They have a plan. The rules for writing a good essay are no different. Create an outline that breaks down the essay into sections. By now you know exactly what you will write about and how you want to tell the story.
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So hop on a computer and get to it. Try to just let yourself bang out a rough draft without going back to change anything. Then go back and revise, revise, revise. Before you know it, you will have told the story you outlined—and reached the necessary word count—and you will be happy you spent all that time preparing!
You have worked so hard up until this point, and while you might be relieved, remember: your essay is only as good as your editing. A single grammatical error or typo could indicate carelessness—not a trait you want to convey to a college admission officer. Writing the college essay takes time and effort, and you should feel accomplished. When you submit your essay, remember to include your name, contact information, and ID number if your college provided one, especially if you send it to a general admission email account.
Nothing is worse than trying to match an application essay with no name or, worse, an email address such as donutsarelife domain. Make sure to keep copies of what you sent to which schools and when—and follow up on them!
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Be certain the college or university you are applying to received your essay. Looking for more college application essay help? We have tons— tons— here , including lots of real-world examples! Tags: college essays how to admission advice applications brainstorming admission. Get to know your prompt Ease yourself into the essay-writing process. Read them again. Then read them one more time. Take some time to think about what is being asked and let it really sink in before you let the ideas flow.
Is this essay prompt asking you to inform? Expand upon? These pieces rarely showcase who you are as an applicant. Brainstorm Get your creative juices flowing by brainstorming all the possible ideas you can think of to address your college essay question. You have years to draw from, so set aside time to mentally collect relevant experiences or events that serve as strong, specific examples.
This is also time for self-reflection. Narrow down the options. Choose three concepts you think fit the college application essay prompt best and weigh the potential of each. Which idea can you develop further and not lose the reader? Which captures more of who you really are? Choose your story to tell. You should have enough supporting details to rely on this as an excellent demonstration of your abilities, achievements, perseverance, or beliefs.
All good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Shape your story so that it has an introduction, body, and conclusion. Following this natural progression will make your essay coherent and easy to read. How are you going to open your essay? With an anecdote? A question? Use of humor? Try to identify what the tone of your essay is going to be based on your ideas.
Stick to your writing style and voice. Put the words in your own voice. Write the essay Once you are satisfied with your essay in outline format, begin writing! Start with your main idea, and follow it from beginning to end.
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Be specific. Be yourself. Bring something new to the table, not just what you think they want to hear. Use humor if appropriate.
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Be concise. On the personal essay, write how you would speak. Once you find a topic you like, sit down and write for an hour or so. When you write from your heart, words should come easily.
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Rawlins recommends showing the essay to a family member or friend and ask if it sounds like the student. The essays serve as a glimpse into how your mind works, how you view the world and provides perspective. Your insights will be forced and disingenuous. While the directions on the applications may sound generic, and even repetitive after applying to a variety of schools, Rawlins points out that every rhyme has a reason. We want what we ask for. They only know what you put in front of them. At the end of the day, however, Rawlins wants students to know that the personal essay is just another piece of the larger puzzle.
Paige Carlotti is a senior at Syracuse University.