College Application Essay Writing - Easy Guide and Useful Tips
Writing an essay is tough, but when you are writing your high school or college application essay, then you will definitely feel a little bit more stressed as this is a matter of your future.
On the other hand, a college application essay is an opportunity for the students, beyond the scope of their grades, to shine and create an impact on the college administration.
However, if written incorrectly, this type of essay can ruin your chances of getting into your desired college.
This blog discusses everything you need to know about writing your college application essay successfully.
What is a College Application Essay?
College application essays, also known as a statement of purpose or a personal statement, are written by prospective students applying for a college, university, or graduate school. It enables the admission committee to know about the applicant's background, identity, interest, etc.
Some topic ideas or concepts that make great application essays are the challenges, setbacks, and failures that helped shape your personality. Facing a challenge or setback provides an opportunity to learn and you learn from the experience.
This serves as an accomplishment event or realization for the admissions officers and helps in the application process.
Importance of a College Application Essay
We are all aware of the fact that your GPA, grades and admission test scores contribute a great deal to help you get into college. However, these are not the only factors required when it comes to college admission.
Essay writing has gained importance over the past few years in literature and education. This is the reason that colleges have made submission of college application essays a part of their admission criteria. If you have good writing skills, getting into a good college should not be an issue for you.
A college essay is not just written for the admission committee to check your grammar or sentence structure. Your grades and GPA are proof of your academic writing skills, but to grab the college's admission committee's attention, you need something else.
The basic purpose of writing this essay is to see how a student can support his ideas with logical reasoning and by expressing his point of view. Another important reason to write this essay is to know a little about the student's personal identity, interest, or talent and the kind of extracurricular activities they were a part of .
In short, every college wants to determine whether the student they are considering is a good fit for higher education at their college or not. This is the reason why the college application essay is a part of the process of applying to an Ivy League school or any other college.
Types of College Application Essays
When we talk about the college application essay, there are usually 3 different types of essay.
1. The "You" Essay
Supplemental essay is writing an essay about yourself. That means that the college wants to know about the student and his personality.
This type of essay is a chance for the students to express themselves and reveal interesting facts about their personality to the admission committee. However, this is somewhat of an open-ended question. Students should remain careful of what they are sharing in the essay.
This is also known as a personal statement, that helps the admissions committee to get to know you. If you need more information and tips about a personal statement, here is a detailed article on writing a personal statement, its format and useful examples.
Pro Tip: Less is more.
This does not mean that the students should just start writing their resume and expertise in the form of an essay. The best approach to write an essay about yourself is to choose an interesting event from your life and describe it in your essay. Though the event should be the one that highlights your character's positive points and skills.
Please share your story and do it with all honesty.
2. The "Why Us" Essay
When a college asks for this type of essay, this means that they want to know about the goals of the student and why he wants to join this college. This type of essay explains how serious one is about committing to college and his goals.
The positive aspect of this type of essay is that it provides a clear path for the students to write. This essay has a very defined answer about why the student chose a certain field or college and how serious he is towards his goals.
However, this is also the drawback of writing this type of essay. If a student hasn't thought this through or has failed to write a detailed and impactful essay, he might not be able to impress the admissions committee.
Also, students should remember that whatever they are writing about college should be based on facts. Remember, flattery won't help you get into college.
3. The Creative Essay
This type of essay helps evaluate the creative abilities of the applicant. To examine and analyze the knowledge and thinking abilities of the students, some colleges ask for a creative type of essay as the application essay.
A creative essay gives a chance to the students to share their personal points of view and thoughts on a specific topic by adding the "creative" element in their writing.
You can be creative while writing the essay, but your writing should not depict fantasies. It is important to write a well-informed essay, it is somewhat of an intellectual challenge a research process might help with. Research different ideas and focus on your voice and writing instead of impressing the reader.
How to Start a College Application Essay
Your college essay is like a wriggly worm that you are writing to hook your catch, catch being the reader from the admissions committee. To impress your reader, you need to start your essay with an interesting introduction to hook your reader to your essay.
Searching online for the best essay hooks related to your topic will give you numerous results. You can take an idea from those samples but never make the mistake of copying the hook in your essay.
Now the question is, how to write an interesting introduction for your college essay that stands out from thousands of other applications that your reader has been reviewing and is probably bored by now.
Here are some components that you can include to compose an interesting introduction for your college essay.
- Attention-grabbing first sentence – Start your essay with a killer statement to engage your reader and compel him to continue with your essay.
- An interesting and detailed story – You can start your essay by telling an interesting series of events depending on the type of essay.
- A short story leading to an insightful experience – If you are going to write about a life-changing experience in your essay, start your introduction with a short story and then pivot your way to describe your experience.
Leave Quora and Webster out of it
Keep your essay original and appealing. Do not take definitions from these online resources and incorporate them directly into your essay. Number one reason for this is it will add length in your essay and will make your content look unappealing.
As word limit is usually small, adding definitions and explanations will occupy all places in the essay.
Avoid Present Tense
In the present tense, you can tell stories, but they don't have the right drama and expression.
This is the reason that many of the top writers use past tense in their books as it creates a sense of mystery and excitement in the content.
Avoid Informal Tone
A college essay is not a comic book, so avoid using slang expressions. Like Ouch! Buzz! Whizz! Whoosh!
Adding such expressions with an exclamation mark is your call for trouble. Your essay should sound mature if you want to create an impression on the reader.
How to Write a College Application Essay
Imagine a room full of admission faculty sitting in a room, looking exhausted from all the application applications that they have been reading from the last three days.
All these people, who might be bored and tired of all the similarly written essays on similar topics that are part of every year's topic list.
Lack of creativity, story and expression become the reason for all such essays to make a place in the bin. The truth is that students often fail to create an impact in the essays and they are more or less copied from the internet.
They are typical and boring. Few in hundreds make their readers fall in love with them.
So, write an essay that puts its readers in a state of amazement. Here are a few college application essay tips to help you craft your essay.
1. Choose the Topic Wisely
Your commitment is important. Once you are committed to writing an essay, put all of your energy in finding the right topic.
This first step is the trickiest.
- Try to find a topic that you are passionate about.
- Think about what topic occupies the most space in your mind.
- What aspect of your life comes in your mind before sleeping and what comes first, when you wake up?
- Think about your struggles, problems, and how your personality reacts to important events in your life.
- List the factors that are the cause of your happiness and sorrow. Reflect on the events that have changed your life.
Answers to the above questions will open your mind to the possible ideas regarding topic selection.
If you are still blank, and can't choose a good topic, here is an example of one of the common app essay prompts:
"Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma."
2. Express Your Opinion
In school, you must have written essays of various types that required you to persuade the reader regarding a particular agenda or to take sides according to the topic requirement.
But in college essays, you are required to express your own thinking and the conflicts that you face in your emotions and mind about your personal situation, unless the college has specified the topic.
Conflict is another subject that you can pick to write your application essay. Such essays are usually easy and impactful.
Don't explore the selected topic in terms of all its possible dimensions. These types of essays are small in length and much centered around the topic.
3. Talk about Your Achievements
Yes, it's your time to impress the admission officers so you must write about your achievements, show them that you are different and worthy of becoming part of their institution. But never brag about them.
Filling content with your praises will create the wrong impact on the reader. Writing about struggles and issues will give a personalized touch to the content of your essay.
In fact, failures are an essayistic diamond. You add your personal experiences and life lessons in the content. Be honest in your stories and say the hardest and the deepest things you can.
4. Avoid Repetition
If you are given an essay prompt to select for the essay, then always select the one that is closest to your heart and personality.
Avoid the repetition of prompts. Often students think that repeating the prompt will add value to the essay and the reader will think that the student has paid serious attention to the topic.
But in reality, it just makes content unappealing. For this, you need to learn about how to write an essay like a professional because this is not an easy task and you need to pay full attention to it for your success.
How to End a College Application Essay?
Writing a college application the correct way is extremely important, so it ends properly. Remember that you are not supposed to end with the overall summary of the entire paper unlike other essays
Also, don’t end with a quote by another person as this is your essay and they want to hear your thoughts.
Lastly, proofreading is the key to ending your college essay.
Yes, this old school trick is the most valuable advice that you should incorporate in your essay.
Don't make the mistake of using incorrect grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and articles in your essay.
If you are writing a million-dollar essay but it has errors in it, then you are setting yourself for failure.
Mediocre level content with no mistakes has better chances of impressing the admission officers than an essay with elevated language and equally elevated grammatical mistakes.
College Application Essay Format
It is important to follow a certain format when you are writing your essay. You don't want to blow away your chance of getting into a good college only because you were too lazy to follow the desired format. Keeping in mind the tips mentioned above, here is a sample college essay format you can follow to craft your application essay.
How to Format a College Application Essay
The most common mistake that students make while writing this essay is being too vague about themselves. Writing an application essay gives you a chance to express your personality and who you really are.
It is your chance to stand out among the crowd. Don't brag about your GPA, grades, extra classes or even being a class president. That is not the purpose of an application essay.
Here are some Common App college application essays that worked; you can take guidance from while writing your essay.
College Application Essay Examples
Sample College Application Essay
College Application Essay Prompts
Students often wonder how to write a good college application essay. Well, in order to write a good essay you need to choose a topic that best fits your personality and interests.
If you have the opportunity to write on a topic of your choice, then this list of college application topics will help you choose one:
- The biggest challenge you had to face and how did you go through it?
- The time you thought outside the box and questioned a belief.
- What do we learn from bad experiences? Share a time you benefited from a negative experience.
- Describe an event of personal growth or an accomplishment.
- What is something that consumes you and you lose track of time and everyone around you?
Writing to get into a good college might sound scary at first. Follow these guidelines and you will end up with an amazing college essay.
Remember, write for yourself and showcase your abilities in your essay.
If you find writing a difficult task, hire an essay writer from 5StarEssays to help you with your college essay.
Professional essay writers can help you write a quality essay according to your demands in no time.
After all, this is a chance you don't want to risk.