Tips for Writing a Solid College Admissions Essay

by Nicole Perkins

Often, students dread having to write their Common Application essay or their college admission essays. This reaction to admission essays is understandable – so much is at stake.  After all, a solid Common Application essay often improves the student’s odds of being accepted into the college of their choice and can help secure valuable scholarship funds.  However, by breaking down the prompts and connecting it to the student’s life, the process of writing this essay should be more bearable.

Getting started

The Common App essay prompts change slightly every year, but the gist of the prompts is very predictable. The student can typically pick from prompts such as discussing a challenge the student overcame or a passion the student has. Brainstorming a topic is sometimes the hardest part. To help decide on a topic, the student should consider the following questions: What obstacle have you encountered? What do you look forward to? What advice would you give your 10-year-old self? How has your upbringing influenced who you are? These questions should help the student find a topic he or she feels comfortable discussing at length.

Begin with an Outline

The next step is to start writing. I suggest starting with an outline. The introduction should have an eye-catching lead sentence, followed by some important background information. The introduction should conclude with a thesis statement which succinctly summarizes what the student wants the reader to take away from the paper.

Onto the Body: Tell a Story

Writing the body of the paper is the next step. The student should take on a “story- telling” role and decide how to convey the thesis most effectively. Often, students will reflect chronologically on a trifling time or about his or her passions. Other students will choose three points to discuss and separate the body paragraphs according to the points. However the student decides to structure the body, it is important to remember that the admissions office is looking for cohesive structure.

Conclude...Then Get a Little Help from Your Friends

The last stage of writing a college admissions essay is formulating the conclusion. The conclusion should restate the thesis, and perhaps provide insight into where the student believes his or her future will go. I also recommend tying together how admission into that particular university will directly affect the student in relation to the topic he or she is writing about. Make sure to wrap up any loose points from the body paragraphs. After writing the conclusion, the student should re-read the paper and ask others to edit the paper as well. This process should ensure a stellar college admission essay.

An excellent college admissions essay can have a significant impact in acceptance odds and scholarship funds.  Our college application essay workshop is a practical and effective solution to helping students create a convincing and impactful essay.  Contact us to learn details:

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