Last Update: April 19, 2021

College Essay Success

Congratulations! The fact that you are looking up tips on college essays indicates your desire to write a successful essay. Research is always the best way to start when it comes to targeting your audience. Just think about people in sales jobs – what better way to make that sale than to know what your potential customer wants? It is no different for you as a college applicant. You need to sell your college admissions audience on your potential as a member of their academic community. One of the best ways to do this is to write an interesting and convincing essay.

Five Important Tips for Writing Your College Essay

  1. Give Them What They’re Asking For – Be sure to answer the essay question given. It’s pretty basic but stick to the topic, develop it, and support it. In addition, be sure to write your essay specifically for that school. Don’t recycle your essays.
  2. Be Original – Imagine reading essay after essay. It’s no different from employers scouring resume after resume. Think about what is really significant and powerful to you and about you. If you write from the heart it will immediately draw in your audience. Use your natural style; don’t be overly formal and stilted. The essay reader wants to know what kind of person you are. Take a stand and support your information. A fearful, “trying-to-hard-to-say-what-you-want-to-hear” essay isn’t going to fool anyone. Remember, they read these en masse every year.
  3. Make it Easy to Read – Your content doesn’t have to be simplistic, but all readers desire content to be easy to read. No one wants to struggle through your essay. If your structure is poorly planned and executed, your reader may not even make it through to the end. Organization is very important. Always have a thesis and don’t stray from your topic. Support your thesis with interesting and solid information. Again, stick to the topic and don’t run-on, ramble, or take on an idea too wide to cover. Transition smoothly between supporting points and use a pleasing, neat format. Appearances are the first thing that will invite or turn-off your reader.
  4. Focus on the Future – Often you’ll have to provide background, like what you’ve learned and where you’ve come from in your essay. It’s all part of who you are. Yet, students often make the mistake of focusing too much on the past. Show that you are a forward-thinker. Discuss your intentions if possible – what you strive to accomplish and why. Admissions really needs to have more confidence about where you are going than where you have been.
  5. Prove Your Value – The role of a college’s admissions staff is to select the best from its pool of applicants. You must give your readers a reason to feel you’ll be an asset to the college. Your accomplishments, challenges, and attitudes will all show what kind of potential you have as a student and member of the campus, not to mention what kind of alumnus you will be. The college’s reputation is affected by the students they turn out and the successes they have. The value you bring has a lot to do with the value of the college itself. Don’t leave information up to interpretation, answer your essay with specific information that proves something (or many things) that are positive about you.

Successfully implementing these five steps in your college essay will make your essay one that stands out among the rest. Your original, future-focused, easy-to-read, specific, value-proving essay will need only one more thing – proofreading! After all this hard work, don’t let careless errors ruin your well-crafted essay!

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