College Essays: Not-So-Scary Monsters


Not as scary as it seems! Writing a college essay can be painless if you follow a few simple tips and tricks.

Mason Elias, Staff Reporter

The college essay, more commonly known as an admission or personal statement, is something that students looking to go to college dread every single year. You pick a prompt and write away, hoping when you send it in that a college will just maybe pick you. Every essay should be steered towards one grand idea, with several supporting subtopics and a personal thesis that is memorable. As bad as they may seem, there are some strategies that may be useful to take off some of the stress you may face when writing them.

According to the blog “College Essay Guy,” there are over 35 different methods you can use to help you in your writing. For example, do not feel the urge to use every detail of a challenging experience in your admission. The blog says “Your writing should provide a context within which the reader learns about who you are and what has brought you into this stage of your life.” To sum it up, make sure your essay really tells a story about who you are, what drives you, and how you plan to achieve your goals.

Another trick (which teachers often encourage) is to ALWAYS proofread your essay. This may prove to be the difference between going to college and getting rejected. Read it aloud, skim it for any missing punctuation, and check for any grammatical errors. Having tiny mistakes will make you look unprofessional, so do yourself a favor and proofread.

In another blog by students at Tufts University, the university students encourage students to write essays with a style similar to how we speak on a regular basis. Students say, “If your friends, family members, and teachers would describe you as silly, outgoing, and uninhibited (you share your feelings without holding back), why would you submit a collection of essays all written in a formal, subdued tone?” Always add that personal touch to essays. I’m sure college admissions advisors get bored of reading the same bland formal essays over and over, so make sure to add that extra pizazz so your essay stands out.

A common tip they share, and one that we often practice here at West, is to have other students or even teachers read your essay before you submit it. I believe that other people’s opinions on my writing are critical to my success. They often provide great insight and good ways to improve any essay.

When it comes time to write your college essay, don’t be scared. I believe in you. The process may seem scary at first, but using these tips and tricks, and a vast variety of others found on the web, may greatly benefit you. So, to recap, make sure the essay is centered around you, always add your own personal touch, proofread your essay, and get others to give your feedback. You got this West!