5 Easy Steps to Write a Great College Application Essay

college prep high school writing tips Mar 11, 2022

When applying to colleges, many aspects can make you stand out from the crowd. Here are 5 easy steps to write a great college application essay:

Be Different

Make your opening paragraph interesting by creating a compelling hook. Most application essays start a little bland. To avoid this, start with something different.

The middle of a scene is a great way to start a story. Put the audience right in the middle of the action (screenwriters call this a "cold-open"). Movies that start with a cold opening often grab the audience's attention early on. They are the kind of story you can not get enough of.

Be Specific With Your Examples

Be specific about the things that matter, and use examples that advance your story rather than describing the sky and flowers. The admissions office wants to demonstrate that you have what it takes to succeed at their school. Give specific examples and show how the school fits into the picture.

When writing about your accomplishments, use specific anecdotes to provide context to your story. Tell a story about how you overcame an obstacle or problem. Then explain why it was essential for you to overcome that obstacle.

Don't be vague. Instead, use specific, vivid examples to back up your story.

For example: "During my sophomore year, I faced my biggest test yet: failing my chemistry final."

Now explain the circumstances behind this. Maybe you were too confident, didn't study enough, or you thought you understood the subject matter and were completely caught off guard. Write about your emotional state before the test and after once you get your results.

Did you panic? Did you doubt yourself? Did this impact other classes?

After describing this, write down what you learned from your mistake and how you can apply it to future exams.

Be Clear Rather Than Clever

Don't try to be clever with your wording.

Be as clear as possible in your writing. This should be easy since you are writing about yourself.

Write about the specific skills you bring to the table and your specific experience to help you succeed in the future career you want.

What are your specific career goals, and how will the degree from this program help you achieve those lifetime goals? Why, specifically, are you a good fit for this program?

It's Ok to Admit Weakness

You are human and still young. You do not have it all figured out yet. Nobody does. But depending on the circumstances, admitting weakness can help you in the long run.

In your essay(s), explain the challenges you faced and what you did to overcome them. Did something you tried to overcome fail?

Did you have multiple failures? Did you struggle to learn the lesson?

We have all failed at one time or another. When you write about your lessons, it is interesting and makes you likable. It also shows that you are maturing emotionally and will deal with unexpected situations in the future.

Be Positive

Always be positive in your application. Nothing looks worse than someone who writes an application that is negative or makes no sense.

Application essay writing can seem daunting, but it can be one of the easiest and best essays you will ever write with a bit of thought and planning.

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