5 Tips On How To Write An Impressive College Admission Essay

College student with a backpack on walking on campus surrounded by green grass and blue sky. He just submitted his college admission essay

A college admission essay is a college’s way to get a sense of who you are. This will help them understand what type of student you will be and how you will fit into campus life and the community. Colleges receive thousands of applications each year. Often grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities can be very similar. Therefore, college admissions officers get to know potential students more deeply through their essays. Your essay is what will set you apart from other students.

The goal of a college admission essay is to not only get to know you but to draw your reader in and to be memorable. Reread that sentence. You must make a connection with the admissions officer who is reading your essay. If you don’t, they will pass on you. Below are my top 5 tips on how to write an impressive admission essay that will grab the attention of your reader.

Are you ready to write an impressive college admission essay? Let’s jump in…

1. Write Your College Admission Essay In The Right Style

Most college admissions will give you a prompt and want you to write in a specific style. Typically, that is an essay that is either a personal narrative or a memoir. Both styles draw upon real-life experiences. It’s vitally important that you write in the style that is being asked of you.

These types of essays rely on thoughts, feelings, and experiences typically centered around a specific event in your life. This makes them very personal and unique to only the storyteller.

2. You Need An Event: Backstory, Moment, Or Experience

So how do you find a story to write about? This is usually the hardest part of writing a college admission essay. I will break it down and make it a little easier for you. When you are thinking about your life and how it has shaped you, think about, your backstory, a moment, or an experience. One of these will trigger a story that will be unique only to you. This is what you are going to write about because this is what college admissions want to see.

Your Backstory:

Every student has a background or story that is central to their identity. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

A Moment:

A moment can be a particular time in your life that emotionally touch you. It can be a time of triumph or disappointment. Either way, the moment helped you connect with something profound and changed or shaped you.

An Experience:

An experience is longer than a moment. It is something that you did or were a part of that affected you profoundly. Typically, the experience includes other people. The shared experience with others inspired or taught you something profound and meaningful.

To effectively craft a personal narrative admission essay you will need to provide a personal story. In addition to offering setting and context, the personal event will play a critical role in determining the degree to which the admission officer feels invested in you and your narrative.

You don’t want the event you are writing about to become the entire story. You have to strike a balance when writing about your past and present. Do not open your essay with a tale of what happened when you were 6 years old and never leave that moment in time. Instead, introduce the event and then weave it throughout your entire essay. When you weave it throughout your story you take your reader on your journey so they can experience what you experienced.

a silhouette of a person looking out a huge glass window. He is pondering how to write a college admission essay

3. Writing About Difficult Experiences

Writing about a difficult experience can be hard, even painful to write about but the truth is, many of these experiences are what have shaped you into the person you are. If you can share and describe the moment, the people, and the emotions it will be very impactful.

When you are considering an event you want to write about, think about an event that was difficult for you. The reason you want to find a difficult experience is that they are deeply rooted and transformative, and they create valuable lessons. Difficult experiences create an opportunity to grow and become stronger and more resilient.

4. Use Your Voice

Writing in your voice is very important because it’s how you will set yourself apart from others. It’s how your essay becomes personalized. You want your voice and tone as a writer to convey your story.  You will find your voice through the words you use words, your sentence structure, and your overall approach to the essay.

College admissions want to hear your voice. They want to read what you’ve been through and how you’ve grown. They want to see how you’ve become the great person and student you are. Use your authentic voice. Remember that just like in email and text, it is very hard to convey inflection, body language, facial expressions, etc. Therefore, you need to consider every word you use.

5. Make Every Word Count

Admission officials will consider not just what you write about, but how you write about it. They will scrutinize every word, sentence, and paragraph. Choose the way you write and the words you use carefully.

When in doubt, always choose the simpler of two words. I know you may have the urge to use big fancy words to try and impress. Resist the urge. In this case, less is more.

Each word should contribute to your story, not distract. Watch out for filler words and phrases that don’t contribute to your essay and take up precious space and word count.  Words like: really, just, like, you know, and, actually, I guess, also, that, I mean, a lot, kind of. These words can be a waste of space.

Now that you know how to write an impressive college admission essay that will get you into your dream college. It’s time to earn how to pay for that dream college without going into debt with The Top 10 Ways To Pay For College Without Loans.