Monday, September 14, 2009

19 Best Tips for Writing the Essay from College Admissions Counselors

By Hannah Watson


These tips will help you write the perfect college admission essay.

  1. Don’t use the same essay: Using one essay for several applications may save you time, but it’s more effective to write each one from scratch, or at the very least, tailor each essay to the college.
  2. Consider your audience: Entertain the college admissions officers.
  3. Have an interesting opener: Catch the eye of the admissions counselor with a stunning introduction.
  4. Discuss what’s important to you: Discuss what’s most important to you in your essay.
  5. Put yourself as the focus: Even if your prompt is about someone else, always be sure to bring it back to you.
  6. Be brief: You don’t need a 10-page autobiography to be effective.
  7. Review your essay after a few days: Leave your first draft to sit, then pick it up again after some time.
  8. Tell a story: Consider the beginning, middle, and end of your story.
  9. Answer the question: Don’t just submit what you think colleges want to read, actually answer the question they have given you.
  10. Do not have your parents write your essay: Admissions advisors read lots of essays-it’s obvious when they are written by parents.
  11. Show your motivation: Demonstrate that you’re motivated to do well in college.
  12. Use your personal voice: Don’t take on a different voice in your writing for college essays-let yourself shine through.
  13. Don’t buy an essay on the Internet: College admission officers can spot an online essay a mile away.
  14. Go beyond the superficial: Communicate what you care about deeply.
  15. Don’t trust spell check: Watch for typos and grammar issues that spell check won’t catch.
  16. Ask others to read your essay: Have your parents, English teacher, and mentors read your essay.
  17. Be interesting: Counselors will read many applications each day-you want to be interesting enough to get passed around.
  18. Send the right essay to the right college: Avoid accidentally referring to another college in an essay that you send.
  19. Save time for editing: Be sure to edit your essay once you’ve written it, taking into consideration opinions from people who have read it and any fine tuning you’d like to do.

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