Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mastering the College Essay

As college applications season kicks into high gear, the application item that seems to strike the most fear in students is the essay.  Follow these tips for a great essay!

·       Show, and then tell. 

Use an anecdote, a real life moment, to grab the reader in the beginning.  Showing takes advantage of those concrete details that we can’t resist: the specifics of something that happened. Who can resist the juicy stuff? Then the writer can “Tell” or explain, analyze, reflect, etc., on what happened later in the essay.
“I don’t hear anything but my own breathing and footsteps” rather than “When you take a step back and observe how modern society functions, it appears quite chaotic and busy.”
This essay is about contentment found through rock climbing.
Remember, college admissions folks read thousands of essays, don’t bore them!

·       Be authentic.
Be yourself.  Don’t try to impress.  Be likeable.  Be honest.  This is a student’s time to shine, to let the colleges learn more about who the applicant is beyond grades, test scores and activities.  Don’t think about what you think the colleges want to hear.  It is more important to be engaging than impressive.
“I am a good loser.  It is an art I have perfected.  When I was six, I lost a button up my nose”…

·       Narrow the lens and own the story.
Be specific.  Use all of your senses through adjectives and details. Owning the story means no one else could tell it and it didn’t happen to anyone else.  It doesn’t have to be an extraordinary event; it just needs details so nobody else could tell the story the same way.
“I was extremely nervous before the orchestra started playing”… Probably every kid in the orchestra felt that.  Instead, “I was sitting on the stage with my violin resting on my shoulder, and I was sure I’d never been that nervous.  I looked out into the crowd and somehow found my dad”.
The best essays are meaningful experiences that also make for good stories.

·       Don’t repeat information from the rest of the application.
As the editor of the school newspaper, a student would certainly be proud and want to write about it.  But it was already listed on the activities section of the application. So rather than writing about what it is like to be the editor, narrow the lens and recall a particular story associated with being the editor, owning the story with rich details.  Another approach is to share a story that has not been mentioned anywhere on the application.  Remember, the college is wanting to get to know the applicant better.

·       Sound like a high school senior.
Find the balance between too formal and too casual as the student tells the story in the first   person. This is difficult for teenagers as they are not accustomed to this type of writing.  Ask these questions:  Is this something the student would actually say to someone else? This keeps the writer from being too formal. How would you say it if you were describing it to your favorite teacher?  This keeps the writer from being too casual.
“Participating in varsity baseball has been a valuable experience for me because it taught me the importance of committing to my goals”.  I don’t know too many teenagers that would actually say that.  But they might say:  “Varsity baseball was the first time in my life that I actually wrote a goal down on a piece of paper and promised myself I was going to do it.”


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Quite interesting. I think I'll check your blog for further reading to essay writing build some certain opinion.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. For this purpose, the UGC may request the relevant information from the private university concerned,details of WritemyEssayOnline as prescribed in the UGC (Returns of Information by Universities) Rules, 1979.

  5. I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.
    Best Dissertation Writing Services UK

  6. My heartiest congratulations to the writer on writing this.
    BA 2nd Year Date Sheet 2019

  7. Mmm.. estimable to be here in your report or notify, whatever, I repute I should moreover process strong for my have website want I play some salubrious further updated busy in your location.
    cheap essay writing service

  8. Now that’s what I call a tremendous blog. Beautifully written.
    write my term paper

  9. This is one awesome article. Thanks Again. Awesome.
    BA 1st Year Result


  10. Many students face problems regarding their college essay, but they did not share their problems with anyone and get low grades. I will recommend them that they should contact with the experts of essay writing services and enjoy high grades. I hope, you will follow my guidelines and get your desired grades.

  11. I Am Searching It For Many Sites. But Here I Got It...BA 2nd Year Date Sheet 2020

  12. If you are worried about your college essay, you should get help from the expert writers of essay writing service and get your desired grades. This writing company provide you good and authentic services.

  13. your article is very amezing . i read your article .i want to share my article with you. so don't forgate to visit my article.

  14. The post is really informative about buy research paper online and keeps posting and this is an Interesting Blog.

  15. Thank you There Is certainly a lot to learn about Advocacy Tutor, I really like all the points you've made.

  16. The post is really informative about online maths classes and keeps posting and this is an Interesting Blog. Thanks for sharing.

  17. clearly, It is an engaging article for us which you have provided here about best ib physics tuition singapore This is a great resource to enhance knowledge about it. Thank you

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Thanks for Sharing amazing post. It’s really awesome
    Python institute in Noida

  20. Great idea man thanks for keeping it up all the time. I am very happy to see your standard about Benefits Of Abacus. Really I appreciate you continuing your work.