Tips For Writing An Outstanding Essay
Every part of your college application is important. However, when faced with a sea of exceptional applicants, it is an outstanding essay that can tip the balance and solidify your place at the college you desire. Don’t let the anxiety over writing the essay make you procrastinate. Time is your friend, it gives you the opportunity to write multiple drafts, hone your language and ensure your essay is in your own voice.
According to Jeff Brenzel, who was Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Yale University, it is important to choose a topic that will highlight you. Tell a personal story that shows a creative approach. This is the time to shine a light on all the areas that are not covered in other parts of the application. Remember to keep the focus narrow and personal. If you try to cover too many topics, you risk turning the essay into a resume. You want to make sure the reader can learn about who you are. It is easier to do this if you write about something that is important to you and has had an impact on your life.
On a similar note, be honest. Do not embellish your achievements or accomplishments. It is fine to be the treasurer of a club instead of the president. It is your experience that counts.
As you write, do not simply recount an event. Reflect on what you learned and how it changed you, then describe it to the reader. Be careful not to repeat yourself. The information in your essay should not contradict other parts of your application. Do not list awards or discuss test scores here.
In a Tip Sheet article for The New York Times, Martha C. Merril, who was Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Connecticut College, offered her perspective on what she looks for in an application essay. “Consider a mundane topic. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make the best essays. Some of my favorites have included essays that reflect on the daily subway ride to school, or what the family goldfish observed from the fishbowl perched on the family kitchen table. It doesn’t have to be a life-changing event to be interesting and informative.”
Once you have written your essay, remember to proofread, edit and get a second, third or even fourth opinion from a few trusted people. One of the easiest ways to stand out is to have correct spelling and grammar. In your edit, ask yourself if the way the essay is organized makes sense. Can anything be clearer? Can anything be cut?
Hopefully these tips will help you approach your application essay with more confidence. You can write an outstanding essay that showcases your personality and helps you stand out to admissions officers.
by Kurt van Aswegen
Does Your Child Need Help Writing College Application Essays?
Has your child recently realized that the college application essay writing process is much harder than he or she anticipated? Are you concerned that your child will not put enough effort or thought into his or her admissions essay? Perhaps you are confident in your child’s essay writing abilities, but want to ensure he or she stays on task throughout the process. Do you believe that your child’s admissions essay could be a deciding factor for his or her college acceptance? It’s possible that your child is applying to many colleges and now feels overwhelmed with all of the essays he or she needs to write. Do you wish your child could receive expert guidance from a college admissions professional in order to efficiently and thoroughly complete all of his or her application essays?
Many high school and transfer students find essay writing the most stressful and daunting portion of the college application process. With mountains of schoolwork and extracurricular activities, he or she may even not want to talk or think about the overwhelming task of planning out and writing college application essays. You may worry as the application deadlines approach that your child will procrastinate and his or her essays will reflect poorly on his or her abilities. Even if your child is a good writer, you may still be concerned that his or her essay will not strike a chord with the admissions officers.
It Is Very Common To Worry About Admissions Essays
While most components of college applications are very straightforward, many people view the essay portion as a wild card – the space in which your child may make or break his or her chances of getting into the ideal college. It’s no surprise, then, that so many college applicants and parents worry that the admissions essay will fail to shed a remarkable light on his or her abilities. To add even more stress, getting accepted into ideal colleges has become increasingly competitive. Students faced with many applications often do not know where to begin, how to organize their time and what to write about. Many students wait until the last minute to complete their essays and, as a result, submit subpar material.
The good news is your child can receive expert help writing college application essays from a leader in the college admissions community.
Get Individualized Help Writing College Application Essays
During our educational and hands-on sessions, your child and I can work together throughout every stage of the college application essay writing process. While I will not write essays for your child, he or she will have the opportunity to use my expert feedback to plan and write targeted and thoughtful admissions essays.
I will walk your child through an efficient writing process in which we will work to understand the structure of the essay, set goals to meet all deadlines, analyze essay questions and brainstorm essay outlines. As your child writes drafts of his or her essays, I will provide him or her with personalized advice on how to make his or her essay stand out to admissions officers.
As an added convenience, I offer a comprehensive online platform with which your child can organize his or her schedule and to-do lists as well as access helpful videos and exercises. To accommodate you and your child’s busy lifestyles, we can also meet online via video conferences or in between scheduled meeting we may use screencasting sessions where I can share detailed feedback on essays to your child.
Because your child has a unique story and his or her prospective colleges have specific goals, our application essay writing sessions will be highly individualized. For example, one of the most important essay writing techniques I have learned through decades of work in the admissions field is the art of striking the ideal balance between a formal and informal tone. Through my help writing college application essays, your child will have access to many insider tips and strategies like these throughout his or her writing process.
If your child is an international student applying to colleges in the US, I can tailor our essay writing sessions to help him or her identify some of the big differences in applying to US colleges compared to international colleges. We can also troubleshoot potential problems he or she may encounter in the application essay.
For more than two decades, I have been deeply involved in the education field. In addition to earning a doctorate in education from UCLA, I have worked as a college admissions officer and as a private high school college counselor. I continue to be an active leader in the college admissions community by serving on boards and presenting at conferences nationwide. I also work as an adjunct faculty member at UC San Diego Extension where I train adults from around the world who endeavor to be college counselors in high schools or consultants in private practice.
No matter whether your child is a high school student, a transfer student or an international student, he or she probably has very limited experience writing application essays. As an admissions officer, I have read thousands of application essays. As a counselor, I have helped thousands of students fine-tune their writing process and write exceptional final essays.
With my help writing college application essays, your child can calmly approach the writing process with the knowledge, guidance and organization needed to write eye-catching, authentic and concise application essays.
I believe my child needs help writing college application essays, but I still have a few questions and concerns…
My child can work on his or her application essays in English class. We also have many family friends who are professional writers and editors. Why do we need additional help?
You may know a long list of highly qualified individuals who can read and review your child’s application essays. However, my sessions go far beyond traditional editing. I help your child to tailor his or her unique experiences and style to fit the essay requirements I know admissions officers look for. In addition, I can also help guide your child through the entire process so he or she stays on task and does not feel too overwhelmed.
My child is a great writer and organizes his or her time well. Should I still be worried?
Even the greatest writers can produce a subpar college application essay in the eyes of an admissions officer. In addition, even though your child is well-organized, he or she may run into roadblocks throughout the writing process. Your child may be worried about the topics he or she will cover in essays or how to maintain his or her momentum amid busy schedules. With my support writing college application essays, I can help him or her troubleshoot any potential issues he or she may run into.
College application essays are short and straightforward. I think my child can buckle down and write them quickly.
Despite the fact that many college application essays are brief, your child should spend a fair amount of time brainstorming different ideas and revising drafts before submitting his or her application. If your child simply lists off his or her accomplishments and qualifications, his or her application will not stand out as much as a student who clearly took the time and energy to craft a humble and genuine essay.
Help Your Child Confidently Write Effective College Application Essays
If you are ready to equip your child with the strategies and tools to help him or her write eye-catching college application essays, I invite you to call me for a free 30-minute phone consultation to discuss your family’s needs and how I can guide your child through the essay writing process.