What Makes a Great College Admission Essay?

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The path to college is rarely smooth. In fact, it’s a pretty challenging process with much work to be done. Which college to choose? How to find an affordable option? What major to pursue? These are only a few questions, which students and their parents need to answer. However, it’s only half the battle.

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Since test scores, extracurricular activities, and recommendation letters are no longer enough to get into a dream college, the path to higher education appears to be paved with even more pitfalls. The truth is that admissions officers are constantly looking for more ways to get to know potential students. One of them is taking a closer look at applicants’ social media profiles.

Yes, you’ve just heard it right! Your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat accounts may play a significant role in getting accepted. However, the most important role still belongs to the admission essay, as it’s the best way for the committee to know the student behind the numbers and photos. That is why you need to write a compelling college essay that will leave a lasting impression and set yourself apart from other applicants.

How to achieve this? First of all, go online and look for some useful tips regarding how to write a winning college essay that expresses who you’re. Second, take into account the following recommendations that will help you understand what exactly makes a great admission essay.

A winning college admission essay:

  • Engages admission officers from the very first sentence. One of the proven ways to grab the reader’s attention is to start with a vivid anecdote, a shocking statement, or a thought-provoking question that gives a reason to keep reading your essay.
  • Takes a risk. Writing about something controversial is quite risky, though it’s a good way to set your application apart from others. However, keep in mind that you can apply this method only in case you’re going to tell the truth or write about something you really believe in. If you just want to get noticed, chances are you will fail.
  • Evidently reveals student’s ability to learn, think, and analyze. Given college is about making life choices and preparing students for the future, it’s important to show that you have all the required skills and are ready for personal growth.
  • Describes real-life experience. A great college essay is usually written in a story-telling style with meaningful real-life examples. For instance, a special moment that clearly shows your personality or experience that had a serious impact on your life.
  • Shows student’s ability to solve problems effectively. Some of the best college essays are built on student’s ability to overcome difficulties and deal with academic puzzles. Thus, if you have experienced bad times in your life, tell your story showcasing what you have learned from that experience.
  • Describes only important achievements. Don’t turn your application essay into a list of all your virtues. Include only those that are truly meaningful and can describe you as a person. Admission officers are not interested in reading about your “wins” in early childhood. Instead, they are interested in recent accomplishments illustrating your skills and possible contribution to the college.
  • Reveals defining qualities. Just like with your achievements, a great college essay should not describe all your qualities. You only need to focus on one or two (e.g. leadership, initiative, curiosity, warmth of personality, etc.) and back them up with good examples of how you use those in different situations.
  • Reflects student’s inner voice. Even though you can learn much from examples of winning college essays, it does not mean that you should copy someone’s work or imitate someone’s style. Stay yourself and write in your own voice. Only in such a case you can achieve the goal.
  • Showcases student’s values. Write about what you really care, what makes you happy, what you want to achieve, what future you want to shape, etc. Your goal is to clearly show your values and can-do approach.
  • Meets college requirements. The last but not the least thing that makes an effective application essay is adherence to college requirements. Keep in mind that there are several formatting styles that can be used for writing college essays, so it’s of utmost importance to choose the right one. Check your college instructions before to actually write anything.

Now that you know what a great college essay looks like, you’re ready to write your own. Obviously, you don’t have to use all the mentioned recommendations at once. Moreover, not all of them will work for you. However, you can still choose several of them to be applied in your writing. Don’t forget that a college essay is your chance to reveal who you’re, so be true to yourself, and chances are you will succeed!

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