Writing an essay for college is an important part of the application process. More and more colleges are requiring at least some sort of writing sample in making their decisions regarding whether or not an applicant gets an offer to enroll in that particular institution. Because these essays can involve simple prompts and the chaos of applying to multiple colleges can get overwhelming, it is tempting to ignore the importance and rush through these writing portions. The truth is, though, that these essays can make or break a college application and it is vital that time is spent in their development. If you are struggling with writing your college essay, then, consider these tips on how to get the most from your writing process and leave the reviewers impressed.
1. Put Thought Into It
Too often individuals that are preparing for college essays do so with little effort. There is a rush to get it done rather than a systematic approach. This can be clearly identified by those that are reading these writing samples. Therefore, it is vital that those who are developing a college essay put time and thought into it. Brainstorming is essential in this process. Be sure that you take the time to really think about what you are going to write about and explore different ideas before you begin to put pen to paper or, more modernly, fingers to keyboard.
2. Do A Draft
You are not perfect, no one is. So do not expect your first draft of a college essay to be your final one. Make sure that you take the time to really let your thoughts go and create a rough outline. While this will not be your final deliverable product, it will give you some great insight into how to get your essay flowing in the right direction. Further, it will provide a tangible road map to help you know exactly where you are going in the final draft.
3. Make It Personal
Even if the prompt seems very broad, it is important that you make your essay personal. Readers and college reviewers want to know that they are getting something from a person rather than a robot. Canned responses that do not take the time to really speak to the person writing it can be very problematic and can be a red flag to the reader or review committee. Therefore, take the time to weave personal stories and relatable facts into your writing and make it personal without sounding narcissistic.
4. Make It Unique
As much as your essay should be personal. It should be unique as well. If there is a straightforward answer to the prompt or question being asked, this is often done on purpose. Those that are reading college applications are likely to get the same response time and time again to this type of question, and they understand that. It is those essays, however, that approach the subject matter or discussion in a unique way that are likely to get the attention—and the bid to enroll. Therefore, be sure that you make your writing and your essays unique by approaching the question or prompt in an out of the box way.
5. Do Not Lie
It can be tempting when writing an essay to look at someone else’s successful piece and take inspiration from their work. It can also be tempting to stretch the truth a bit farther than is necessary. The key to a successful essay above all else is to be honest in your writing. You want the application to be representative of you and you want the college to offer a bid to enroll to you. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are representing YOU in the essay.