How to Write a Great College Essay
Going into the college application process I had fairly good grades and an ok test score, but they were still on the low end of the spectrum for top-tier schools. I believe what got me into my dream schools were my essays. I spent lots of time on them and tried my very best. Here are some tips to help you write your very best essays to give you the best chance of getting into your top schools!
Start reflecting about influential or interesting events/happenings/thoughts as they happen (or that have already happened). Write it down. This will really help you because it will act as a stepping stone for your actual college essays. I was able to use some of what I had written previously word for word.
What five words best describe you? Are you curious, adventurous, or hardworking? This will help you know what to showcase about yourself. For example, if one of your words is “brave” and you find yourself writing a story in which you are acting fearful (and the story has nothing to do with you becoming a brave individual) then you should stop and write something else.
Brainstorm what makes you stand out as a great candidate for the school. What makes you special? This will help you focus on what to write about
Start early, preferably months before the essays are due. This will allow you to relax and really do a good job.
Read the essay prompts. Brainstorm possible answers for each. What stories or images pop in your head when you read the question? What do you want to showcase about yourself?
Take a break.
Answer the prompt. Write about something that matters to you and shows something about you.
Don’t write about how amazing someone else is, write about how great you are. If you do mention someone else, talk about how they affected who you are today.
Don’t be negative and always keep in mind what college readers are learning about you from your essays.
Take a break after writing only one or two essays, depending on their length. If you get to the point where you don’t care about what you’re writing, stop. Allow yourself a few days off from essay writing in which you don’t even think about it.
Read your semi-final essays out loud. You tend to catch your grammar mistakes this way.
Have someone who’s a good writer/editor look over your essays.
Make changes to your essays as needed.
If you have the time, wait a few days. Read your essays one final time. You may catch mistakes you previously had not seen.
Relax. Know that you tried your hardest, and that’s all you can do.