Your college application essay is a high stake assignment as far as determining your future course is concerned. You may have wonderful grades, test scores, and recommendations, but those do not fully guarantee that the college admissions board will pick you since there are hundreds if not thousands of other applicants with similar academic achievements. The college application officers want to know who you really are and how you perceive the world, you should therefore prepare and employ the right approach rather than rushing into writing your essays.
The starting point of your essay
The earlier you start preparing to write your college application essay, the higher the chances of getting a higher score. The purpose of the essay is for the admissions officials to know something unique about you that will convince them to pick you.
The best way to start your essay is by journaling. This will help bring out your authentic voice which will require very minimal adjustments by the time you are writing your college application essay. Journaling will help you express your mind easily on paper. You will find great ideas from your journal since you write in your journal what is important to you as well as your life objectives and aspirations. Pinpoint the ideas and topics that interest you, and then you can make use of the journal to get the possible essay material. Before you conclude on what topic to write on, you might just want to go through your personal inventory to mine for important data which you can use in your essay.
Your essay topic
In whichever topic you write about, make sure you express how things you describe have impacted on you. You need to focus on an idea that you encountered or found significance in. For instance, if you emerged the best student in a poetry competition, do not focus so much on how you won the award. Just mention briefly about the prize but get deeper describing how undertaking rigorous practice, utilizing your mentor’s wisdom and knowledge changed you completely. When answering the question, “why are you applying to our school,” bear in mind that your readers would like to know that you will graduate from their college and become a meaningful person to the school and the community.
You, therefore, need to gather as much information as possible. Apart from the institution’s website and brochures, you have to conduct more research using other resources. Check if you can get alumni of the school within your area or students who are currently studying in the institution. Get to know more from them how the school is really like. It adds more weight and confidence to your essay when you highlight your strengths in line with what the school is great at.
If you get to know that the institution’s literary magazine gets top ranking nationally and you are a good student of poetry, then you can mention how excited you are of getting a chance to have your poetry published if given an opportunity to study in the institution.
It is important for you to examine the topics clearly so you can settle on the one that will allow you to express yourself well. Remember you are selling yourself; you need to pick the topic you have great emotional connection with so you can win over your readers. If you have several topics that you feel you can be good at, then it’s perhaps wise for you to go back to your inventory to see the information that you already have regarding each topic. You can then single out the topic with the most exciting experiences and strong details for your essay.
Use an enticing introduction
What you should not forget is that the admissions officers are dealing with a great number of applications; they will rarely spend more than three minutes reading your application essay due to time constraint. The best technique in writing an application essay is to entice your readers from the start; they should get compelled to read further from your first sentence. In order to achieve this, you should first write the rough draft then you can extract something interesting from your writing to introduce your essay.
Work on engaging your readers’ emotions if you want them to connect with you easily. You can use an emotional statement to hook them in your opening sentence, for example, telling them how you felt about something. You should be intriguing, let the admissions officers be wondering what you are up to as they seek to read more. Very short anecdotes of exciting life experiences will keep the readers hooked wanting to know what really transpired.
You should then establish an easy connection between the introduction and the body of your essay. After having a dynamic start, proceed by linking the hook with your personal experience as you convey your thoughts.
Students always fall into the trap of trying too hard to impress the admissions officers by conveying what they are not. This should not be the case because colleges are interested in your personality and would like to know what you are capable of bringing on board into their student body. You should be original, present your own personal voice. Your readers will easily lose touch with you if they realize you are not authentic.
Do not go too far back in time
Just write about your recent past. The application officials are much interested in the person you are today. It won’t make a lot of difference to write about something that happened when you were very young unless it is something that greatly impacted the person you are today.
Avoid societal issues, focus on personal issues instead
When it comes to societal and political matters, you may not have a unique perspective to contribute unless you were directly involved. Just think local and personal.
Do not write about weird experiences
You do not want to expose those absurd things you did when you are seeking to impress the admissions officials. They should see you as a responsible and competent person. Leave the weird things to yourself and focus on your strengths.
Revise, edit and proofread your essay
College application essays are meant to impress admissions officers, and the easiest way to achieve this is by using strong writing skills. You cannot create a good impression with poor writing skills. A spelling mistake is enough to make you lose touch with the admissions officers. Therefore, it is of great importance for you to revise, edit and proofread your application essay before you submit them.
When you are through with your draft, give yourself a break of like a day or more before coming to revise it. It may be hard to check some errors immediately. But if you do not have that extra time to wait, then it will be wise to have another person go through your work.
You can then edit your work by reading through each paragraph while paying attention to each word in every sentence. Do not be entirely dependent on the computer spell-check programs while correcting errors in your essays. Read your work, again and again, to make sure you are not repeating yourself and that you are providing enough details. It is good to take your time while proofreading your essays; it is also recommendable to get some other pair of fresh eyes to help pinpoint the errors that do escape your eyes.