10 Fail Safe Tips for Writing a Winning College Application Essay
Getting accepted to any college or university is getting harder every year as more students apply for what continues to be a limited amount of spaces. The process of writing your college application essay can be stressful time, since this one piece could make or break your chances of getting into the school of your choice. We spent a lot of time thinking about what tips can help make the process easy, while improving your chances in writing a winning college application essay. Here are 10 tips you should consider:
- Be an Individual
- Be Honest
- Be Likable
- Be Concise
- Be Coherent
- Be Vivid
- Be Accurate
- Be Controversial (if it can apply)
- Be Cautious of Humor
- Be Intelligent
Most likely, you are applying from high school. This means you are a teenager who’s expected to be doing teenage things. It’s the way you think at this age that makes you an individual with a wide range of possibilities and interests. Be yourself, be an individual.
Don’t attempt to exaggerate or embellish your achievements. It’s perfectly okay to be a junior editor at your school’s newsletter rather than the lead editor. You don’t have to be the star to show that you have committed yourself to a rewarding activity.
Colleges should be viewed as communities, where you will have to get along with others and respect others’ points of view and beliefs. Figure out subtle ways to show that you are someone who can respectfully participate in the community.
Most requirements state you should have a minimum of about 250 or 300 words, with no upper limit. Don’t shoot for anything over 600 words. The admissions committee doesn’t want to spend more than a few minutes reviewing a single paper.
You don’t want to go on any rants or digressions. Choose a single subject and stick to it. Don’t get distracted and start writing about anything that pops into your head. Colleges realize you will have a limited time to get your point across, so don’t worry about needing to provide large landscapes of background.
The best college application essays tend to reflect a well-told story. Use relevant details to paint a picture, but don’t get bogged down with creating an entire landscape. Describe settings and use names of places and people to give your essay a human touch.
Be sure to focus on all the mechanics of good writing (not just spellcheck). Look to use clear and simple English, good grammar and flawless punctuation. The admissions committee will appreciate a paper that doesn’t trip them up at every corner.
Don’t play it safe with blandness. It’s okay to write about religion, politics, a serious social, etc., as long as you are thoughtful and balanced with your approach. Show that you can think critically and can express your ideas clearly.
You never know what kind of an audience you will face when you walk on stage to present your comedy routine. While it’s good to be light-hearted in some cases, it’s good for you to watch what you write when you are trying to be funny.
It’s helpful to show your intelligence, to discuss what interests you the most and what thoughts or discussions you find challenging. Don’t rely on merely stating what your intended major is but focus more on providing what reasons you have for choosing it.