How to Write a Stellar College Admission Essay

Tips On Writing A Great College Admission Essay Ready to write your college admission essay? This is your chance to share a little about yourself, and impress the admission board! Read on as online tutor Natalie S. shares her tips…

Undeniably, the hardest and most time-consuming part about applying to college is the essay portion of the application. This part of the process is what I spend most of the fall working on with my students. The essay topics tend to be questions that force students to think outside the box, and they all require students to employ different writing tactics and styles they are not generally accustomed to using.

However daunting it may initially seem, writing a college essay is not that difficult. Just like in math class, there is a formula to make writing your college admissions essay simple and even fun.

Here are six easy tips for writing a college admission essay that is sure to get noticed by your dream school!

  1. Start early. Most college applications are due between November and January, so start writing your essay over the summer. This will give you time to try different ideas out and see which one works best for you.

  1. Tell a story. The college admissions’ representatives have to read hundreds – maybe even thousands – of essays each. If you want to catch their eye, don’t just relay the facts about your life-changing trip to Bolivia; take the readers on a journey with you. Engage them; make them want to experience what you did. If you can grab their attention, you’ll grab a spot at their university.

  1. Take breaks. After you’ve written a draft, set your essay aside for a few days. Relax, put it out of your mind, and then come back to it with a fresh set of eyes. You’ll have better ideas and be less stressed out about the essay in general if you pause and look at your essay in stages instead of all at once.

  1. Just be you. Be true to yourself and include the details that make you stand out. The whole point of the college admission essay is to give you the opportunity to express yourself and your personality to the admissions team. The more unique information you can give, the better.

  1. Be confident in your essay topic. Remember that you have a lot to offer. You’ve worked hard to get to this point in your life, and you have a unique point of view. Don’t qualify your essay or weaken your opinions because you’re unsure if the colleges want to hear your view about your chosen topic. Write with conviction, and even if the admissions offices disagree with your opinion, they will respect you as a person.

  2. Work with a tutor! Tutors know what colleges are looking for when they read essays, and they can give you valuable feedback if you’re stuck. They may also give you motivation if you’re discouraged. Better still, a tutor is yet another set of proofreading eyes that can help you spot errors or weak paragraphs. Working with a tutor can help turn a good college admissions essay into a great essay.

Need more guidance? Below are examples of some of the most common essay questions.

Option #1: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Option #2: Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Option #3: Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

Option #4: Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

If you break down the daunting task of writing a college admission essay into these simple steps, suddenly it’s not so challenging. Just remember to relax, be true to yourself, and be confident in showing the world  (and your chosen college) just how unique and special you are. Good luck!

Natalie S.Natalie S. tutors online in English, ESL, History, Phonics, Reading, and Test Prep. She received her BA in English Education at the University of Delaware, and her MA in English Literature at San Diego State University. Learn more about Natalie here!



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