Sitting down to write a college application essay can be daunting for many students, no matter how prepared and well qualified they may be. Why is your college essay so important to being accepted into a top college or university? The reason is that it provides the selection committee an opportunity to learn about you as a unique individual who can contribute something special to the next freshmen class.
These college essay tips will help you understand what colleges look for in essays and how to communicate those qualities in your planning, writing, and proofreading phases. With a good understanding of the things to avoid in college essays, you can create impressive and compelling responses that answer the questions most important to college admissions.
Prepare yourself to write your college essays by starting with thoughtful consideration and brainstorming. College admissions essays may be different from your high school writing assignments, because the purpose behind these formal essays is to talk about yourself and your life experience. You might consider attending a college essay workshop to get started.
The most successful college essays share these features:
You will need to start at least several weeks before applications are due, although a month or more is even better. Put together some college essay brainstorming questions if you don’t have the final submission questions yet. As you think about the essay topics, take time to relax, go for a walk, talk to family and friends.
Ask yourself these kinds of questions:
This might be the first time you are asked to write about yourself in a professional setting, and the focus should be squarely on who you are and what you bring to your community. Don’t spend time imagining what the readers will want or expect to hear and then writing a bland recitation of your accomplishments.
Let go of self-editing at this phase and start here:
What makes an essay interesting to a college application board? Fine-tuning your ideas into a creative essay that paints a picture of you as a person and inspires the reader to want to know more. Essay writing tips for high school students encourage us to focus on stories that give a true taste of your personality, determination, and ability to overcome obstacles.
What qualities do colleges look for in new students? Examples of personal and intellectual development which will bring unique perspectives and diversity of culture to their institution. Include an essay about the life challenges you have faced and how these experiences have led you to develop into a stronger, more confident individual. Your message here is not to instill pity or even compassion, but rather to share how challenging experiences have shaped you as a person and leave your reader inspired.
One of the best writing tips for students is to talk about what excites and motivates you personally. Use your essays to highlight one of the things you are passionate about, and how you turned a passion project into a positive outcome for yourself and your community.
You might write about:
Good writing becomes great composition when you fine-tune and revise your first drafts into a clear, concise, and compelling essay. What do colleges want to see in an essay? A well-written and interesting account that is personal and genuine. As you finalize your submission, keep these aspects in mind:
Jump right in with an opening line that captures the reader’s attention. Start at an exciting point in the story rather than building up with a long introduction. Your essay should tell the reader something they did not learn elsewhere in your application. Be bold in describing your own experiences and bring the reader to your conclusion, which should focus on why these experiences make you an excellent candidate for admission.
Before you submit your college essay, take some final steps to ensure that everything is correct and in line with professional standards and application requirements. To put the finishing touches on a great submission, you should:
At Lydian Academy, we help young people prepare for college with one-on-one classrooms and an individualized educational plan for middle and high school students. You can sign up for a Summer College Essay and Application workshop with us to get individualized help with this important step to college acceptance.
We also offer Early College High School (ECHS) programs where high school students can enroll in college-level courses as an alternative to high school AP classes. This early college experience can smooth the transition and prepare young adults for the expectations of higher educational environments. Earning credit for these UC-transferable courses even helps with college tuition costs.
If you are looking for innovative learning experiences and a focus on each individual student’s success, Lydian Academy has the solutions that can fully prepare high school students for the challenges of college while encouraging their individual strengths and passions to fully ignite their love of learning. Contact us for more information or to schedule a virtual open house today.