Practice Makes Perfect: 4 Tips For Writing A College Essay That Rocks.
College application deadlines might be months away, but now is the perfect time to start writing your college essays. After all, these are quite possibly the most important essays you’ve ever written. You want to make sure they’re perfect!
And the best way to achieve perfection? Practice, of course. So take a little time during these last few weeks of summer to write a draft or three of your college essay. The effort will pay off in the long run.
Some tips to keep in mind while you’re writing your college essay:
Put some thought into what you’re going to write before you start.
You’ll fill out plenty of forms listing your accomplishments and extracurricular activities. That’s not what your college essay is for. This is your time to shine as an individual. To show those college admissions officers what you’re really about. So spend a little time brainstorming. Come up with a topic that captures the real you – the part that doesn’t show itself on standardized forms.
Focus, focus, focus.
It’s tempting to try and cram as much information as possible into those college essays. Don’t. Choose one topic and one topic only. Maybe something you’re proud of. Or a challenge you’ve had to overcome. Write about something you’re passionate about. Or an interest you hope to pursue in college. There are no wrong ideas. Just make sure yours is well defined before you start writing.
This is not the time to try and sound like you’ve memorized the encyclopedia. Or like you’ve already gotten your master’s degree and are writing a doctoral dissertation. Let your own voice shine through. Remember, those college admissions officers want to get to know the real you. Show them.
Clean up your mess.
When you’re writing the first draft of your college essays, feel free to let the words flow. Don’t worry too much about grammar, or punctuation, or any of the other rules that might trip you up. But once you start polishing? Make sure that essay gleams. Correct any capitalization errors. Make sure you’re using proper punctuation. And, please, please use spell check. It’s there for a reason.
Above all, don’t forget that the people reading your college essays? Are actually people.
They’re not gray-bearded bureaucrats sitting in an ivy tower somewhere. They’re regular people who are working hard to find the best applicants for next year’s freshman class. So show them your best self. As the admissions staff at the College of William and Mary said, “you aren’t telling us who you are, you’re giving us a sense of who you’ll become.”