Maintaining a proper mindset and understanding of the reason you are writing your college admission essay can help you keep each college essay in context. The essay provides an opportunity to discuss challenges encountered while attending school and showcase your personal writing style. While an excellent essay can't make up for poor academic performance, it may be the difference between the application committee choosing you over someone else with similar qualifications. Write one essay that focuses on your strengths and weaknesses and then edit the essay to include information specific to each school.
Continually ask yourself why the essay makes sense for the school you want to attend. Begin working on your essay several months before the deadline. Don't think of your writing as an essay, but a personal statement of your past academic and personal experiences and abilities. Explain why the college is the perfect choice for your interests, abilities, experience and skills. After completing the essay, read it several times before submitting and ask family and friends to point out any areas that seem generic or unrelated to the college or your personal statement.
Your college essay provides a chance to showcase your interests and explain why you want to attend the prospective school. Certain elements of your essay may be appropriate to include in all of your application essays. Make your essay interesting and inform the college admissions committee by reflecting on past experiences and not simply recounting information readily found within your application. However, you also should confirm and reiterate any experiences that reinforce your candidacy and tailor your essay to the specific college you want to attend. Think about how your interests match the history of the school in question. Don't force an application essay if during the process of writing the essay, you find that school actually doesn't meet your needs.
Your college application shows the school how you have performed academically, and you don't need to reiterate that information in the essay. Instead, focus on attributes that can't be shown by grades and courses taken. Discuss how your educational experience makes you an ideal candidate. If you were dealing with personal issues and there are periods of time when your grades suffered, the essay provides you with a chance to explain poor performance. Look at the requirements for the specific college's degree program and explain how your academic performance makes you an ideal candidate for the program you want to attend.
Be creative when writing your essay. Admission readers look for personal stories in a student's essay, and the stories you tell reflect who you are as a person. You can be creative, and some students even write essays using iambic pentameter. However, it may not be appropriate to submit the same essay to two colleges if one of your colleges focuses on math and sciences and another focuses on arts and literature. Write in a format that reflects who you are and that reinforces your suitability for the school.
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