The college essay. It may just be the reason you get into that school you so desperately want to attend. But you know that already, so you’re probably feeling some kind of writer’s block. You don’t want to bore the admissions officers at New England College and you can be sure they’ve seen and heard it all before. The sheer amount of essays that an admissions department must get through each year is daunting as most of the papers that they have to read are just downright uninteresting. Don’t be one of them.
You can write a college application essay that the admissions department will remember and even enjoy. Be confident and don’t over-think it. Those are the first two pieces of advice I can offer. There are other tips to keep in mind when you sit down to write, have a look and then get cracking, that deadline will be here before you know it.
Think Hard about Your Subject
This is what your essay is going to be about, so make sure it’s on a topic that someone is going to want to read. If you’re going to choose something related to current events then be sure you have a fresh perspective on that subject because if it’s something major and important, chances are a hundred other applicants are going to write about it as well. Got any idea how many students decided to write about 9/11 back in 2001 and 2002?
The economic crisis in 2008 was another popular subject. Election years bring out related essays across the board. So you can go that direction, but no matter what you decide to write about for your topic you must be sure to make it personal. Bring your unique take to the material. That doesn’t mean the admissions officers want to hear about how you volunteered at a soup kitchen or your trip to Europe. Bring your own perspective to the essay but make it engaging for the reader as well.
You were likely taught about topic sentences in high school. Remember what you learned and take it to the extreme. That first line of your essay must be an attention-getter. If you feel like you’re going too big, you’re probably not. Hit your reader from the very first moment. Getting that hook in up front will have your reader wanting to continue. Try out a few different versions, see which one works best. Go big and then you can tone it down later, after the entire essay is finished. But be sure you have that engaging first line up front.
Too many people put restrictions and limits on themselves from the outset and their writing suffers as a result. Just put words down on paper. Make it stream of consciousness if you wish, you can always edit and fix for structural purposes later on. But getting your raw thoughts down first will provide you the opportunity to see what you have and then build upon it from there. This method will help you find your voice, figure out what it is you want to say, and drive your point much more effectively.
Rewrite and Rewrite Again
You never ever want to send in your first draft. Making revisions is how you find the paper you really want to submit. So read it and rewrite it again and again. Practice makes perfect and right now all you’re doing is practice. You will find different words to use, better words, stronger words that convey bolder images in the mind of your reader. Find ways to use less words, be succinct, they say brevity is the soul of wit because it’s true. When you’re finished with your essay put it aside. Give it a day or two and then revisit. You’ll find you’re far more impactful after you’ve had some time away from the essay to really make it as strong as it can be.