So, you’ve narrowed your list of colleges down to your top five schools. You’ve done your campus visits, and you’ve finished your FAFSA. Now it is time to sit down and begin filling out applications. This should be easy, shouldn’t it? After all, you have a decent GPA, you joined a club or two, and maybe even did a little volunteer work. Surely you’ll stand out among all of the other applicants with decent grades who also volunteered and joined clubs, won’t you? Does that question make you worry that you will seem like just another applicant? Well, to be honest you have good reason to worry. Fortunately, there is still a way to set yourself apart. Good college essays are often the key for average students who want to earn a competitive slot as a college freshman. What you will need to do is identify what makes a college essay a successful piece of writing. To help you with this task, we have taken the time to identify some of the features of effective college entrance essays.
College Essays Used on Admissions Applications have a Clear Focus
Before you begin working on your application essay, you should have a solid idea of what you want to communicate and how you want to communicate it. If you want your essay to highlight your talents and accomplishments as a math student, then do that. Establish in your first paragraph that you are a skilled and talented mathematician and then support that assertion by detailing classes you have taken, rewards you have won, etc. If you would prefer to share a story from your life to demonstrate positive character traits, then do that. Maybe you have another idea entirely. That’s fine too, just stick with your chosen method throughout your essay.
Students who have Written College Essays that Worked have also read Good College Essays
If you want to review sample applications (you should want to do this), there are plenty of essays available to review on the internet. In fact, every year, a few application essays actually go viral. This is because they are either unique, funny, creative, touching, harrowing, or some combination of these things. Read these essays, and see if you can identify what it is about them that makes them ‘click’ with the people who read them.
Successful Essays are Written by Students who Understand their Audience
Remember, you aren’t writing for your benefit. You are writing for the school’s admissions staff. Don’t focus on what you want to say. Focus on what they want to read. What they want to read is that you are a talented and hardworking student who will fit in with other students and staff members. They want to know that you will respect and help carry on the values and traditions that are an established part of the school’s culture. Does this mean that you should lie? Of course not. There is however, no shame in selectively highlighting talents and experience that will encourage the reader to view you in a favorably light. In fact, if you are tempted to fabricate personality traits or life experience, you may want to consider a school that is a better fit for you.