Students: Top 10 Tips to write a successful college application essay

HTWB studentIn these times when admission to colleges and universities is harder than ever before, Nellie Aldridge from shares her tips on writing a successful college application essay that really does work. Whether for you or a friend or relative, take note – this is useful information!

Here’s Nellie…

Unlike other parts of the college application, the college application essay is where your voice gets to come out and be heard. The following are ten useful tips for writing a successful college application essay.

1.      Be yourself
Colleges and universities want to get an idea of you as an individual and how you can enrich their academic institution. But don’t lie, exaggerate, or tell the committee what you think they want to hear. Being yourself will be much more useful.

2.      Grab the admissions committee’s attention
If you want the admissions committee to read your essay longer than 30 seconds, you’re going to have to think of something interesting to write about.

3.      Don’t shy away from controversy
Sometimes controversy can be useful. If there is something you truly believe in, support it with data, facts, and write about it. This can be a good way of showing the committee that you’re intellectually curious and not afraid of stating your opinion. Just don’t go after anyone’s race, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, etc. Not only is this not polite but the committee will likely not find it cute.

4.      Use concrete personal examples
Instead of saying something blasé like “I’ve always enjoyed helping my community,” say something enlightening like “I enjoy going after school to the Boys and Girls Club to volunteer my time.” Just be careful not to turn your essay into a narrative resume.

5.      Use active verbs and transitions
An essay without these will bore your audience to tears.

6.      Don’t use slang, but don’t use pretentious language
It’s important not to use slang or informal speech in your admissions essay. By the same token, don’t whip out a thesaurus and insert the most complicated words you can find.

7.      If there is a specific essay question, be sure to answer it
Not following instructions will not be taken well by the admissions committee.

8.      Narrowly focus your essay and keep to the point
Most of these essays only leave enough space for a certain number of characters or words. Therefore, make every word count!

9.      Begin writing early and revise often
Leave yourself at least a few months to really think about what you want to say. Additionally, give yourself space from your writing and continually revise it from time-to-time. This often gives a lot of clarity and perspective.

10.  Ask trusted, credible people to read it
Ask teachers, parents, or any educated adult to read your essay and give their two cents.

If you utilize all the tips in this article, you’re sure to write a well-written, thoughtful, and interesting college application essay.

Good luck!

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