8 Tips You Need to Know Before You Write Your College Essay

    How you’re going to spend your summer vacation can be one of the most stressful things about college life, especially if you’re like most students and don’t know what you want to do with your life yet. Whether you’re thinking about writing that much-dreaded college essay or are just interested in keeping up on college tips, these 8 top tips from will help you with everything from how to outline an essay to how to work with the admissions office and create a winning application essay. Let’s get started!

    1) Think About an Interesting Experience

    The college essay is meant to give admissions officers insight into your character and personality. That said, admissions officers know it’s difficult for students to share a lot of details about themselves. As such, it may be best if you focus on an interesting experience instead. Did you work as a mentor? Did you volunteer in a foreign country? Tell admissions what went well and what didn’t go so well during your experience. How did it change you?

    2) Consider Writing About a Challenge

    As you’re writing your college essay, consider addressing a challenge or adversity that you faced and how you were able to overcome it. This will give admissions officers a peek into your growth as an individual—as well as provide context for any hardships that may have impacted your grades or extracurricular involvement. For example, if you had an illness in high school and spent more time at home than at school, consider talking about how that experience helped you mature and learn more about yourself.

    3) Don’t Sweat the Formatting

    Formatting is one of those things that looks super intimidating, but it’s really not that bad. Here are a few tips: Keep your paragraphs short (5 sentences or less). Use simple language. Get rid of filler words (like very and really). Leave some time to proofread once you’re done writing (I don’t miss this whenever I write my essay)

    4) Start With an Action Phrase, Not An Adjective

    Sure, you want your essay to be creative and unique, but when you start with an adjective (interesting, eye-opening), those first few words just seem like a fluffy attempt at coming up with something clever. Action phrases set a tone and frame your story right off the bat. Start with a verb (such as was moved by or was inspired by) to draw in an admissions officer immediately.

    5) Stick with First Person

    One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing an essay written in third person. If you want your readers to empathize with your message, write it in first person (the reader should not be able to distinguish between you and your message). Third person essays take on a more traditional tone and feel distant from what’s being discussed.

    6) Use Clichés Sparingly

    Clichés are a no-no in any field of writing, but for students it’s especially important to avoid them. Writing an essay about why you chose a particular college can make you seem like everyone else—after all, doesn’t every student say something along the lines of I just knew I had to go here? Instead, take time planning out your essay so that it is unique and creative. There are many different ways to do so: perhaps you could write about what inspired you to choose your school or how much research went into finding one that was right for you. The possibilities are endless!

    7) Choose I, Not We

    Admissions committees are looking for individual, unique voices in their incoming classes. Writing your college essay is a great way to showcase your voice! One of my favorite ways to craft an essay that’s truly mine is by choosing I over we. I believe strongly in teamwork and group efforts, but your personal narrative should always be told from a first-person perspective; admissions officers will want to know who you are as an individual.

    8) Proofread a Lot. And Then Some.

    If you’re going to pay attention to only one piece of advice on writing college essays, make it proofreading. Proofread your college essay at least twice or get somebody from here – to do it, and then take a day or two off before giving it another look. If you’re going through all that effort, you may as well make sure your essay is totally error-free.


    Eric Ward – Working full-time as a Senior Marketing Manager for one of the biggest IT companies in the US, I also enjoy helping college students with their homework. Work with me if you need help with an essay, case study, or a term paper. I have an MBA degree and I’m fully committed to helping you with any pending Marketing or Management assignment.

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