Writing a Powerful College Admission Essay

by Zach Richard

With an ever-increasing number of students applying to universities, you need a memorable admissions essay to separate yourself from your peers.  A powerful essay will give you a definitive edge in the admissions process.

High school transcripts convey how you have faired as a student, but a great essay can be the difference between acceptance and rejection.

In as little as five hundred words, the college essay gives you a chance to explain yourself in a way that your grades and coursework cannot.  It will help to illustrate your values, morals, and other intangibles.

The subject of your essay can vary.  You may want to describe a life altering event, your favorite activity, a favorite memory, or your family and friends, among other topics.  It gives you a chance to market yourself, to demonstrate attributes that make you unique, and to show the characteristics that would make you an asset to the college of your choice.

Three-Step Process to Writing Powerful College Essay:

1. Brainstorming, Generating Topic Ideas

  • Consider your accomplishments.  Describe these accomplishments and how you achieved them.  Share your feelings about your accomplishments.
  • Demonstrate values, attributes, morals, and skills that separate you from the masses.
  • Ponder any memories, childhood events, and movies or books that have influenced your life and shaped you as a person.
  • Recount successes and failures and how they have changed you.  Consider how you have learned from successes and failures.
  • Think about where you are heading, your life goals, and the type of person you want to be.  Make a blueprint that shows how you will get there.
  • Consider your strongest qualities and how they would make you an asset to the college you wish to attend.
  • List extracurricular and community activities that will be of interest to universities.

2. Selecting an Essay Topic

  • Is your topic important?  Can you connect it to your life experiences?
  • Pick a topic that demonstrates something that your transcripts do not.
  • Can you fully answer the question that the university asks?  Can you provide vivid examples to support your answer?  Can you maintain the interests of the admissions office?
  • Generally, you should avoid controversial topics such as religion and politics that could be off-putting to your audience.
  • If you must choose a controversial topic, be sure to explore both sides of the argument.
  • Try to make your essay memorable so that it will stand out from other applicants’ essays.

3. Writing the Essay

  • Answer the question as directly and completely as possible.
  • Be original:  make a straightforward and possibly boring topic interesting. Make it your own.
  • Be yourself:  remember that you are selling yourself.  Write about something of importance for you and demonstrate your genuine feelings about this topic.
  • Use imagery:  use your life experiences as vivid supporting details.
  • Focus mostly on your introduction:  the introduction needs to grab the reader’s interest and make them want to continue reading.  You don’t necessarily have to reveal the subject directly in the introduction, to ensure your reader keeps reading.  Raise a question to which you reader can relate.
  • Relate your body to the introduction.
  • Make sure your essay flows properly:  use transitions within and between paragraphs.  (While, in addition, as a result).
  • Conclusions:  the conclusion is your last chance to make an impression on the reader.  Relate back to your introduction to complete the balance of the essay.  Show that your subject can be applicable to others on a wider scale.
  • Have your peers review your essay to get a pair of fresh eyes and their opinions.
  • Continuously revise your essay.  Re-read looking for grammatical errors and kinks in the flow.  Edit until you must submit it.
  • Submit your essay.

This post was written by Zach Richard

Zach Richard is an author for the Total Mortgage Blog. Total Mortgage is an online lender based in Milford, CT.

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