The dreaded essay.  It’s not just you—every student feels the same way about it and puts it off as long as possible. Instead of thinking about why you have to do it, think about why the college requires it. The essay is your chance to tell the people in a college admission office what is important to you and to offer a glimpse of what they may not know about you. It showcases your ability to deliver a message and communicate it clearly. If done well, an essay can set you apart and make the case for why you belong at that particular institution. So don’t dread the essay, embrace it!  Here are a couple of suggestions of how to write an essay that will help you stand out in the admission process.

  • Write about what’s important to you, not what you think is important to them. Choose a subject that is interesting or relevant to you and provides the college the chance to learn more about you.
  • Review the instructions, if there are any, to ensure that your essay is in the desired format.
  • Write it yourself.  Admission officers know when it’s your work and when it isn’t.
  • You don’t have to brag but give a sense of what you would bring to the campus by highlighting your achievements.
  • Write clearly and concisely, use words that make sense and aren’t just there to impress. They want to see your ability to write, not to use a thesaurus.
  • Make the reader feel as if they were there with you.  Whether it was a debate, a great athletic performance or a rally you staged, you want to engage the reader and make them feel like they were there when it happened. 
  • Proofread it.  Avoid typos and misspellings. Those are deadly.
  • Ask a teacher, counselor or trusted family member to read it and provide any tips to improve the essay.   
  • Finally, review what you have written one last time. Reread your paper and check to see if it makes sense. Make sure that sentence flow is smooth and phrases are used correctly to help connect thoughts or ideas. 

Congratulations! You’re done. Send it off and have confidence that you have just written a great essay.