Writing The College Essay

Writing a strong essay may not be your specialty, but it is a vital part of the college entrance process. Working with a great writing tutor and following these simple tips from an article in The US News & World Report can help you turn your average or sub-par essay into a winning one. The US News & World Report questioned many college admissions officers who have to read entrance essays every year.

A great intro: Your college entrance essay should start off with a creative, attention-grabbing intro. The only thing that’s more boring and painful than writing an entrance essay is reading hundreds, thousands of them. This is a mind-numbing task, and college administrators will likely doze off while reading stacks of essays. If you can differentiate yours with an interesting, original intro, an administrator will perk up his/her ears (reading eyes) and actually pay attention to what you are writing about. A great intro will establish you as a unique student with a strong ability to communicate and persuade. This can ultimately help your chances.

            Writing a great intro is not as hard as it seems. A writing tutor can help you communicate something interesting about yourself. A writing tutor will help you craft and form your intro; so it can grab even the most bored college administrator’s attention as she drifts off behind her reading glasses.

Get Started Early: Your essay may only be 500-1,000 words; however, don’t underestimate how hard and time consuming it can be. You should consider getting started during the summer. A writing tutor can help you set tangible benchmarks. If you get started early, you can write several different essays and drafts. A writing tutor can help you proofread and polish your essay to perfection.

Don’t Tell your Life Story: Parke Muth, Senior Assistant Dean and Director of International Admissions at the University of Virginia told The US News & World Report that he is bored by the life stories he sees far too often in entrance essays. It’s better to focus on a few moments from your life that have really impacted your desire for higher education. Muth writes, “We in admission offices see little tiny figures dancing on the horizon but they are far too far away for it to be personal. It is a shadow play that even Plato would be wary of.”

Present your Essay: Seth Allen, Dean of Admission & Financial Aid at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa told The US News & World Report that one should be able to orally present his/her essay. If you cannot, then you should consider rewriting it. A great essay flows well. A fluid writing style will spark an admission officers’ attention and differentiate your essay.

Personalize your Essay: Eric Maloof, Director of International Admission at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, told The US News & World Report that a winning college entrance essay answers these two questions: “Is the topic of my essay important to me?” and “Am I the only person who could have written this essay?”

            You don’t have to be a great writer to write a great essay. Consulting a writing tutor and following these tips can help you write a memorable, winning essay.