Admission News

A Smart Approach to the College Essay

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Essays! Essays! Essays! If you are applying to selective colleges, you know there is more than the one personal essay. There may also be the activities essay, the “why this college” essay, individual college prompts, and perhaps even the optional supplemental essay.

How can you get it all done? Here are some approaches.

• Read and understand the prompts – Some prompts may be unclear or may have more than one part. Ask a teacher or a mentor to explain the prompt to you before answering it.
• Now read all your essays prompts for all your applications – You will find many of them are similar, that they cover the same things. If you are careful, you can write two or three essays that can be slightly varied to fit all the essays you will need to write for all your applications. This means you can simplify as well as spend your time on a few good essays and not several mediocre essays.
• Have the right attitude – Think of writing the essay not as a mountainous chore but as an opportunity to do two things, 1). Add to your application beyond your GPA and you resume and 2). Have a little fun showing your personality.
• Be yourself – Don’t waste time trying to impress or demonstrating perfection. College essays are to show the admissions people who you really are. They like real people even better than perfect ones.
• Have two to three other people read your essay before completing it – New eyes will catch mistakes and be able also to suggest things you have forgotten or not thought about.

There—all done! Wasn’t that easier than you thought?