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The Savvy Student's Guide to College Education—Chapter Four
  1. The Essay Could Turn a "Maybe" Into a Defininte "Yes"
  2. Overview of the Common App
  3. College Essay Writing Tips
  4. How to Write the College Admissions Essay

So, you need to show them why you and Wonderful College are a perfect match. How do you do that, exactly? First, let me reassure you about your writing demands here. Lest you despair because you are applying to 10 colleges, eight of which request the Why This College?

That will dramatically reduce your workload. But you need to dig a lot deeper to find the best college for you. So, do your homework. Peruse the college website, the academic majors, the actual classes. Read the school newspaper, follow the sports teams, scan student blogs and view student art projects. Listen to the college radio station. Google the professors. Look for the college on YouTube and Facebook.

The Essay Could Turn a "Maybe" Into a Defininte "Yes"

Visit if you can. Go Mascots! Trust me, college admissions officers already know how great their college is. With a little effort, however, you can ace this supplement. After researching each college, you will write an essay that accomplishes two vital missions: illuminating who you are and demonstrating your interest—or enthusiasm. To do that effectively, the key is using highly specific language.

Just as in letters of recommendation or cover letters for job applications, specific language is believable. Generalities are the opposite. Compare these two sentences:.

Research, Research, Research

Make the first half of the essay about you and your passions. You can relay a recent experience or a typical slice of your life. Now, transition into the second half of the essay: why you and your passions will blossom at Wonderful College.

Overview of the Common App

Again, start out with an anecdote or story that demonstrates your passion for the subject, and then go into all this college offers you in that major e. What if you are undecided about your major? You can still use this formula, telling a story about one or more passions, and allowing enough space in the second half to discuss classes, curriculum and professors in more than one department. Consider keeping your interests to two, or your essay may get too cluttered. If you have three or more interests and can tie them together in a clever way, go for it. You now get the idea: start with your passions, then transition to how those passions will blossom at college.

CRUSH the Common Application Essay! 8 Tips.

Even if you have yet to decide on a major, colleges will appreciate knowing that you have varied and keen interests— and that you have done your homework about their school. Sounds silly, but colleges get essays naming the wrong school every single admissions cycle. The two-section system—showing your passions, followed by how those passions will blossom at college—is tried and true. Take the time to write original responses to all the prompts.

College Essay Writing Tips

DO show your knowledge of the college. Show your knowledge of the college by mentioning specific courses, professors, places of interest, and more. Show how you fit into the campus culture and how you will impact the community through specific examples. Students will abuse the thesaurus and write about strange topics in an effort to impress and stand out.

How to Write the College Admissions Essay

Instead of writing what you think the admissions office wants to read, write about what you want them to know. Again, the essay is a great space to reveal something new about you, so stand out by being yourself and showing another side of you as a person or student. DO use your voice.

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Using lofty language and complex sentence structure can make you sound sophisticated, but is that really how you speak? Instead, write like you speak — keeping in mind that proper grammar and spelling is still important. Have a parent or counselor read over the essay, too, to catch any errors you might have missed.

Spelling and grammar errors can take away from an otherwise stellar essay — so be mindful. This is one of the most common mistakes that students make. In the pursuit to write the perfect essay, many forget to connect it to the original prompt. While the Common Application prompts for the main essay are general enough to allow students to write about whatever they choose, it still needs to be clear how that essay addresses the prompt.

The same applies to school-specific essays. Check and double check that a clear connection is made between the topic or lesson of your essay, and the question the prompt is asking. Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm, draft, revise, and get feedback on your essays. DO seek feedback from your counselor.