What makes a college essay stand out?

Writing is not everyone's cup of tea. However, college admissions boards review students essays to find out more about the student than the fill-in-the-blank application can reveal. The essay is a significant piece of the puzzle and you want yours to make the reader take notice.

What makes a college essay stand out?

  • ORGANIZATION - This may be obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of college application essays that ramble. Plan your writing, stick to the topic, tell your story.

  • CREATIVITY – Think about those admission boards pouring over stacks of college applications, all sounding too-eager and too-pleasing. Make your essay be the one that makes the reader take notice. Perhaps your word choice is unique. Maybe it is the specific, seemingly-obscure ten-minute encounter that you have chosen to make as the focus of your essay that make the admissions reader say, “Hey, you should read this one!” It could just be that the story you are telling is fabulous: jumping off a cliff into the Colorado River changed your perspective or the details of your high school robotics finals competition. It could also be the way you tell the story regardless of the topic. Some people can craft a moving essay about their fascination with words. Use creativity in your college essay to capture the reader’s attention.

  • WRITING PERFECTION – Admissions essays are used by colleges to discover who you are and how you will fit into their university, but they are also used as another measure of your intelligence, organization and time commitment. It is absolutely imperative that your admissions essay has zero grammar and punctuation errors. Your ideas must also be organized and your sentences and paragraphs well-structured. Ask your parents, teachers, siblings, or anyone you can think of to read it, proofread it and give you honest feedback. Then, proofread, proofread and proofread again.

  • IT SHOWS THE REAL YOU - Colleges have your grades, high school activities and all kinds of detailed information about you. Let your college essay show them what the facts and incidentals on the applications materials can’t. Let your essay show the real you: the sensitive you, the risk-taker you, the insecure you, the brave you. Be real and be honest.

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