College Essay Writing Tips

There is no magic formula to writing a college essay that will get you accepted by every college to which you apply. Mainly, college admission officers just want to find out who you are. Here are 10 tips to help them find out.
1. Not every college requires an Essay or Personal Statement, but almost every college will allow you to submit one. Whether a college requires an essay as part of their application or not, it’s usually a good idea to submit one. The essay can help separate your application from other similar applications, especially from those that have chosen not to submit an essay. 2. Through the Essay, colleges are looking to find out additional information from you that they otherwise would not have learned. Don’t repeat information provided elsewhere. Often, the college essay is your only opportunity to speak directly to the admissions committee in your own words. 3. Try to limit yourself to about a page (unless otherwise specified). The reality is that admissions officers read hundreds or thousands of essays each admission cycle, and they often don’t have that much time to spend reading any one individual essay. 4. Don’t just re-phrase previous information, such as writing about your grades or the activities in which you participate; colleges will already see these things in your application, on your transcript, or from your resume (if you include a resume; I recommend you include one). 5. Don’t try to write something that sounds overly impressive. Admissions Officers aren’t looking to be amazed by you; they just want to learn about who you are. Try to use one or two events/activities you’ve been involved with or an event that was significant to you to help showcase your personality. 6. Avoid controversial topics. Most admissions officers are objective, but you never know who will be reading your essay or how they will react to something controversial. Remember: the main thing admissions officers are looking to take away from the essay is what kind of person you are! 7. Write about something you really like to talk about. Your enthusiasm (or lack of) will come out through your writing. If you write about something you care about, you’re already a step ahead. 8. Talk about why something is important to you or how it affected you rather than just talking about what it was or when it happened. 9. When possible, it can be beneficial to relate your personal statement/essay back to your reasons for wanting to attend college or wanting to study your intended major. Some colleges require you to do this with a specific essay prompt (i.e. “Why do you want to attend College X and/or study Major Y?). 10. The reality is that the majority of essays neither help nor hurt you. Rarely does writing an essay hurt your application. For those that craft an authentic essay, it can certainly help make the difference.

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