How to Create the Perfect College Essays

Maria

Maria

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14 minutes

How to Create the Perfect College Essays

When applying for admission to American colleges, prospective students are often asked which part of the application is essential. Although the admissions committee carefully reviews all parts of your application, it is necessary not to underestimate the critical role that essays or motivation letters play in the application process.

Together with letters of recommendation, essays help the selection committee to differentiate you among the second applicants. The essay also demonstrates your skills in communicating your thoughts logically and convincingly in writing, which is essential for a successful college education.

A correctly and competently written essay is practically the critical factor for a selection committee's positive decision. For your essay or motivation letter to stand out from all others, we have prepared college essay prompts to make your text memorable and pay attention to the admissions committee.

What Does a College Essay Mean?

A college essay is a document drawn up and submitted by a student to an educational institution that explains why the applicant considers himself the best candidate for the relevant study program. Such a letter's preparation requires detailed research by the applicants of the college's general academic environment and various educational programs.

This essay has exceptional value. By writing a college essay, the student gets an additional opportunity to think over and argue his decision, to establish himself in his conviction to enter the appropriate educational program or change his mind.

This is how the commission's representatives think about the essay: "Such a document will be lightweight, that is, it will not be critically important when calculating the score upon admission. However, it is still an innovation, which, in our opinion, will allow the college to choose the best students, and the applicants themselves think why they need this or that college."

How to Start a College Application Essay?

As with any creative work, your work should also have a beginning, content, and conclusion. Therefore, we advise you to start an essay on writing a plan. To "sell" your story, you need to make an interesting opening, followed by a story-rich main body and a strong, life-affirming ending. You can search the internet for college essay examples if you don't know how to get started.

Also, to write a good essay, you need to understand why you are interested in this particular college or educational program. Therefore, at the beginning of your study, write down at least five unique traits, abilities, or properties that make you stand out from everyone else. Select only the ones you intend to use in your essay to prove to the admissions committee you are a valuable candidate.

If you still find it difficult to form an opinion, get a professional who can create your plan and turn ideas into excellent text. Fortunately, there are many online resources, such as StudyBay, that will gladly help you write your text professionally in a short time.

How Long Is a College Essay?

The first reading of your essay will take 10 seconds. It is this thought that should be kept in mind throughout the writing of the text. After all, the essay's length and all the other parameters that it must answer to follow from this. In those 10 seconds, the reader should see something that will make him want to come back and look at you better. After all, sometimes thousands of applications come to an opportunity, and you need to stand out from them to be noticed.

Most often, colleges will tell you not to exceed the 650-word limit. Why precisely this figure? Because most of the people on the commission say this is the optimal length. Essays with more than 650 words stop reading until the end. The commission gives the impression that you are writing an autobiography. The minimum size of an essay should be 250 words.

If the essay's required volume is not indicated on the college website, do not make the text large in one A4 page (12 font with 1.5 spacing or 14 font with one spacing). Pay attention to how the task is set. If the conditions specify the font, the number of words, and the design conditions, then the presentation style must be formal and serious. If the commission asked not to pay attention to the formalities, you could afford more jargon or slang.

Do College Essays Really Matter for Commission?

Many executives do not conduct college interviews. Sometimes everything ends with a competition of certificates, in other cases - with a reconciliation of exam results. Therefore, the only chance to get to know the applicant, find out his dreams, talents, or features is an essay that can be called a particular test to express your thoughts on paper and concentrate on the main thing.

The selection committee concludes the applicant from his documents, and it helps to form a picture of the student. Learn about his thoughts on education, plans for the future, and the realization of dreams through the chosen specialty. It is probably hard for you to imagine that the advantage in enrolling in a college may not be in an applicant who has passed exams, but in the one who showed himself as a positive person with an active life position and forward-looking plans for the future.

And this whole picture of a person is an essay. The more meaningful and literate the letter is written, the more chances the future student will have to reveal his personality, abilities, experience, and focus on his merits. After all, every college's goal is to rank not just smart people, but people who will charge others with their energy, motivation, share experience, and knowledge. Therefore, the essay is critical to the commission.

College Essay Topic: How to Choose?

You can write about everything, and the main thing is how you present yourself. Proprietary essay topics can be very diverse. Standard - "who is a leader," about value - "the biggest tragedy of your life," aimed at competencies - "how I work in a team," creative - "point ten unlikely facts about yourself," complex - "how I became leader, "thematic -" why did I choose this particular direction. "They can be very large, for example, 650 words, and easily surprise the reader with stories.

It is a good idea to show your attitude to the problem and how it hurts you. Such people are passionate about the idea, inspire others, and can cause social change. Therefore they are welcome in all projects. It is a good idea to write about your negative experiences and mistakes. We need to demonstrate how you dealt with this obstacle, what you learned from this experience, and how it made you who you are now.

We offer several essay topics that may interest the commission:

  1. What influenced the content of your goals, dreams, ideas?
  2. What people, events, challenges inspired you?
  3. Describe a unique experience that has affected your life.
  4. Indicate an event or situation in your life that made you grow as a person.
  5. Describe how the chosen program will unleash your leadership potential.

Tips on Writing College Essays

Before writing a text, the student is tormented by thoughts of making the essay special, not like others, to attract the admissions committee's attention. For the letter to be successful, you should adhere to several college boards:

  1. The essay should contain as much information as possible about you. After reading the essay, the selection committee should feel that they have met the student personally.
  2. Emphasize why this particular college will help you achieve your career goals. This is necessary for the commission to make a complete impression of the applicant and conclude why he should be accepted for study.
  3. Describe all your positive qualities, talk about your achievements, about your plans for the future. Show your personality. You can describe one or more examples of life. This will already be a good characteristic for the applicant. But, in no case should you over-praise yourself.
  4. The writing style should be simple. The text is straightforward, easy to understand, well written. Choose MLA format, APA, or ASA.
  5. You do not need to exceed the essay limit. If you write a lot, it will say that the applicant cannot fulfill the goals.

Now let's take a look at the must-have steps to write a great essay.

Read the Instructions

Carefully read and analyze the topic and the brief writing instructions. In college, there is usually an exact topic or question that needs to be answered.

The admissions office expects you to indicate your career goals, describe your previous academic and professional experience, and why this particular program is most suitable.

If you ignore the college's essay writing guidelines, the committee may decide that you are a student who is unable to follow a clear plan.

Or you are a student who is not ready to follow the college rules. It's not for nothing that the college sets its own rules and restrictions on words because only thanks to this they can see if you are a disciplined person.

Take notes as you read the instructions. This way you won't forget anything important. After reading, make a plan in which to structure your thoughts logically. Only after these two aspects are in place can you start writing your first draft.

Write an Introduction

Respectful treatment is an essential part of the essay. It provides a text of an official nature and attracts the attention of the addressee. Such an element is usually in bold or italic type and centered.

One line after the appeal, the introduction is placed, which is the letter's first paragraph. This paragraph sets out its purpose and reason for writing. In this part, it should be briefly explained why the applicant chose this particular college and how, in his opinion, studying in an additional program will contribute to his professional development and growth.

Also, your task is to create a "hook." A particular thesis statement can arouse the reader's interest and is directly related to the main topic. Find what characterizes your thesis or problem posed most accurately. For example, the opinion of a well-known expert in this field, or, at first glance, an unremarkable fact, fits your thesis correctly. Further, develop the thought so that gradually from the hook to come to the central part of the work.

Write in Advance and a Few Drafts

It is better to prepare in advance for writing an essay, as you will need more time to arrange it correctly, structure it, and edit it. We also recommend writing several drafts. What for? Only a professional can write a good text the first time. If you write several times, you will gain experience and thus apply it to the essay. Perhaps after writing several draft options, you will connect different parts that complement each other and remove the extra ones.

Write Only About What Is Important to You

Important things include facts that can positively influence the decision of the question of enrollment in studies. Despite the applicant's academic and social achievements, skills, and abilities, the selection committee may be inclined to think that he will be a successful student.

You can write a description of professional goals, describe what exactly interests you in the chosen educational program and profession, who you see yourself after completing your studies. Such information indicates that you are aware of which academic program you choose, what job you want to get, and that training will help you become a good specialist in the chosen Feri. With such an element's employer, you will ensure that the target person has a well-defined purpose.

Important things include:

  • your achievements, which will be useful for training in your specialty (academic success, participation in projects and masterclasses, knowledge of various languages)
  • acquired knowledge and skills that will help in training in the chosen specialty;
  • good academic results in particular subjects related to the educational program.

Avoid Clichés

While you search for examples of application essays, you will stumble upon many templates that are not much different. Watching examples is a great exercise, but you need to choose only those diverse moments and do not repeat each other.

Some students focus too much on examples and allow themselves to influence worldviews with clichés. This technique indicates that the admissions will hardly pay attention to you since another student has already sent most likely such clichés.

The admissions office cannot be surprised by old clichés. Therefore, write a unique text that perfectly describes you as a person. Share unique ideas. If you do use examples, then only those students who entered the college of their dreams. These cannot be examples from the Internet. Look for such students in real life and consult if possible.

Use Individual Voice

Each student, through his essay, seeks to stand out from hundreds of other applicants. You can do this by showing your voice as much as possible. However, do not overdo it - do not add pictures, photos, videos, and graphics in the essay if it is not required. Do not joke or come up with an original format, all of which may be inappropriate. A well-structured essay containing important information and written in the correct style will give you a much better recommendation.

Do not read essays on the Internet that helped students to enroll. Every American university likes to publish the coolest essays in the "essays that worked" section. However, no exact guarantee that your essay, written after reading someone else's work, will remain unique, personal, and sincere. Write about what touches you. If you have something to write about yourself, you will become an American university student. Find your voice, your topic, and even the Harvard Commission won't forget you.

Use Jokes Carefully

The admissions office appreciates the students who can make them laugh. This indicates that you feel the situation and can approach the essay in the right tone. But be careful with jokes, as it is straightforward to cross the line. If you think that a funny story can cheer up the selection committee, it is better to double-check your assumptions. For example, after telling your parents the story, you saw a smile on their face, then feel free to use the story in the essay. But if the story caused bewilderment among the parents, then most likely, the selection committee will react in the same way. We recommend avoiding incomprehensible jokes because everyone has different humor.

Stick to the Plan

Writing creative papers is a valuable gift, but you shouldn't apply your skills to all documents. After all, college essays should be organized, not chaotic. If you use many artistic techniques when writing, you will most likely add volume to the text but not meaning. Try to successfully pick up words at a time, not only creative but also with specific goals.

You have a limited number of words, and your task is not to fill the volume with unnecessary phrases, but how best to reveal yourself. A well-written plan can help you in this situation. Divide the entire essay into three parts: introduction, central part, conclusion. For each part, pick up ideas and try to translate them in a way that does not repeat itself. If you stick to the plan, you will write the perfect essay with the right structure.

Answer the Questions

Each college asks a series of questions to which it wishes to hear answers. Therefore, before writing an essay, we recommend that you carefully study the questions posed on the college website. If you have answers to them, the commission will conclude that you have carefully approached the text's writing and not just compiled a paper in which it asks you to take on the training program.

Use Examples to Support Ideas

Application essay writing aims to show your brain skills and ideas about how you look at the world. If you want the admissions committee to believe that you intend to go to their college, you need to provide strong arguments and evidence to support your words. Therefore, before creating an essay, think about what quotations from authoritative people can emphasize your ideas.

When you bring evidence that there is a place for your ideas, you will be treated with respect. If you do not find quotes from reputable sources, we recommend bringing real-life examples. Stories about how you were a volunteer, took part in the Olympiad, competitions are a great example. A banal set of phrases about what kind of person you are does not mean you can learn. Only by illustrating the information with appropriate evidence can you prove that you are the best candidate for a curriculum.

Edit Your Essay

Editing is perhaps the essential step. Because the editing process allows you to develop and improve your essay, there are many methods you can use to validate your essay, and you should try them. Read the essay aloud and silently, ask peers or colleagues for feedback, or work with a professional on writing.

Improvement will take time, so take your time with the process. It's a good idea to take your mind off your essay after you've been working on it for a while and come back to it in a few days and see it with fresh eyes. When editing, make sure that you also pay close attention to spelling and grammatical errors, as the admissions committee will use this sample letter to measure your ability to succeed in an English-speaking academic environment.

Look for Ideas in Other Essays

We recommend reviewing essays only to find ideas but not to rewrite the finished text. Members of the admissions committee of an American university who read essays want to hear your story in your presentation, so they value honesty. Think about what is special about your story and tell it sincerely. If you need inspiration - look for examples. Maybe there you will be able to find stories similar to yours.

Don't try to pretend to be someone else to impress the reader. The commission often receives essays written in rare words in everyday communication and designed to create the impression that comes with a wide vocabulary. There is a need to use eloquent words. Commission wants to see what kind of person you are, without a word, the meaning of which needs to be checked in the dictionary.

No inspiration? Start writing your perfect essay today with StudyBay. To get answers to all your questions and tips on making your text even better, tell us that you need help, and the best writers will respond immediately with ideas.

Originally published Jun 10, 2017, updated Jan 18, 2021

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