under CC BY 2.0

The college admissions essay can play a very large role in the admissions process. The essay is what can set students apart from other students with similar backgrounds, test scores and grades. To ensure you submit the best essay to the admissions committees, here are some tips:

Do not rely on spell check alone. Spell check is a great tool to point out spelling and grammar errors. However, spell check is not intuitive and will not catch errors such as using the wrong word.

Answer the entire essay question. This seems like something that should go without saying, but it happens all the time. Students are so caught up in telling a story that they forget about answering the entire question. Most college admissions prompts will have a “what” and a “why.” Make sure the essay answers both questions.

Tell a unique story. Thousands of students will choose the same essay prompt. It is very easy for students to choose the same topic for the essay. When essays are similar, they will not stand out to the admissions committee. Before submitting the essay, ask the question, “Could someone else send in the same essay?” If the answer is yes, add something to the story that makes it unique to writer.

Do not use big words to impress. While knowing big words is important on the SAT, it is not very important in the college admissions essay. The most important thing in the college admissions essay is sending in a well-written, unique essay. When students use big words for the specific purpose of impressing the reader, the reader can usually tell. Write an essay that flows smoothly, and some times big words are not the right choice for essay flow.

Be yourself. Many students think they have to write about a specific topic because it will impress the admissions committee. However, many times, admissions readers can see right through this practice. Admissions committees want to read authentic essays about the student. Students should be themselves when writing the essay.

Be proud of yourself. Many students do not think there is anything that makes them unique. They think that being themselves in the admissions essay will not impress the readers. However, everyone has something to be proud of and the college admissions process is the best time to not be humble. Every student is unique. Students should take the time to get to know themselves and what makes them unique.

Make the essay specific to the college. Many colleges will have an essay that asks, “Why us?” While it is encouraged to recycle college admissions essays, essays must be edited to reflect interested in that particular college.

Proofread and edit your essays. Students should read the essay they wrote many times before submitting it to their college of choice. Take a few days away from the essay and read it again. Students should also ask people they trust to read and provide recommendations for the essay. Sometimes others can see a mistake the writer will continue to miss.

As college admissions becomes more competitive, the admissions essay will continue to grow in importance. Before submitting the college admissions essay, make sure the essay follows the tips above.

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