College Essays - How to Make a Good One Better for College Admissions

College Essays - How to Make a Good One Better for College Admissions
College essays probably cause more arguments between parents and their high school seniors than any other part of the college application process. Many students procrastinate for as long as they can and then begin to panic when no topic seems to be quite right. Most colleges ask a pretty generic question for which they would like to see a fairly focused answer. Colleges want to know why you act and think the way you do, not what you feel might be impressive for them to read.
College essays can help you get accepted by a college so it is worth knowing how to write a good one. First, do some brainstorming to find a few topics that might have potential to make good college essays. Jot down some memorable high school experiences, activities you particularly enjoy, or a timeline with events that stand out in your life. Tell a story that is meaningful to you and one that will allow a college admissions committee to get to know you better. Think about what makes you-you.

This is not a five paragraph essay that consists of nothing more than boring generalizations. Free-write and let your thoughts flow. This is your first draft and will not be your last. It is important to be original and be yourself. Spend time on a catchy short introduction that will capture the attention of your readers. Otherwise, they may not take the time to see what else you have to say. Take time to write a strong conclusion so you leave the college admissions committee with some compelling reasons to want to accept you.

Put your college essays aside for a day or two and then go back and read them again. Could you put in some details to give them more focus? Have you allowed your personality and character to come through? Now, read once more and this time check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Use short sentences and simple words, not something out of a thesaurus. Big words are not better. Proofread and do another revision until you feel it is your best.

College essays should reveal your voice and yours alone. It is fine if you want to share the finished product with your parents, but it is not theirs to write or edit. Some students like to ask a teacher or college counselor to read their essays. Others like to read them aloud to themselves to make sure the sentences flow and one thought transitions to another.

College admissions officers read thousands of college essays every year and they do look for traits that they like to see in college applicants. College admissions committees often find college essays that revolve around simple events very revealing, especially when the student has had an opportunity to reflect on the experience and shared any personal growth or insight.

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