Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
College admissions essays help admissions counselors get to know applicants on a personal level. Essays provide a unique opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their personality, creativity and writing skills. The essay is one of the few parts of the application where the real student can be seen.
However, writing the essay can also feel like a daunting task, especially for those who are not sure how to write one. For some students, the idea of writing the essay can even be so frightening that they only apply to schools without an essay requirement. However, after knowing what admissions counselors want to read in essays, the task becomes an opportunity to show the admissions counselors who the student is beyond their grades and test scores.
Admissions counselors want essays that are focused, well written, and honest. The tips below will help you write a quality essay meets admissions counselors' expectations.
Admissions counselors want to get to know you; they want to see the real you beyond grades, test scores, and activity lists. The most important rule to remember is to be yourself when writing the essay. Let your personality shine through by using natural language and by being honest.
Use Standard Grammar
While you do want the essay to sound like you, make sure it is written using standard grammar even if you regularly use shortcuts in your writing. Using unconventional spelling, all capital- or lower-case letters, or other types of writing popularized though email and text messaging will distract the reader. In addition, the use of proper grammar will go a long way toward demonstrating that you are capable of college-level writing.
Focus on the Topic
Failing to focus on the topic is the easiest mistake to avoid. Read the essay prompt carefully to be sure you understand it. While writing your essay revisit the prompt periodically to ensure that you have not wandered off topic. When the essay is complete, revisit the prompt one last time to be certain you have addressed the topic completely.
Take the time to write a quality essay. Begin by brainstorming various ways to approach the topic. Once you have selected the direction to take your essay, write several drafts. Read and revise your essay as many times as needed to produce a quality product.
It is important that not only you proofread your work but that you have others proofread it as well. Friends and family can verify that the essay sounds like you. Your school counselor can confirm your essay is on topic and written appropriately. Your English teacher can help you with grammar and writing quality.
Using these tips when writing your admissions essay will ensure your essay is a quality product that shows admissions counselors a side of you impossible to be seen in other parts of the application. A well-planned, well-written essay will also demonstrate your readiness for college-level writing.