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Monday, November 23, 2009

College Application Essays That Will Get You Accepted

November 23, 2009

Writing college application essays can be intimidating for most aspiring applicants. College admissions can be competitive; it’s essential for students to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Extracurricular activities can be helpful, as can personal letters of reference, but most experts agree that college application essays are the best way for students to express their individuality and attract the attention of admissions officers at the college or university of their choice.

The most important advice for college applicants is to invest time in their college application essays. By devoting a significant amount of time to writing a compelling and personal essay and then editing the result until it is a finely-honed piece of writing, students can make a good first impression. College application essays can say a lot about the applicant; it’s essential that it speaks well for his or her ability to form coherent sentences, use good grammar, and demonstrate proper flow and structure in written discourse.

Keep it personal. A well-written, detailed essay about the price of tea in China may well win awards and praise from teachers and friends, but it reveals precisely nothing about the student in question. Writing from the heart is essential in order to make the best impression. By explaining various choices, discussing a difficult decision, or outlining the challenges faced in various endeavors, students can make a positive impression and allow college admissions officers a real basis on which to base their decisions.
For students applying to several different institutions, it’s important to tailor college application essays to the academic strengths of the specific institution in question. While it is possible and even desirable to use elements of one basic essay for all the schools under consideration, this will require certain changes depending on the specific college’s general atmosphere. Some schools pose specific questions for their essay requirement; ensure that each of these questions is adequately answered in the submitted essay. Failure to fulfill the requirements is usually grounds for the essay being discounted in the college admissions process; this can seriously limit the chances of a student being accepted to that school.
Demonstrate analytical skills and logical thinking in the essay. By showing a keen, rational understanding of basic issues, students can produce more clear and coherent results. Especially since college application essays are often the first point of contact between the student and the admissions committee, it’s essential that it unmistakably highlights the academic strengths and character of the student.

Lastly, get as much feedback as possible on the finished essay. Have relatives, friends, college counselors and teachers read and proofread it and give their commentary. While the final decision on incorporating changes must rest with the student, soliciting the input and help of objective readers can help to produce the best essay possible. Additionally, college applicants can get a better sense of the impression that the essay is likely to make on admissions officers by noting the feedback from friends, teachers, and family. Polished, personal college application essays offer a far greater chance for a positive response and for achieving the desired outcome.

By: Elizabeth Kraus

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