The college application process can be a daunting experience for students and parents alike. The college application essay is a source of particular angst because not everyone has a delightful childhood antic or a tragic loss that changed the course of life as it was previously known. The average student often reads and rereads essay prompts wide eyed and dumbfounded with the realization that no one wants to read about a day in the life of a student who never made the varsity team or went to the prom.
Therein lies the key to a successful college application essay! Consider the reader. College admission personnel really do read all of those essays; so, make sure what you write is authentic. The easiest way to add intrigue to your essay is to stay true to you. If you are funny, be funny. If you are not funny, don’t try to be funny. If you don’t read Shakespeare, don’t mention the play you read last week in English Class. If you love your dog more than anything in the world, your dog is the perfect subject. Write about something that interests you, and your excitement and emotion will be apparent in the story.
There are several ways to approach the given topic, but do not repeat the prompt in your response. Your writing should demonstrate, paint a picture, create a feeling and draw the reader into a situation. Some of the most successful applications can be about a single moment in time. For example, something as simple as taking a test can become an emotionally intense and charged college application essay as you describe the sweat beading on your upper lip and the lurching lump in your throat as the kid next to you tapped his temple with his pencil as if the answers may somehow transfer from his brain to the tip of the No. 2. At the end of this story, it is not so much about whether you pass or fail the test, but how deeply you felt the experience and used it to learn something.
Our poetry and writing expert, Joaquin Zihuatanejo, even had a student write about their experience at a local Costco. It was riveting simply because we could all appreciate the situation and feel as if we were there with her.
The college application essay should be a focused study about you. If you need inspiration or want a great college essay writing workshop, explore CoolSpeak, it’s what we do!
And it goes without saying, but doesn’t hurt to repeat, proofread. Grammar and spelling should be impeccable. Ask one of your teachers for help if you are concerned about your writing. Get someone to proofread your essay, preferably a teacher or an advisor. Rest assured, however, that colleges want to know you; content is important because it helps the college determine how well you will fit into or benefit their student body. Show them who you really are!