A step-by-step guide to writing awesome college essays

There’s more written about the college essay than any other part of the college application process…and rightfully so. Since most applicants have similar GPA’s — and test scores — colleges need another way to set you apart from other students.

And that’s why they use the essay. Colleges use the essay to get a better understanding of who you are as a person, and how you might be a good addition to their freshman class. You need to make sure that your essay allows that college admissions representative, to close his or her eyes after reading it, and say, “I really feel like I know this student.” So if that’s the GOAL of your essay, how do you actually pull this off?

In this article, I’m gonna walk you through a step-by-step guide to writing awesome college essays. The first thing you should do is get yourself ready. And by that, specifically I mean to make sure you’ve already written a short, one-page student autobiography. You’ll be able to use this autobiography as a template for many of your essays, and having it done beforehand will make the whole essay process MUCH easier. So if you haven’t already, go back and watch the video about writing a student autobiography, and write yours, before you move on to the next step.

The next thing you should do is to get inspired, by reading some great essays from other students. You can do that by clicking on the links in this assignment, and spend some time reading through some of the essays there. This will give you a feeling for what GOOD college essays look like. Now it’s time to look at the possible essay questions for each college where you’re applying. The key here is choosing the best question to tell your story. Pick the question that will best illustrate you, as a person and, help you tell your story.

Once you’ve chosen the question, you’ll want to collect your thoughts. Make sure you understand what the question is asking, and write an outline of things that you’ll include in your answer. These things should reveal who YOU are, as a person. It’s also important to make sure that the body of your essay, supports your story. You’ll need to cite specific examples and incidents that illustrate your points and – even more importantly — who you are. Was it a leadership position, a special trip, a course, a relationship, or something else that will help paint the picture?

Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s important to sustain the reader’s interest. Just like a good book, the first few sentences are really important in catching the reader’s interest. Maybe it’s an incident that you’ll describe, or a funny joke, or even a great quote. Whatever it is, find something that will keep the reader reading. This is a great time to think, as they say, outside of the box. There are so many essays written about things like the winning goal, world peace, and reaching the top of the mountain, that if you choose to write on one of these topics — your essay must be, kind of, perfect. So it’s important to avoid this pitfall, and to think differently for YOUR essay. Write about something that you really know, and have passion for. Don’t just pick a topic that you think they WANT to read about. When writing your essay, make sure to be, yourself. Write in a style that, fits your personality. And make sure you’re being completely honest. Don’t make up facts, or events that you can’t support. You never know when your essay will be the basis of a college interview. Since this is a creative writing process, you’ll need several attempts at expressing yourself, in a way that will really grab your reader’s attention. So make sure to write and re-write your essay, until you get it just the way you want it.

Once you’re happy with it, get a second opinion. Ask for help from your parents. After all, they know you BEST. If you’re writing about what makes you unique, ask your oldest and closest friends, or relatives. They may be able to help describe what makes you special, better than you can.

And last, make sure to proofread your essay. There’s simply no excuse, for spelling errors, or grammatical mistakes. So that’s a step-by-step guide to writing awesome college essays.

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