How to Write College Admission Essay Tips

by Fitzalan Gorman, Demand Media

Your grades and standardized test scores showcase your academic abilities, but your essays highlight your personality. Crafting these essays cause much anxiety for high school seniors, but with just a few pointers, writing the perfect college application essay will be a breeze. Before sending in your essay, proofread it and ask for feedback from classmates, teachers and parents.

Personal Essay

Many colleges require a personal statement as part of the essay section. This is your chance to shine and explain to the admissions office what sets you apart. Unless the essay outlines specific guidelines, write about anything that has had an impact on your life, such as an event, person or even a book. When writing the personal essay, recall the event, describe what you learned and explain how it changed you. Go into personal detail by detailing the situation instead of just telling what happened. This helps your essay come alive and jump off the paper.

Unusual Questions

While many colleges ask you to write about someone you admire or where you want to be 10 years from now, occasionally a school will send you a curveball. For example, the University of Chicago once asked, “So where is Waldo, really?” If you get one of these questions, get creative and have fun with your answer. It may feel like these strange questions are missing some parts, but that is exactly what the college is looking for. You are allowed to interpret the question any way you want, so make it your own. Write a reply that strikes a balance between humor, cleverness and focus and is an essay that anyone would enjoy reading.

Writing Structure

It does not matter if it is a strange essay topic or a straightforward personal essay; proper grammar is vital on your college admission essay. Use your own voice instead of relying on a thesaurus to pump up your vocabulary. You want your personality and intelligence to be the star, and big words often sound contrived. While colleges often set a maximum word length, avoid being wordy to meet it. Additionally, follow those lessons that you learned in English class: Vary your sentence structure, and develop the essay so it has an introduction, body and conclusion.


Do not wait until the last minute to write your college admissions essays. Start early so that you have enough time to write several drafts. Step away from your essay to clear your mind. When you reread it, look for typos and grammatical and spelling errors. As you reread, put yourself in the shoes of the admissions officer. These individuals read thousands of essays a year. Pay attention to syntax, and ensure your essay flows logically, reveals something about you and is engaging.

About the Author

Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.

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