The college application process is a busy and stressful time for high school seniors and writing all of those essays can be daunting to say the least. But essays are an important part of the process. Write about something you connect with emotionally. This essay is a chance to take stock of your life up till now and imagine what you want your future to be. You are uniquely poised between childhood and adulthood. Let your essay define you, now, at this moment and allow your heart, your hopes, and your dreams to come pouring out.
Here are some tips to get you started:
You will need to write a common app essay, several other shorter answer essays for each school, and a “why do I want to go to this school” essay for each school you apply to.
Start early! The best essays are the ones that have been revised many many times. This is not something you should be doing the night before. Ideally these essays should be started several months in advance.
Make sure the college admissions officers can hear YOUR voice! Not the voice of your teacher, your dad, or your essay coach. Yes, you must write these essays yourself and it will be obvious if you don’t. But an essay coach can help you decide what you would like to write about, assist you in grabbing the attention of your audience, and give some guidance as to how to write a compelling and effective essay.
Facts, not epiphanies! Show the admissions officers that you have done your research and give them solid reasons why you want to go to their school. Inspiring and life-transforming stories are great, but only if they are genuine and are directly related to the point you are trying to make.
Show, don’t tell! It is instinctive to tell your dream school why you are qualified to go there, but it is even better to show how qualified you are by telling your story – jobs, internships, special experiences, beloved classes, volunteer work, community outreach, etc. can all illustrate your point.
The “Big So What!” Often I read essays that are great stories, but then the question at the end is “So What?’ So what if you moved a lot as a child? So what if you volunteered with Food Gatherers? What skills or perspective does this give you that will be an asset to the school you are applying to? You need to come right out and say what you have learned, what skills you have, and how you will use this in college next year. This part of your essay is easy to forget but also quick and easy to include!