What Are the Best College Essays?

What Are the Best College Essays?
The best college essays are those that have a purpose. They are more than simply writing random thoughts on a paper or trying to fill a paper with words to get the appropriate number for a word count. Whether you are allowed to pick your own topic or you are given strict guidelines, the best college essays deliver in one of three areas
Instruct or teach the reader about something
Give the reader something to enjoy
Move or persuade the reader to feel something or take action
The best college essays accomplish one or more of these goals, along with following some other simple suggestions. Bad college essays do not accomplish any of these goals. An essay can have excellent structure, spelling and grammar, but if there is no purpose, the essay does not accomplish the most important goal there is.

Instruct or teach the reader

Admission essays, academic essays, and scholarship essays often have the purpose of teaching the reader something. Admission essays often teach the reader about the author. Academic essays often have assigned topics, and scholarship essays are the same way. Your reader may already know about what you are about to tell them, but if you write as though they don't, you will have a great paper.

Give the reader something to enjoy

Whether it is an admissions essay explaining your great and unique qualities or an academic essay about an assigned topic, leave the reader with something that pleases them about what you have written. In academic and scholarship essays, it is especially important to make the reader appreciate you. You can do this by tailoring your essay to things the institution values, explicitly following the directions, and match yourself to the values stated in the essay. In academic essays, make the reader appreciate whatever topic it is you are writing about. You can do this by doing adequate research and using great detail in your descriptions.

Move or persuade the reader

Another important purpose in many of the best college essays is to move or persuade the reader to do or feel something. If they are supposed to feel an emotion, you can use descriptive language to draw the feelings out of your reader. If the purpose is more to persuade, think of your paper as a 'call to action' that will be so powerful it will get your readers off the couch to follow your cause.

Follow directions

Nothing irks a professor or admissions advisor more than reading a paper, only to find that the basic directions have not been followed. The best college essays follow the instructions perfectly. Many admissions officers will not even consider essays that have not followed all directions. You can do this by showing you did the reading, citing all of your resources appropriately, and cross-checking your finished product against the directions of the assignment to ensure you have completed the assignment accurately.

Don't turn off the reader

Great! You have a finished product! Now, make sure that your paper does not do any of the following things which are sure to turn off the reader and either hurt your grade or your admissions chances.

Unsupported claims - using words like, "always," "never," "every," etc. is a sure way to make your paper more dramatic than it needs to be.
Tone - don't talk down to the reader
Distractions - don't use a lot of unnecessary punctuation like exclamation points, special fonts or smiley faces.
Wordiness - don't write exceptionally long sentences or paragraphs because it will be hard for the reader to dissect what you are saying.

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