College Application Essay Writing – What Makes You Special?

College Application Essay Writing – What Makes You Special?

Educational EndeavorsWith November 1st recently behind us, many high school seniors will have just submitted their first college applications.  While it is good to enjoy a brief respite from the college process and to celebrate those initial accomplishments, the wise senior will keep in mind that the next deadlines will be here quickly, accelerated even more by the holiday season.

College essays have become an increasingly important facet of the application process.  With so many qualified applicants applying to top schools, it is the opportunities for uniqueness that help applicants earn their spots.  Below are some key concepts to remember to help you write a strong essay.

  1. What’s Missing? Generally, the college essay is designed to offer applicants an opportunity to fill in the gaps.  When choosing your topic, there are two main questions that should guide your selection.  First, when you review your application, what are you most worried is missing?  Think in terms of personality especially.  Are you funny, kind, intellectual, driven, conscientious?  Figure out the key characteristics that colleges must know to know you well.  Question two, then comes out of that: what is a moment in your life that best showcases those characteristics?  Start by writing a narrative about that experience, then explain both what that experience meant to you and how that meaning will make you a strong candidate for college.
  2. How Big? People make the mistaken assumption that their college essay has to reveal some major life-changing moment or survived tragedy.  Remember that these colleges want to know the real you—the everyday you.  Your narrative need not cover some grandiose topic.  In fact, it probably shouldn’t.  The larger the narrative, the harder it will be for you to focus on yourself and not the conditions of your experience.  Write about something constant and steady in your life instead.
  3. Who’s Reading? Don’t forget to keep in mind who is reading this essay.  Most college admissions counselors are recent alums who have a strong affinity for the college they attended—so strong in fact, that they couldn’t imagine leaving when they graduated.  While these people certainly care about your academic qualifications, they are also preserving the social dynamics of a school.  They want to know that you will fit into the social structure they enjoyed so much.
  4. How Many? Don’t forget that these readers are also reading way too many of these essays.  Imagine that is your job for a second.  Imagine that, crammed into a too-short period, you are tasked with reading hundreds of essays on the same prompt.  How much would you appreciate a clever and original essay?

Check out Yale’s College Application Essay Video Advice!

Keep these four things in mind when writing your essay, and you should end up with a pretty solid application.  If you need further advice, considering hiring Educational Endeavors for some one-on-one tutoring.  Written by: Greg Wright, EE Tutor