Starting your essay

Starting your essay
The most common topic--particularly if only one essay is required--is the first, "tell us about yourself." Since this kind of essay has no specific focus, applicants sometimes have trouble deciding which part of their lives to write about. Beware of the chronological list of events that produces dull reading. Remember, also, to accent the positive rather than the negative side of an experience. If you write about the effect of a death, divorce, or illness on your life, tell about but don't dwell on your bad luck and disappointments.
Instead, emphasize what you have learned from the experience, and how coping with adversity has strengthened you as an individual.
Tie yourself to the college: Why are you interested in attending, and what can the institution do for you? Be specific. Go beyond "XYZ College will best allow me to realize my academic potential.
Read the directions carefully and follow them to the letter. In other words, if the essay is supposed to be 500 words or less, don't submit 1000 words.
Consider the unique features of the institution, e.g., a liberal arts college will be impressed with the variety of academic and personal interests you might have, while an art institute would be most interested in your creative abilities.
Be positive, upbeat and avoid the negatives, e.g. I am applying to your school because I won't be required to take physical education or a foreign language.
Emphasize what you have learned, e.g. provide more than a narration when recounting an experience.
Write about something you know, something only you could write.
Make certain you understand the question or the topic. Your essay should answer the question or speak directly to the given topic.
List all ideas. Be creative. Brainstorm without censoring.
Sort through ideas and prioritize. You cannot tell them everything, Be selective.
Choose information and ideas which are not reflected in other parts of your application. This is your chance to supplement your application with information you want them to know.
Be persuasive in showing the reader you are deserving of admission. Remember your audience.

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