How to Write a Good College Essay. The essay can be one of the most daunting aspects of a college application. You have the grades, the test scores, but now you have to put yourself down on paper? It can seem virtually impossible and far too how to write a good essay of a request.
But in reality, this is the one topic you know best–as long as you follow these guidelines, your paper will show those old guys exactly what you have to offer. A personal essay, fortunately or unfortunately, can be about anything. But it can also work to your advantage because it gives you the freedom of choosing what most suits you. What’s an experience that changed you? What’s the best part of your day?
All in all, what would you enjoy writing about? Don’t be afraid to be controversial. Universities are places for the learned and the worldly. It is perfectly fine to write about politics, religion, or something serious as long as your paper is well-written and thought out. If a global issue applies to you, write about it. You won’t be one of those papers that is forgotten.
Don’t be afraid to be mundane. However, there’s something to be said for a beautifully simple paper. How many essays will the panel read that are a scene from the family dinner table? Your morning process of waking? Something incredibly minute–not some life-altering event–can stand alone in it’s uniqueness if made relevant and thought-provoking. Striving to be anyone else in this paper will shine through more than any other quality.
The purpose of the essay is to show the admissions committee the real you, why you think and act the way you do, and what motivates you. A casual, relaxed tone will make you seem like a human and not just an applicant. Don’t pad your paper with big words that you just looked up in the thesaurus. Before you set off to write your paper, know what you want to write. Take a moment to just think. That way, when you do sit down to put pen to paper, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to say and won’t get frustrated with writer’s block.
Give yourself a while to write it. If you start the night before it’s due, you’ll be pounding Red Bull and pulling your hair out. Take a day off to let it come to you. Lie in bed, stare at those glow-in-the-dark stars on your ceiling and let inspiration wash over you. The panel is reading piles and piles of applications every day.
Halfway through your life story, they’re bound to write you off. Keeping it simple and to the point is in both parties’ interests. If you have to go beyond this for some reason, keep it under 500. Too long and your reader may put it off. Don’t waste any of those precious words on statements like, “and that’s why I want to go to your college. It’s awkward, forced, and downright unnecessary.
But just like you wouldn’t go up to someone and shout, “LIKE ME! This will be easy to do if your paper is you–honest and accurate. Colleges are concerned with the community life on their campus, too. They want to make sure their student body is full of people with character, people willing to make their community even better. If you know something about their college, slip it in. An organization of theirs that parallels your past experiences, a fact you learned that ties into your life, too, whatever. Keep this minimal, but feel free to show you’ve done your homework.
However, make sure it’s accurate. Showing you’re misguided is not the intention. Offensive jokes and self-deprecating humor are not acceptable here. Writing something you couldn’t care less about–even if it’s stereotypically controversial or generally unique–would scare off anyone. If you can make it indicative of your personality, genuine, relevant, and concise, it’s doable. If the thing that excites you most in this world is Star Trek, make it work.