College-bound students are often intimidated by the application process. Writing an entrance essay to convey a meaningful message while showcasing individuality can be an overwhelming task.
Thankfully, there are a few simple steps that students can take to write a compelling college essay. While the document should be challenging to compose, these tips will make the process seem less taxing and completely achievable.
Earlier this year, we published a list of 34 Actions to Take to Get into Your First Choice College. The easy-to-follow compilation offers college-bound students a manageable list of steps to take each month.
Among October’s trio of tips, students are encouraged to use an authentic voice while writing their entrance essays. It is important to note that colleges are looking for individual personalities to shine through, so students should focus on authenticity rather than writing essays about what they believe colleges want to hear. With that in mind, here are the steps students can take to write the perfect college essay:
- Brainstorm: A brainstorming session before beginning an entrance essay will help with writer’s block. Jotting down informal thoughts and ideas is much easier than attempting to find inspiration to write an essay while staring at a blank page.
Choosing an essay topic can actually be fun! Students may consider major accomplishments, talents, and struggles they have faced. They might also ponder how they have been influenced by family members, teachers, or other people in their lives.
A student’s interests in films, books, or art offers a glimpse into their personality and beliefs. Goals and dreams may also be considered.
If the college requires students to answer a more specific question, a brainstorming session which focuses on the writer’s thoughts and beliefs around that particular topic will help to generate ideas.
- The first draft will not be the final draft: Conveying a meaningful message takes precedence over perfection when beginning a college essay. Once the initial draft is written, students should give themselves ample time to make modifications. By revisiting the draft multiple time, the writer will be inspired to make edits and improve the essay for clarity. Don’t rush the process.
- Organization is important: A student’s college essay topic and its delivery are undoubtedly important, but the writer should take care to present a well-organized paper. The first paragraph should introduce the topic. The paragraphs that follow should delve into the main idea; personal narrative should be used to deliver a meaningful message. The conclusion should summarize the essayist’s topic.
- Don’t go it alone: While it is vital for college-bound students to choose a meaningful topic and write their own entrance essay, an equally important step is to ask for the opinions of trusted family members, friends, teachers, and counselors. Readers may make suggestions for college-bound students to improve their essays, but it is imperative for the student’s voice to shine through. A student should never edit his/her voice out of an essay. A helpful question students may ask teachers, family members, and friends is, “Does my personality shine through in this paper?” If not, students should endeavor to infuse more of their character into the entrance essay.
- Acknowledge your effort: Students should feel confident and proud when presenting a college essay. When an individual has worked diligently to compose an entrance essay they are proud of, they should feel confident and proud to have written an essay from their unique point of view.
Composing college essays can be an enlightening experience for students. By exploring their unique perspectives, they reiterate what has shaped them and what is important to them. Creating the perfect college essay is just the beginning; this theme of self-discovery will carry over into the student’s college experience.