College Essay Tips and Tricks

Don't fret! Some simple tips and strategies can make your college  application essay one any institution will love!

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Don't fret! Some simple tips and strategies can make your college application essay one any institution will love!

Lauren Glancey, Staff Reporter

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It is perfectly okay to feel stressed out when starting to apply for college. With other classwork and assignments on your plate, college applications may fall at the bottom of your list of priorities. However, it is best to start your essay as early as possible so that you have time to make corrections, have it looked over by your teacher and, in some cases, change your mind on your topic or prompt. Whether you decide to apply with the Common App or directly through the school, there are a few things that can make your essay a great one.

An important tip is to write about something that will grab the reader’s attention. You want to write about something interesting and make sure it also reflects your strengths. The admissions officer reading your essay will, at first, see you as just another applicant out of the thousands they receive, but if you can intrigue them, it will most likely improve your chances of admission. For example, a student who got into Stanford University wrote about visiting Costco for the first time. This topic sounds mundane, but the style the student created made the essay a fun read. The reason this essay received the praise it did was because of how the student was able to tell the story differently and amusingly, and most importantly, relate it back to himself.

Though captivating your audience is important within your essay, the most important thing is to find something that also helps you stand out. In the application process, your essay is what will individualize you from the other applicants. Your essay should include things that do not show through in your Common App info or other applications. When asked about her most essential advice was for the essay, English teacher Ms. Shovlin said, “Pick something that makes you stand out as a unique applicant. Don’t be afraid to get personal. Make it about you and be sure to highlight information that goes beyond the scores and statistics on your application form — this is your chance to reveal who you are as a person!”

Lastly, many applicants have issues with being too vague in their essays, so try to focus in on a specific experience. Some successful topics have included stories about challenges or failures that show qualities gained or lessons learned. The essay is the only way to portray your personality so try to customize it as best you can. Although it may seem intimidating, the essay is only a small portion of the whole college application process. Finding a topic you are passionate about will help in writing it and build your overall confidence in your application. Remember to stay true to your character and the message you want to display. Good luck!

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