Sometime or the other most of the people have to do this – write a college application. Writing an essay while applying for admission to a college is an essential part of the college application. The application essay is sure to have a very deep impact on the career advancement of any individual. The writing of the college application essay needs a thorough knowledge and practice, or at least an understanding of what it should cover as its content. An essay is a perfect way of showing the admission officers exactly who you are and what you can do.
The biggest advice given to the students by the admission officers for writing an essay is ‘Be yourself’ and ‘Start early’. This is the best advice for living a life as well. Are you confusing the college application essay with a simple academic essay? The approach of writing an academic essay and a college application essay is totally different. An introduction, a thesis statement, some informative paragraphs and then the conclusion is the standard pattern followed for writing the academic essays. However, for the college application essay, the pattern is hugely different.
So how to write the college Application essay is the next question. Well, before starting or doing anything, you must be clear in your mind about what is the purpose of doing it. The purpose of writing a college application essay is to make your application look strong and full of life. The admission officers ask for such a college application essay for a reason. They want to get a hint about your genuine personality which stands apart from your grades, trophies etc. Does it sound scary? It is not so. You have the freedom to choose what to share and what not to share. Here, how you share stands more important.
6 Things you need on your college application:
Before understanding how to write an essay, let us discuss what things you need on your college application. There are 6 things you need for your college application. These things are definitely looked up by the admission officers in their prospective student.
Grades is one of the primary things. Together with the previous grades, they check the course level. Those who take some rigorous course and perform well, they are definitely preferred over others. Choose the course you could handle. Highlight your grades well in the college application.
2. Test scores:
If you have given the entrance exam for getting the entry into some college, those scores also needed to be included in the college application. The test scores are also given importance in the admission process.
This is one of the very crucial parts of the college application process. Why I am saying it is crucial because if you have written a good and impressive, you can make up for the average grades or marks with it. The essay leaves a mark on the minds of the admission officers. They can overlook your grades/test scores if your essay succeeds to impress them. An essay should be written very precisely and with some faith. The essay gives you a chance to introduce your true self. Nowhere else in the admission process will you be able to discuss yourself or your psychology or ambitions. So try to take full advantage of an essay.
The resume gives the opportunity to the admission officers to know the things about which you are more passionate about. The resume is made not just for the show of grades but to show how you utilize your time and energy. Doing a lot of activities and then presenting them effectively in the Resume is not going to help you a lot. Instead, showing a few activities that prove your determination for them is best.
Recommendations from some authenticated and trustworthy sources help the admission officers to know the true side of your personality. If a recommendation comes from your school counselor or teacher, it is highly respected and trusted. If you can get the recommendation from the teachers of all the core academic subjects, you can make your resume more reliable.
A one-to-one interview is a very old way of evaluating and judging the personality of the student. But with time the value of this method has decreased significantly. Now-a-day, an essay is given more importance in the interview. If you have written a good essay that doesn’t mean you ignore the interview part, be always ready to face any interview. But you need to make both the parts strong: interview and essay.
How to write a college application essay?
Now, when we have discussed in detail about what the college application must include and why the essay is an important part of the application. It is time we must start to learn how to write a compelling essay. There are some useful tips for writing a compelling application essay which I am discussing here.
1. Understand the given prompt:
You cannot start writing the essay until you do not truly understand the prompt. You must read the prompt, question or topic once, twice or thrice if required, to understand the gist. The idea must sink deep inside your mind and heart before you start writing. A prompt may have various sides to it, and it is you who have to decide whether you have to defend, expand upon, support or reject it. This requires a good level of brainstorming. So understanding the prompt must be the first priority of the applicant.
2. Brainstorming for the Prompt:
After you have taken the cues from the prompt and developing an understanding of it, now it is the time to brainstorm for the topic. This stage seems to be the most bothersome to most of the applicants. For some applicants writing in an organized manner and with a good vocab is not a big issue, but for them, deciding in mind about what exactly they should write is very daunting. Actually, the doubts and the vagueness of thoughts demotivates and disheartens the applicants at large. They try to close the eyes to avoid it. However, remember, this is not the solution. The stage is difficult but can be overcome with determination. If you have brainstormed well, the admission officers take the cue that you have the needed leadership qualities.
When you brainstorm, many ideas come to your mind, and you just get lost in them. This further frustrates. So the best way is to narrow down the ideas/options to two or three and starts to concentrate on them only. The idea which captures more about who you really are must be given more importance over others. Weave your essay around this point and do not leave any stone unturned to show your best abilities, beliefs, achievements etc.
3. Make an outline for an essay example:
Now, when you are done with the brainstorming process, it is the time to outline a rough plan of writing. Just as an architect make a blueprint, in the same way, you also make a rough draft of the article. The draft must contain a rough flow of the essay. Even in the changing time, no one can deny that every piece of writing must have at least a beginning and an ending and something in between that. While writing, you must keep in mind the following things:
Highlight your personality and be yourself:
The students make the frequent mistake by highlighting the facts like how particular big school was in which they studied, how they scored well in all the extracurricular activities there etc. The admission officers, most of the times, are not interested to know all that. What they want to know is who you really are? If possible, it is best to share your personal thoughts and story. Grades, extracurricular activities, prizes and awards, teachers recommendations are all included in other parts of the application as well. So instead of highlighting all of this, creatively highlight your personality by focusing on your strong points and the best thoughts that you have.
Don’t just tell idea/thought but show the implementation of some thought/idea developed your faith in that:
So now you are clear about what is the major purpose of writing the college application essay. Now we will proceed to understand how to write a college application essay. For e.g. instead of just telling with a statement: “I like to work in a group, as I know, this is the best way to achieve the best of results.”
Be specific and tell the admission officer that how in some circumstance you came to realize the importance of being working in the group. What happened to you when you were working alone? What happened when you started to work in a group? What leadership qualities you learned while working? Isn’t this best to explain how you developed confidence about some thought instead of just talking about a thought you believe in? Actually, in this way, it sounds more logical and true. But you should keep one thing in mind, be true. Officers have several ways to find out if you are true or just building castles in the air.
Don’t just copy/paste, develop and use your own style:
Students first procrastinate writing an essay and then at the last moment they copy/paste the idea or thought or language of someone else. This is the biggest mistake they make. Admission officers can find out just by a look that you have written the ideas borrowed from someone else. I know, this is a difficult task, but if you try, you will definitely find a way and develop your own style. One thing that you should definitely keep in mind while writing in your own style is that your language should not be very formal. Nobody expects a business-like language in an essay from a student trying to take admission in college. Be humble and polite in your tone and express yourself gently.
Show the power of your vocab:
Vocab is a very important part of college-level. The admission officers at least expect that a student taking admission in a college must have at least a strong college-level vocabulary. But while doing this one must be extra cautious. Actually, what the college students do is in their zest for using a strong vocabulary, they use a thesaurus and make use of the synonyms, without being aware of the correct application.
Do you know the synonyms cannot be used directly, they have different application manner in the shade of which one needs to use them? Before using any synonym, look online for the examples where the word has been used in action. This will give you an idea about whether that word can be used in the way you expect it to use. Do a proper research on intended vocab use.
Be precise and write succinctly:
Why do you always get an advice that your writing must be precise? It is because of two reasons: (a) It proves that you are able to organize your thoughts in an understandable, meaningful and organized manner, and (b) It saves the time of the person checking it and shows that you value their time. It’s better to use a single word for a group of words or phrase, if possible.
4. Write the final draft, proof-read and take a second opinion:
Now, when you are done with the final outline, start writing the final draft. The outline will help you to achieve your goal correctly and quickly. After you have arranged all the parts of the essay well in line with the outline prepared. Proof-read your essay back to find any mistake. After that, get it checked by a teacher or a learned friend for any language, thought or vocab related mistake. You can take a second opinion about your article from anyone whom you trust for knowledge. Once all approve of your essay, you can now proceed to submit it.
Remember, the topic given for the essay vary from personal to trivial, but all of these are given to challenge you. Understand this and accept the challenge. Show the spark of your creativity and the level of insight you have. You can take help from the college application essay samples available online. But remember, write your own original essay if you are really serious about taking an admission.