Suggestions for Writing a Winning College Admission Essay
1. Get to know the college/university.
If you don't already know enough about the university to which you
are applying, call or write for an information packet, visit the
campus, discuss the university with an admissions representative at
a college fair/career night, or schedule an office appointment with
an admissions counselor.
2. Get to know yourself.
To get to know yourself better, take some time to create a personal
inventory, listing your likes and dislikes, hobbies, academic
strengths and weaknesses, or anything thing you want so you can get
a clear picture of who you are. You might also gather any articles
or awards you have won over the years to learn what others have
thought or said about you. In addition, excellent resources for
information about you are your family and friends. Sit down with
them and ask them to provide some ideas about your personality and
3. Follow the essay directions.
Be sure you understand what is expected of you for the college
admission essay. Is the essay to be typed? double spaced? Is
there a maximum word limit? Should your social security number
appear on the essay?
4. Find a good topic, if one hasn't already been assigned, by
You'll be surprised by how many ideas you can come up with by
jotting down topics at random. Once you have a few ideas, pick one
that you like and write down the first ideas that come to you about
that particular subject. Continue this process until you are
satisfied with a main topic and supporting ideas.
5. Outline your ideas.
Organize you ideas from the brainstorming activity into an outline,
carefully identifying the main topic and its supporting ideas, which
will become paragraphs, making up the body of the essay.
6. Write a practice essay.
Draft a rough copy of your admission essay. Don't be too concerned
about spelling, punctuation, or grammar at this stage. Simply write
down your thoughts about your main topic. Your essay may not appear
good at first, but it may surprise you!
7. Avoid super sensitive and private matters; avoid being overly
clever and foolhardy.
The college admission essay is not an appropriate place to reveal
your deepest secrets about yourself or anything else. Try to avoid
flowery language when writing your essay. In an attempt to impress
the admissions committee, you may only succeed in embarrassing
yourself by using words out of context.
8. Show, don't tell.
When writing your essay, use adjectives and adverbs effectively to
paint a picture for the reader. Descriptors make for a much more
9. Be concise.
Always stick to the point of the essay. Be cautious not to stray
from your main topic.
Simply stated: leave no room for error. When your essay is
completed, read it aloud, listening for inconsistencies and problems
with tense and usage. As a safety measure, have a friend or family
member read the essay and provide you with constructive feedback and
make any necessary adjustments in a final draft.