Honor your inspiration. My parents would have much preferred that I write about sports or youth group, and I probably could have said something interesting about those, but I insisted on writing about a particular fish in the pet store I worked at—one that took much longer than the others to succumb when the whole tank system in the store became diseased. It was a macabre little composition, but it was about exactly what was on my mind at the time I was writing it. I think it gave whoever read it a pretty good view of my 17 year-old self. I'll never know if I got in because of that weird essay or in spite of it, but it remains a point of pride that I did it my way. This college essay tip is by Mike McClenathan, founder of PwnTestPrep , which has a funny name but serious resources for helping high school students excel on the standardized tests. Revise often and early. Your admissions essay should go through several stages of revision. Ask your parents, teachers, high school counselors or friends for their eyes and edits. It should be people who know you best and want you to succeed. Take their constructive criticism in the spirit for which they intend—your benefit. Write about things you care about. The most obvious things make great topics. What do I mean? Colleges want to learn about who you are, what you value and how you will contribute to their community. I had two students write about their vehicles—one wrote about the experience of purchasing their used truck and one wrote about how her car is an extension of who she is. We learned about their responsibility, creative thinking, teamwork and resilience in a fun and entertaining way. Don't tell them a story you think they want, tell them what YOU want. Of course you want it to be a good read and stay on topic, but this is about showing admissions who you are. You don't want to get caught up in thinking too much about what they are expecting. Focus your thoughts on yourself and what you want to share. This college essay tip is by Ashley McNaughton, Bucknell University graduate and founder of ACM College Consulting , consults on applicants internationally and volunteers with high achieving, low income students through ScholarMatch. Be yourself. A sneaky thing can happen as you set about writing your essay: you may find yourself guessing what a college admissions committee is looking for and writing to meet that made up criteria rather than standing firm in who you are and sharing your truest self. While you want to share your thoughts in the best possible light edit please! Show your depth. Be honest about what matters to you. Be thoughtful about the experiences you've had that have shaped who you've become. Be your brilliant self. And trust that your perfect-fit college will see you for who truly you are and say "Yes! This is exactly who we've been looking for. Admission officers can spot parent content immediately. The quickest way for a student to be denied admission is to allow a parent to write or edit with their own words. Parents can advise, encourage, and offer a second set of eyes, but they should never add their own words to a student's essay. This college essay tip is by Suzanne Shaffer is a college prep expert, blogger, and author who manages the website Parenting for College. Don't just write about your resume, recommendations, and high school transcripts. Admissions officers want to know about you, your personality and emotions. For example, let them know what hobbies, interests, or passions you have. Do you excel in athletics or art? Many college essay writers choose to tell me outright that their personality is this way or that way. Telling me that your friends would describe you as silly and outgoing is, unfortunately, not enough. As the admissions officer reading your application, I need proof — in the form of a written tone that matches your spoken one. As I read through your essays, I am crafting an image in my head of the person who will arrive on our campus in the fall if admitted. Your job is to arm me with examples of who this person is. On the personal essay, write how you would speak. Read the success stories. When you write from your heart, words should come easily. Avoid using slang, scientific phrases, uncommon foreign phrases, other hard-to-decipher language and profanity. Check your grammar and spelling. You can write conversationally, but the grammar and spelling still need to be correct. Often times, the wrong word spelled correctly can slip by. After you have written your essay, show it to someone who can give you objective feedback. Don't panic! I know starting over is frustrating, but it's often the best way to fix major issues. Unfortunately, some problems can't be fixed with whiteout. Consulting Other Readers Once you've fixed the problems you found on the first pass and have a second or third draft you're basically happy with, ask some other people to read it. Check with people whose judgment you trust: parents, teachers, and friends can all be great resources, but how helpful someone will be depends on the individual and how willing you are to take criticism from her. Also, keep in mind that many people, even teachers, may not be familiar with what colleges look for in an essay. Your mom, for example, may have never written a personal statement, and even if she did, it was most likely decades ago. Give your readers a sense of what you'd like them to read for, or print out the questions I listed above and include them at the end of your essay. Second Pass After incorporating any helpful feedback you got from others, you should now have a nearly complete draft with a clear arc. At this point you want to look for issues with word choice and sentence structure: Are there parts that seem stilted or overly formal? Do you have any vague or boring descriptors that could be replaced with something more interesting and specific? Are there any obvious redundancies or repetitiveness? Have you misused any words? Are your sentences of varied length and structure? A good way to check for weirdness in language is to read the essay out loud. If something sounds weird when you say it, it will almost certainly seem off when someone else reads it. Example: Editing Eva's First Paragraph In general, Eva feels like her first paragraph isn't as engaging as it could be and doesn't introduce the main point of the essay that well: although it sets up the narrative, it doesn't show off her personality that well. She decides to break it down sentence by sentence: I dialed the phone number for the fourth time that week. Problem: For a hook, this sentence is a little too expository. It doesn't add any real excitement or important information other than that this call isn't the first, which can be incorporate elsewhere. Solution: Cut this sentence and start with the line of dialogue. I was hoping to ask you some questions about—" Problem: No major issues with this sentence. It's engaging and sets the scene effectively. Solution: None needed, but Eva does tweak it slightly to include the fact that this call wasn't her first. I heard the distinctive click of the person on the other end of the line hanging up, followed by dial tone. Problem: This is a long-winded way of making a point that's not that important. Solution: Replace it with a shorter, more evocative description: "Click. Whoever was on the other end of the line had hung up. Problem: This sentence is kind of long. What you should be are doing is getting noticed as unique. If you are on a date, you would naturally want to be smart, funny, nice, caring, unique, not boring. You also want to have an opinion, not step back like an unthinking geek. Write your essay as though you would be a great second date. Make your essay correct and beautiful Dates should look good, too. You can make your essay beautiful by giving thought to a few things. Use a font that is readable. Consider whether or not bold type face could make your essay easier to read. The best way to tell your story is to write a personal, thoughtful essay about something that has meaning for you. Be honest and genuine, and your unique qualities will shine through. Admissions officers have to read an unbelievable number of college essays, most of which are forgettable. Many students try to sound smart rather than sounding like themselves. Others write about a subject that they don't care about, but that they think will impress admissions officers.
While put things spend days, sometimes weeks, perfecting their personal statements, admissions officers only spend about college to five minutes actually reading them, according to Jim Rawlins, director of admissions at the University of Oregon. Open with an anecdote. Describe how it shaped who you put essay and who you will be tomorrow.
At the end of the day, colleges want to accept someone who is put to graduate, be successful in the world and have the university associated with that success. In your essay, it is vital that you present yourself as someone who loves to learn, can thing critically and has a college for things—anything.
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They want them hungry and self-aware. Stop trying so hard.
The Only Four College Essay Writing Tips You'll Ever Need · Tufts Admissions
Get creative. Ditch the thesaurus.
Cheapest article writing serviceHowever, if your first draft is more than twice the word limit and you don't have a clear idea of what needs to be cut out, you may need to reconsider your focus—your topic is likely too broad. How is the fact that her brother made it change the image? Colleges are looking for students who can express their thoughts clearly and accurately, and polishing your essay shows that you care about producing high-quality, college-level work.
Swap sophistication for self-awareness There is a designated portion of the application section designated to show put your repertoire of words. Leave it there. On the personal essay, write how you would speak.
Read the success stories. When you write from your thing, words should come easily. Rawlins recommends college the essay to a family member or friend and ask if it sounds like the student.Spoiler alert It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. This college essay tip is by Brennan Barnard, director of college counseling at the Derryfield School in Manchester, N. Proofread, proofread, proofread. After you're done writing, read your essay, re-read it a little later, and have someone else read it too, like a teacher or friend—they may find typos that your eyes were just too tired to see. Colleges are looking for students who can express their thoughts clearly and accurately, and polishing your essay shows that you care about producing high-quality, college-level work. Plus, multiple errors could lower your chances of admission. So take the extra time and edit! Take the pressure off and try free-writing to limber up. If you are having trouble coming up with what it is you want to convey or finding the perfect story to convey who you are, use prompts such as: Share one thing that you wish people knew about you. What have you enjoyed about high school? I suggest handwriting versus typing on a keyboard for 20 minutes. Don't worry about making it perfect, and don't worry about what you are going to write about. Think about getting yourself into a meditative state for 20 minutes and just write from the heart. To get myself in a meditative state, I spend 60 seconds set an alarm drawing a spiral. Never let the pen come off the page, and just keep drawing around and around until the alarm goes off. Then, start writing. It might feel you didn't write anything worthwhile, but my experience is that there is usually a diamond in the rough in there Do this exercise for days straight, then read out loud what you have written to a trusted source a parent? Don't expect a masterpiece from this exercise though stranger things have happened. The goal is to discover the kernel of any idea that can blossom into your college essay—a story that will convey your message, or clarity about what message you want to convey. Show your emotions. Adding feelings to your essays can be much more powerful than just listing your achievements. It allows reviewers to connect with you and understand your personality and what drives you. In particular, be open to showing vulnerability. Nobody expects you to be perfect and acknowledging times in which you have felt nervous or scared shows maturity and self-awareness. This college essay tip is by Charles Maynard, Oxford and Stanford University Graduate and founder of Going Merry , which is a one-stop shop for applying to college scholarships Be genuine and authentic. Your essay should be a true representation of who you are as a person—admissions officers want to read essays that are meaningful, thoughtful, and consistent with the rest of the application. Essays that come from the heart are the easiest to write and the best written. Have a teacher or counselor, not just your smartest friend, review and edit your essays. This college essay tip is by Jonathan April, University of Chicago graduate, general manager of College Greenlight , which offers free tools to low-income and first-generation students developing their college lists. Note how the writer incorporates a wide range of details and images through one particular lens: a scrapbook. Prompt: Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations. The layouts of the pages are already imprinted in my mind, so I simply draw them on scratch paper. Now I can really begin. Cutting the first photograph, I make sure to leave a quarter inch border. I then paste it onto a polka-dotted green paper with a glue stick. For a sophisticated touch, I use needle and thread to sew the papers together. Maybe you could reveal that in the last sentence of your prompt after telling about all the little things that have some relevance to your area of study. For example, you might describe many natural flora, observe fauna, then list feelings you have about nature to lead up to writing that you want to study biology. You might even bury your answer to a prompt in a story or in a moral tale or even in a description. Be clear and logical As much as you wish to shine, the shine will be lost if your sentences and thoughts do not string together logically. You must make sense to the reader. Reread your essay as though you have no idea what the writer is talking about. Does it make sense? Are there transitions between different sections of the essay? Leave it there. On the personal essay, write how you would speak. Read the success stories. Plagiarism is always wrong, and schools are getting better at detecting it. Diversify your vocabulary. Avoid using slang, scientific phrases, uncommon foreign phrases, other hard-to-decipher language and profanity. Check your grammar and spelling. You can write conversationally, but the grammar and spelling still need to be correct. Let me give an example: in writing about your budding interest in art history, you could write that you've always loved visiting museums, and how your art history course in high school solidified the interest. Then you could list your favorite artists. That's going broad. OR, you could geek out about Edward Hopper. You could write about his lonely, minimalist paintings and how they make you feel, and you could tell the reader that you've always admired his talent for telling a whole story with only a few seemingly unimportant characters. The key to this type of intro is detail. Contrary to what you may have learned in elementary school, sweeping statements don't make very strong hooks. If you want to start your essay with a more overall description of what you'll be discussing, you still need to make it specific and unique enough to stand out. Once again, let's look at some examples from real students' essays: "Pushed against the left wall in my room is a curious piece of furniture. This may or may not be a coincidence. The first intro works because it mixes specific descriptions "pushed against the left wall in my room" with more general commentary "a curious piece of furniture". The second draws the reader in by adopting a conversational and irreverent tone with asides like "if you ask me" and "This may or may not be a coincidence. Instead, focus on trying to include all of the details you can think of about your topic, which will make it easier to decide what you really need to include when you edit. However, if your first draft is more than twice the word limit and you don't have a clear idea of what needs to be cut out, you may need to reconsider your focus—your topic is likely too broad. You may also need to reconsider your topic or approach if you find yourself struggling to fill space, since this usually indicates a topic that lacks a specific focus. Eva's First Paragraph I dialed the phone number for the fourth time that week. I was hoping to ask you some questions about—" I heard the distinctive click of the person on the other end of the line hanging up, followed by dial tone. I was about ready to give up: I'd been trying to get the skinny on whether the Atlas Theater was actually closing to make way for a big AMC multiplex or if it was just a rumor for weeks, but no one would return my calls. Step 6: Edit Aggressively No one writes a perfect first draft. No matter how much you might want to be done after writing a first draft—you must take the time to edit. Thinking critically about your essay and rewriting as needed is a vital part of writing a great college essay. Before you start editing, put your essay aside for a week or so. It will be easier to approach it objectively if you haven't seen it in a while. Then, take an initial pass to identify any big picture issues with your essay. Once you've fixed those, ask for feedback from other readers—they'll often notice gaps in logic that don't appear to you, because you're automatically filling in your intimate knowledge of the situation. Finally, take another, more detailed look at your essay to fine tune the language. I've explained each of these steps in more depth below. First Editing Pass You should start the editing process by looking for any structural or thematic issues with your essay. If you see sentences that don't make sense or glaring typos of course fix them, but at this point, you're really focused on the major issues since those require the most extensive rewrites. You don't want to get your sentences beautifully structured only to realize you need to remove the entire paragraph. This phase is really about honing your structure and your voice. As you read through your essay, think about whether it effectively draws the reader along, engages him with specific details, and shows why the topic matters to you. Try asking yourself the following questions: Does the intro make you want to read more? Does the essay show something specific about you? You don't need to have started your own business or have spent the summer hiking the Appalachian Trail. Colleges are simply looking for thoughtful, motivated students who will add something to the first-year class. Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay 1. Write about something that's important to you. It could be an experience, a person, a book—anything that has had an impact on your life.
Your insights will be forced and disingenuous. Follow the things. While the directions on the applications may sound generic, and college repetitive after applying to a variety of schools, Rawlins points out that every rhyme has a reason.
Writing tips and techniques for your college essay (article) | Khan Academy
We want what we ask for. They only know what you put put front of them.
At the end of the day, however, Rawlins wants students to know that the personal essay is just another thing of the larger puzzle.
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