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How Do I Write a Great College Essay?

Have you ever applied for something and wished you could just say how much you want to be selected and why you’d be the best fit? I had that feeling when I applied to my top-choice college. And thankfully, I got the chance when I wrote my college essay—and I got in.

When you apply for college, you’ll be asked to write an essay or a personal statement that you’ll submit as part of your application. This is your chance to tell the college admissions team who you are as a person—outside of your academic accomplishments. You may be given a specific prompt to respond to or have more freedom in your writing, but above all else, here is what you should work to accomplish with your essay:

  • Share your unique story. Depending on the essay prompt, you’ll get the chance to discuss your personal experiences, what you’re passionate about, and what your academic and career goals are.
  • Stand out from the crowd. Be compelling, engaging, and honest in your writing. Admissions officers read thousands of essays each year—show why you’re a unique and valuable applicant through your story.
  • Show youre a good fit for the student population. What are your interests and aspirations, and why are you interested in this college? By sharing this, you can demonstrate how well you will fit into their community.

You may be wondering how to approach writing an essay that accomplishes all of this. With thoughtful planning, you can craft a well-written piece that touches on all the important and engaging points you want to make. Here are some helpful tips for you as you approach the writing process:

  • Start early so that you have plenty of time to brainstorm, write, and revise your message.
  • Choose an interesting topic or story that is meaningful to you. It should showcase your personality, interests, aspirations, and writing ability.
  • Carefully read and follow the directions and make sure your essay follows the prompt.
  • Show, don’t tell, by using specific examples and anecdotes that demonstrate your points.
  • Be authentic and write a story that reflects who you are and not who you think the admissions team wants you to be.
  • Thoroughly proofread your essay for any errors or contradictions and ask someone else to give it a readthrough as well.
  • Pay attention to the specified length for your essay. Colleges typically provide a word or page range, so it’s crucial to adhere to these guidelines.
  • Ask a teacher, counselor, or mentor for feedback on your topic and the examples you’ve provided. They can offer valuable insights and suggestions for improvement—use them!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or concerned about writing your college essay, know that you are not alone. The written portion of your application can have a big impact on the overall strength of your application, but with careful planning and thoughtful brainstorming, you can create a masterpiece that captivates the admissions officer who gets to read your story.

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