Application season is upon us! Before you sit down to write that essay, check out these tips that may help you write an application essay you can be proud to submit.
1. Make sure you clearly understand the essay prompt. Read the prompt over several times. If you have ANY doubt about what it is asking for, go to your guidance counselor, college admissions consultant (sometimes called “independent counselors”), or teacher for help. They can clarify it for you or help you get that clarification from someone at the school you are applying to.
2. Write about something you really care about. Too many students choose to write an essay they think will “sound good” to admissions people. That could be an unfortunate choice. When choosing what to write about, keep in mind that if you’re not particularly interested in the topic, the reader won’t be either. When you write about something that matters to you, your enthusiasm and passion tend to come through in your writing, giving the reader an insight into who you are beyond the application.
3. Write honestly and in your own voice. Be yourself. Don’t use big words you don’t normally use to try to impress the admissions people. They call that “thesauricizing” and, more often than not, it works against you. Speak in your own authentic voice. If using big words is your style, then by all means use them. Just remember that admissions people want to get to know you, not someone you pretend to be only for the sake of admission.
4. Have someone you trust proofread your essay. This does not mean your friends. Have someone read it who will be able to catch all the spelling and grammatical errors. The wise student also chooses someone who can read the essay for tone as well as content, and can give you sound advice about how to improve it if needed.
5. Don’t wait till the last minute. I can’t stress this enough. The longer you procrastinate on writing the essay, the less time you will have to ask questions, get feedback, and make corrections. Writing the essay on the last day possible is a recipe for disaster.
These tips are very general ones. There are circumstances when a student may need to address a specific topic in an essay in order to provide essential information to the admissions office. Be sure to talk to your guidance counselor if you think that might be the case for you or if you’re not quite sure.