Writing a college admissions essay may be a daunting task. Whether you’re bucking to be the first high school student to win a Nobel Peace Prize or your greatest accomplishment is getting to homeroom on time, you’re probably not sure exactly what to write in your required admissions essay.
According to experts, some of the best admissions essays are about ordinary life experiences such as learning how to drive or the first big argument with your parents and the way it was resolved.
It is important to remember that the main reason why you are requested to write an admissions essay is that the staff wants to get to know you. What is it that your transcript can’t convey about you, your experiences, and your personality, your passions and dreams.
Writing an admissions essay
Always try to think critically about your experiences and consider their significance in a broader context. For example, if you write about your grandfather’s illness, you might want to focus on how that affected your relationship with her and your family in general.
Once you decide on your topic and begin to write your admissions essay always follow the essay guidelinies. If the essay guidelines specify a 500-word limit, it means 500 words. If there is no limit specified try to keep your essay at about 500 words.
Keep in mind that you are writing for a particular audience. Admissions representatives are not your peers! Do not use slang and obscure references to impress them.
Use correct grammar. Nothing says sloppy and careless like an essay that uses poor grammar. Double check each sentence for structure, clarity, word choice, spelling, and punctuation. This is very important.
Choose your words carefully. You’re guaranteed a dull essay if you generalize, use too few or too many adjectives, or use clichés and colloquialisms. Describe experiences and events in a way that it will make them interesting to the reader.
Write in your own voice and style. No matter how much you admire Ernest Hemingway, don’t try to emulate his, or anyone else’s, writing style. Remember, this essay is all about you. Let your own style shine through.
Make sure that the humour you use in your admissions essay is universal. Ask yourself whether the person reading your essay will understand your sense of humor. If you’re in doubt, perhaps it would be best to refrain from it.
Proofread and revise your admissions essay before you hand it in. Best way to do that is to print it out, read each sentence slowly, check for spelling, and revise for clarity. Put your paper aside for at least a day. Then read it again, implement your changes, and proofread a final time.
A common practice is asking someone else to read your admissions essay before sending it to schools. Ask your English teacher or your guidance counselor perhaps. Try asking someone with some experience and someone you trust. An objective reader can often find mistakes you’ve overlooked.