How to Write a College Admission Essay

You only have one shot with your college admission essay; make it count. This essay is your opportunity to present who you are and what you are about. A poorly written essay can mean that all the hard work you put in to getting in to your dream college was for not. A successfully written essay can mean that you are on your way to fulfilling your dream and attending your college of choice.

Choosing the Topic

Choosing the topic for your essay is the first step in writing you essay. Some colleges give you the topic you are to write on, however others give you a direction to go in and you choose on your own. If your topic is decided for you, then you can check one thing off the list. If you have to come up with the topic, then you need to choose well. Remember that there is no wrong answer and no correct way to respond. The essay is about how well you put your thoughts on paper. The topic should be something that you can relate to and even better if you have an emotional attachment to the topic. Having feelings about your topic will better assist you in writing your essay.

The Essay

There are things to remember before writing your essay. The first thing you need to do is envision who your audience is – the administration board who will be reading your essay. Once you have your audience in mind, there are other things to remember:

  • Be Organized – an essay that is not organized will not be taken seriously. Make sure that when you are writing your essay that it flows from one word to another word, from one sentence to another, from one paragraph to the next, and that it all coincides with your essay topic. Make sure that you are not repeating the same word throughout the essay, use a thesaurus to come up with other words that have the same meaning. 
  • Be Creative – you want your essay to stand out from the others. Creativity will help with this. If you are not a creative person, just do the best you can as there are other ways you can make your essay stand out.
  • Show Your Knowledge – this is why you will need to choose a topic that you are familiar with and have an emotional attachment to. If you are unable to choose your topic and you are unfamiliar with the subject matter, research the topic until you are familiar. The admissions board will know if you don’t know what you’re writing about.
  • Be Focused and Specific – do not cover as much information as you can in your essay, instead choose the most important aspects of your topic to cover. For example, if your essay is to be about your childhood, do not cover your whole childhood in a vague manner, instead write about your most fond memory about your childhood.

Writing the Essay

Before you start writing your essay, brainstorm. Get all of your ideas down on paper. It may be best if you write main topics on individual note cards so that you can arrange them and make notes on them as needed. Having your ideas organized will help you write a better essay.

When you get to the point that you are ready to write your essay, start with the five paragraph layout. Once you have this done, you can start expanding from there. Use the three paragraphs to lead into subsequent paragraphs that contain more detail. Do not forget to have a compelling introduction paragraph and a solid conclusion. The introduction paragraph will set the scene for your essay and the conclusion will wrap everything up in a nice, neat package.

Editing your essay many times is imperative before submitting it to your college of choice. Once the essay is complete, read it through to yourself and then a few times out loud. Make sure to take a break in between readings so that the essay is fresh. Also, give the essay to others to read. When you are choosing others to read it, select those who can give you the best feedback (like your English teacher). After you have the essay back and have made the appropriate changes, read it out loud to yourself again. Once you are satisfied, submit the essay.

Because you only have one opportunity to make a first impression, you will need to make the most of it. Do not let the admission essay hinder you from attending the college of your dreams. 

Author Joan Tulley is an administrative consultant and writes for OnlineCollegesGuide, a site that can help you find the best online colleges.

Categories: Writing Tips   Tags: how to write a college admission essay, college admission essays, college application essays