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Best Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay

Written by CB Community

Crafting your college entry essay may seem trivial, but it requires considerable effort.

However, this venture is also an incredible opportunity to show your skills and shine at decision time.

The more hours you spend working on this written piece, the better scores the admissions officers will give you.

Educational institutions with strict selection criteria for entry receive countless applications from students with solid knowledge, abilities, and potential.

It’s up to you to prove that you deserve that cherished spot aboard the college premises.

And how do you prove your worthiness? Typically, through your essay, the extracurricular activities and transcripts from high school, and reliable letters of recommendation.

While some colleges give the freedom to include whatever you want, others share essay prompts with specific questions you must answer.

In some instances, you will have to reveal your life story. Each college will assign a unique topic to find the true gems within the extensive applicant pool.

But how do you conceive an excellent essay that sets you apart from the other candidates?

Though this manuscript is no different from other academic papers, it should reflect your individuality, potential, and interests.

Below, we share some helpful tips for writing an outstanding college essay:

Touch Upon Meaningful Life Events

People who work in college admissions agree that the ideal essays involve a unique memory or story shared by the applicant.

The experience can range from your favorite hobby or teacher to an impactful book or place you’ve visited.

However, this event must be a critical moment in your life. Hence, ensure you describe how this turning point made you a better person and influenced your decisions.

The easiest way to achieve this is by being honest and authentic.

Avoid picking topics because they seem impressive or unusual but aren’t genuine. An experienced admissions officer will recognize any attempt at including fake content in your essay.

Instead, pick a good story that resonates with your internal voice. Make it as engaging and memorable as possible by stating how much it matters to you.

This way, you’ll show your ability to share personal recollections and evoke a feeling of compassion in the reader.

Don’t be afraid to shed light on your vulnerable side because we all have fears we need to face and overcome in the future.

Learn to Reflect Instead of Recounting

“Your college essays will be challenging, but you must pick the most memorable topics to include. Reflecting on it shows your ability to analyze things and draw important conclusions. You can also consider getting help with writing your essay if you have writer’s block,” says Felicity Page, the admissions officer and a writer from PapersOwl.

Your essay must explain how the event you’re describing affected you as a student.

Don’t just narrate the story without any reflection on its impact on your choices and character traits.

Instead, demonstrate how this experience changed your beliefs and behavior and how it helped you mature over the years.

Don’t Get Overly Creative

Exaggerating your experiences and life goals will often backfire. And though you might get tempted to write about things that never happened, skip the idea.

The essay’s purpose isn’t to make you look super clever or cool.

You prove intelligence and fitness for university through your high school grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, and accomplishments.

Hence, there’s no need to brag or highlight academic results here.

College officers read loads of essays, so trying to serve them something they expect to see might have the opposite effect.

Go Through Several Drafts

Let’s face it; you’ll have to dedicate considerable effort to frame the perfect essay. Therefore, don’t postpone until the last day, and don’t write the entire application in one go.

If you do so, the chances that you end up with a disorganized and messy piece are significant. Instead, start early and brainstorm several possible drafts.

Moreover, if you wonder how to organize an essay, you can find excellent advice from PapersOwl’s experts.

Generally, the first draft doesn’t have to include everything in flawless order. You’ll go back and polish your ideas to perfection later.

You can also add extra information on the second or third reading.

Once the overall draft is ready, double or even triple-check it. The revision process will reveal any weaknesses you must address or sentences you must trim.

Therefore, always do the proofreading with fresh eyes. The final version mustn’t have awkward phrases, grammar errors, or typos.

Forget About Repetitions

Colleges are all about efficiency and accuracy. Your results can be the top of the class, but if you include contradicting information in your essay, the officers will spot it.

Even worse, they might disqualify you if you repeat stuff constantly. The application essay isn’t a place to list certificates and medals or discuss grades and test scores.

Stick to the prompt given and be as concise and informative as possible.

Be Specific and Practical

Writing about every single aspect of some experience is a common application mistake, just like including every step of a life-changing event.

Quite the contrary, focus on the most impactful details leading you to the outcome worth sharing.

Also, avoid run-on sentences that stretch over entire paragraphs. You will lose yourself in your thoughts and confuse the audience.

Instead, use catchy phrases that hook the reader’s attention.

Ask Someone to Review Your Essay

This segment is vital for the ultimate impact. Ask a friend with a gift for writing to revise your essay.

The reviewer will check whether the paper is well-organized, includes good transitions, and is free of grammatical mistakes and typos.

An impartial person will probably catch all the silly phrases you can’t spot.

Final Thoughts

The application essay is an excellent tool to show your skills, abilities, and achievements to the academic world.

However, you must follow specific rules before submitting.

Considering our suggestions will boost your chances of admission and help you create a touching, well-structured, and error-free essay.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.