9 Tips for Writing a Stand-out College Essay

January 25, 2023 at 10:00 PM
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Writing a college essay can be daunting, but it is a crucial part of the university admission process. A great essay that stands out from the crowd can make all the difference in whether your application gets accepted or rejected. It’s essential to craft an essay that captures who you are and makes you stand out as a person, not just as a student. Start by reading college essay examples, then embark on your writing journey to craft a truly excellent essay. Here are nine tips to get you started!

Top Tips for Admissions Essay Writing

Know Your Audience

Every college has its own unique culture, and every admissions team has its preferences and interests. When writing your essay, remember who will be reading it and tailor your language accordingly. For example, if you apply to a creative writing program, focus on showcasing your creativity rather than emphasizing your technical skills or scientific knowledge.

Tell Your Story

Your college essay should tell your story in an authentic voice. Rather than trying to fit into a mold, showcase who you are. Admissions officers want to get to know you, so don’t be afraid to share anecdotes or experiences that highlight your unique perspectives and interests.

Go Deep

Admissions teams want to know you as an individual; they are interested in who you are beyond your test scores and transcripts. They want to know what sets you apart from other applicants, so include details about yourself that demonstrate who you are and how you are unique. Don’t be afraid to talk about any hardships or struggles you may have faced – these experiences add dimensionality and depth to your story that will help capture the attention of admissions teams.

Demonstrate Intellectual Curiosity

Colleges want students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity and creativity, so use your essay to showcase how you embody these qualities. Provide anecdotes that show how you think outside the box, can explore new ideas, and learn from past experiences.

Be Specific

Vague generalizations or broad topics are not as effective as specificity when writing your essay. Instead of essay sujects like “my childhood” or “my impact on society,” try focusing on one specific event or experience that has impacted who you are today. Ideally, this event will demonstrate the kind of person you are, the choices you make, and the standards to which you hold yourself.

Use Examples

It is one thing to say that you have leadership qualities or strong problem-solving skills – it is another thing entirely to actually “show” those attributes in your essay. Use concrete examples of how the abilites you’re claiming have revealed themselves in real-life situations! Whenever possible, use specific stories that illustrate your points to make a strong impact on admissions teams.

Get Inspired

Find college essay examples at your school counselors office, online, or at the library. There are entire books that are full of college essay examples to inspire and guide your essay writing process.

Write Clearly & Concisely

When writing your essay, make sure that each sentence is clear and concise without any unnecessary words or phrases. Flowery or overwrought language will distract from the main point of your narrative. A brief, well-crafted sentence can be more impactful than a long-winded one; focus on using clear, succinct language.

Proofread & Edit

Once you have finished writing your essay, take some time to proofread it for any typos or grammatical errors before submitting it for review by admissions officers. Even small mistakes can affect how your application is perceived! Additionally, ask counselors, friends, and family members for feedback; they may spot something you missed that could improve your work's overall quality!

Find Expert Guidance for College Essay Writing

Writing a standout college essay may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be an exercise in anxiety. Using these nine tips - telling your story authentically, demonstrating intellectual curiosity, being specific with examples, writing clearly & concisely, seeking out excellent college essay examples - plus proofreading & editing carefully beforehand, anyone can write an effective college essay that will make them stand out from their peers.

When you are ready to start your college essay, get in touch with Educational Attainment Services. EAS provides comprehensive college admissions preparation, with a full suite of counseling, application, writing, and funding services to support families with this important process.