Doubtlessly, before writing anything you need to think about what not to do. First of all, read the task carefully and make sure you understand it. Some colleges require a minimum or maximum of characters or words; some want you to write by hand or on the computer. Their requirements, however bizarre they may be, are the baseline of your success, so make sure you impeccably follow them. Secondly, don't let your parents do all the job concerning your college application. Be in control of the writing process and make sure you contribute to your essay, since it's your way of thinking that matters and that the admissions office is going to be looking at. Remember to always proofread and check everything thoroughly. The level of thoroughness tells a lot about your overall motivation and commitment to the college you're applying to, that's why it's so important. Finally, make sure you submit everything in advance and don't wait until the last minute of the application deadline. And be original! The best college essay tells the admissions commission what they have never read before, something original and smart at the same time.