An admission essay is an extremely important part of your application. Speaking broadly, this is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the committee and show that you are the best candidate to get the student space in a college of your dream. Your test scores say nothing about your personality, while an application essay is your chance to shine.
If you already know such foolproof pieces of advice as “Keep it real” and “Start early”, let’s move to more specific tips and find out some secrets of a brilliant admission essay.
What is an admission essay and why should you write one?
College applicants have to write admission essays to tell more about their purpose for applying for a certain college and course. As one of such students, you have to show how you can benefit from and contribute to the institution of your choice. In a word, your paper is a story about you as a person, not only as a student. The main purpose of it is a demonstration of your unique character to the committee. Of course, your writing skills and creative thinking will be evaluated as well.
- Think about a central question of your essay carefully
In most cases, admission essays come with the main question you need to answer (or a couple of them). Analyze this question for a while and give yourself time to think about it. Don’t use the first idea that comes to your head. As a rule, your first associations are just the same as the other students will certainly have. However, you don’t want to be a regular and boring applicant, do you? Sort your ideas in mind and write down a list of the best ones. Read your list and you will see that some ideas jump out at you as topics you could develop.
- Don’t use essays that you will find on the web
Everything you can do with the essays of the other applicants is reviewing them and avoiding anything you have seen there. Struggle against the temptation to reuse someone’s text.
- What makes you different?
When thinking about the main question and listing your ideas, think about things that make you unique. What are your strong sides? What kind of opinions and compliments you usually hear from others? Recall these qualities and emphasize them in your paper. However, listing or describing them will sound a bit weird, right? So make sure to interlace these traits to the interesting stories of your everyday life.
It means that you don’t have to list your hobbies, personality traits, and curriculum activities. A huge number of other students did the same things as you, so this will only show how much in common you have with others. As we have already mentioned, your aim is quite the opposite – you have to show how unique you are. You can mention your strong sides and favorite activities as something that helps you support your story.
- Tell the committee something new
Write about something that is not revealed anywhere else on your application. You are welcome to develop those points from the previous parts, but make sure to add something new and present it in an interesting and engaging way.
Writing about your real-life experience, remember that your stories have to be connected with a course you are applying to. However, make sure to avoid such sentences as “I enjoy helping other people and therefore I want to become a doctor”. If you don’t want the admission officers to fall asleep while reading your text, of course.
Let’s move to writing
- Keep focused
When you have analyzed your best ideas, choose one to focus on. Choosing a single topic will help you keep organized and clear. Just like other essays you have been writing during your high school years, application essay must have a concrete structure. It means that you should start your paper with a thesis statement that reveals the central point of your essay in an engaging and brief way.
For instance, if you are writing about an important situation in your life that changed your principles or beliefs, reflect on your thoughts and feelings you’ve had at that moment. Make sure to start your paper in a personal and compelling manner.
After you have formulated your main thesis, move to the opening paragraph. Remember that an admission officer that would be reading your paper have already read a ton of such papers. Your main goal is to grab his/her attention from the very first paragraph and evoke interest immediately. As you know, a good trick here is starting your paper with a quote, aphorism or a smart joke (be sure that it is 100% relevant to your topic).
- Compose the first draft
Work on the first version of your paper. Don’t try to make it perfect – just write everything you want to say about the topic and revise it later.
Most students ignore such a helpful thing as an outline. Take your time to create one. With an outline, you will follow your general ide strictly. This will help you include everything you wanted to say.
- Include examples
Make sure to provide examples to support things that you write. All of your rival-applicants will write that they love to learn something new or have leadership skills. Be unique – provide examples from your own experience, explaining why these things are so important for you.
- Be honest
It sounds tempting, but you shouldn’t write something that never happened to you or trying to show yourself better than you are.
- Jokes are awesome but don’t overdo with them
Humor is welcomed, but don’t try to make the admission committee laugh all the time when reading your paper. First, you have no idea if the admission officer has the same sense of humor as you. Second, you don’t have to rely on humor. This is a simple way to make friends and have a good conversation, but your aim is to get a student space, not make someone laugh.
- Keep it positive
Even if you are going to write about difficult situations, you should focus on how you overcame these obstacles. Therefore, demonstrate your reflection and use positive tone to show that you are ready for complexities. Explain what exactly you have learned instead of pinpointing your negative emotions.
- Appeal to feelings
Be open and honest when talking about your experience. This will help a reader connect with you on an individual level and make your paper truly unique. Don’t amplify and be sincere.
- Make a comprehensive conclusion
Your closing paragraph should be as strong as your first one. Think how you can tie it all together and make a final point about the theme. Try not to repeat things you have already written, just sum everything up.
After you are done with writing, reread and revise your paper several times. Good practices are reading your text aloud or giving it to someone else to get an evaluation. These are the basics of writing a successful application essay, so follow them and your chances to create a really compelling paper will grow! Good luck!