College Admission You Deserve: How to Write an Outstanding College Essay
It’s not easy at all to become a high school senior. If you’re a senior, it means that you spent twelve years studying, and now you just start planning what your further life will look like. Perhaps, you’ve taken your AP exams or even admission exams, you participated in various associated activities, and now you have a strong basis for your future in college. However, even more work is waiting for you. You will have a chance to take a breath in the second semester but you have to do your best during your first semester to prepare a good college essay.
A college essay is a serious task that may be overwhelming. On the other hand, it’s the most interesting part of the application process. Working on your application, you provide statistics and numbers which tell all but nothing about you as a personality. Of course, the admissions committee needs all this information to evaluate candidates and understand the performance of each one of them but the essay is your only chance to tell them about yourself, defining who you are. Even if your grades are lower than you want them to be, you can create a great first impression, telling others about your personality that cannot be described by numbers and statistics.
We decided to draw up simple guidelines so you can follow our advice and create an essay that will likely impress the admissions committee, pushing you a little closer to your dream. The same advice may help you if you’re going to apply to graduate school because the same principles apply to statements of purpose.
- The 90-Minute Brainstorm
This is a great exercise that helps you get a clear idea of what your main priorities and goals are. You need only 90 minutes of your free time. Make sure that nothing will disturb you during this exercise. Furthermore, we suggest using a paper and a pen instead of the laptop because such an approach will exclude the possible impact of the internet, which is probably the most common distraction.Once you’ve prepared a comfortable place, write 100 random questions. The point is that you must write everything that comes to your mind, without analyzing it or thinking about details. You are not limited in what questions to write. It may be anything like, for example, “Why the sea is blue?” or “Who am I and what is the purpose of my life?” Keep writing and don’t stop to change something. When you finish a hundred questions, keep writing until your time is up. Now let your pages rest for a day or a little longer. The main thing is to be clear and honest. Nobody but you will see the results of such an exercise, anyway.
- The 60-Minute Bucketing Exercise
This is the next step. You need 60 minutes to review all questions written during the brainstorm, classifying them by categories. Read your questions and define a few categories that correspond to the related questions. You can create any groups, such as Me, Career, Friends, Physics, College, and so on. Make at least 10 categories, and take a one-day break again.
- The 90-Minute Self-Appreciation
Now it’s time to write something good about yourself. You have to write 5-10 things for each category. You can mention your grades, your friendly character, curiosity, or anything that you consider your good and strong side. If you’re a shy person, don’t stop yourself being afraid to make your list of strong sides too bragging. You write it only for yourself, and you have to evaluate your personality. You have to focus on your positive sides in order to create a proper mindset that will give you more self-confidence. Your self-confidence is a crucial thing for a college essay.
- Hard-Look Exercise
Everything in our lives hides some challenges. You have to write a list of the most common challenges for each category. Perhaps you try to learn a new language, or you feel frustrated after your team lost, or argue with your classmates about some project. Write from 5 to 10 points for each of your categories. The purpose of this exercise is to help you understand what experience you would never have if you didn’t face these challenges. Such reflections are a great way to reflect your life and think of the most important life lessons that you’ve learned.
- Write About Yourself
Now you have to analyze everything written before, looking at these categories at a positive angle and taking into account all challenges associated with each category. Here you can express your writing talent. You can try various approaches, writing stories or anecdotes that illustrate your life. Include your achievements and long-term goals, add some favorite quotes. You have to create a multi-dimensional picture of who you are, creating an informative and very personal basis for your essay. The main feature of a college essay is that it gives you a chance to stand out. There are many candidates who have the same marks as you. They may have the same level of knowledge and skills but you have many unique personal features that make you different from anyone else. What makes you special? What are your passions, hobbies, unique experiences worth sharing them with others? The admission committee cannot understand what a person you are by just looking at your grades and results of your tests. What you consider the most important to know about you? You need to write 20 paragraphs in total.
- Trusted Advisor Consultation
You can meet your parents, friends, teachers, or anyone who is your trusted advisor. The main point is to talk to someone who really cares about your success and who can help you understand how adult people think. Show these people your 20 paragraphs and ask them about their opinion. Take into account what they say and make necessary changes in your essay.
- Read Your Instructions
The Common Application is accepted by most colleges. It allows you to apply to various colleges using the same statement of purpose. Along with the statement, you might need to answer additional questions. Likewise, colleges that don’t accept the Common Application usually have similar requirements.
However, even though you can apply to various colleges using the same content, you must get acquainted with requirements of each particular educational facility. You will likely need to adapt your essay to each school because schools may have different numbers of words required, and they may support different format options. Obviously, you also have to prepare for specific additional questions.
Once you’ve processed all tips from your trusted advisors, take your time and rewrite your essay in the first person. Be natural and try to sound like you talk in the real life. You have to be confident. Use a little bit of humor and move closer to your readers. You must let them feel who you are. Imagine yourself writing a letter to your good friend and think what you would focus on. We suggest starting with a hook and supporting your story with evidence and concrete examples because some general rules of essay writing are applied even for narrative essays. On the other hand, your main goal is to be natural, providing readers with your unique perspective. Get excited about your story, approach it with passion, and be honest with your readers. The admissions committee always checks their candidates’ accounts on social media, so make sure to not sugarcoat the truth more than necessary. Remember that you don’t need to repeat information that is present in other parts of your application. The essay must provide readers with a new unique vision of you as a person. Keep in mind that some facts that you consider not really important about yourself may look exciting for others.
- Get More Feedback
Your first draft must be polished, so now get to editing your essay. First of all, make sure that your text meets all necessary requirements. Check your guidelines once again and edit your essay according to the given prompts. Share it with your teachers, friends, counselors, parents, and anyone whose opinion may be useful. Let them express their thoughts on the structure and content of your college essay.
- The Final Touch
Consider all the feedback but don’t change too much. Remember that you must be yourself. After this, you must make sure that your essay doesn’t have any spelling, grammar, or punctuation mistakes. If you want your thoughts to be appreciated by the admission committee, you must know how to wrap them in the perfect grammar.However, many students have problems with this part. Thus, we suggest asking your trusted advisors to help you with this. They may find some mistakes that you don’t see. Another great solution is asking professional editors for help. Make sure that the committee will see that you’ve put your best efforts in this essay.
Think of your essay as of the great opportunity to show your positive sides. It’s not just another part of your stressful application, it’s your chance to share your experience, use your creativity, and talk about something that is really important to you. We also suggest joining student groups where you can talk about common topics and help each other with typical problems. When you get into college, you can also share your experience and knowledge with younger students, helping them in achieving their goals.