The admissions essay is the most stressful part of the college admissions process. And this is for good a reason. Your test scores or GPA gives you a direct way to compare yourself to other applicants. If your score is higher than the school’s average, then you are probably good to go. But what about the college essays?
There seems to be no objective way to grade that. The common app throws a few super general prompts at you, gives you no guidance except for a word count limit. And then it expects you to write some tear-jerking piece about your sad, uneventful life.
So, how do you have to deal with it? We are going to give you some tips on how to write an essay. With them, your essay will make every admissions officer fight to have you accepted.
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Avoid Generic Stories and Ideas
Here is a rule that every successful college admissions essay follows. It seems simple, but it is so easy to lose sight of for several reasons. The goal of the common app essay is not to show how creative you are. The college wants to get a chance to know about you. They want to know your values, stories, and experiences.
Turn cliche ideas into something that is cohesive, has meaning, and is just a powerful essay. You can tell about your good sides, but do not forget to write about what has made you who you are now. Spend about 150 words describing some significant experiences. It could be anything, but it has to be specific.
Now, how do you choose this thing to describe? Well, think back on your life, and think of some person or event or object that has been meaningful to you. Maybe it allowed you to start thinking differently or got you interested in what you want to study now. By the way, the simpler this event or object, the better.
It does not matter if this story or event is pretty common and happens to a lot of people. All that matters is that you’re able to tie this event to the things you do, the person you are today.
Keep Your Writing Style Clean and Simple
Another important point is the writing style. When you are writing your essay, avoid replacing every “important” with a “ponderous” and every “happy” with an “exultant”. Do not put fancy words into your essays just for the sake of it. A lot of people think that will impress colleges but this logic is flawed for two reasons.
First, college admissions officers see right through this. Their vocabulary is probably a lot larger than yours, and they know when words do not quite fit right. Second, the college admissions essay is not a test of your writing ability.
Yet, it is super important that you are clear and coherent throughout your essay. After skimming your essay one time, someone should be able to already get the gist of what you are saying. Because in reality, that is what admissions officers are doing. They spend probably 2-3 minutes on each essay.
Now, that is a great way of decreasing your chances to get into your dream school. Even though the common app essay is stressful, if you use these tips, it will not hurt. Also, remember to start writing early. If you are lacking, you can order your essay from trusted services.