Subscribe

Get the tips you need to succeed

We know you’re busy, so we're here to take the guesswork out of financial aid, college applications, and how to survive college life.

Strong college admission essays reveal something intimate and unique about the person behind the file. You can speak, in writing, as an individual, with your own voice and values. Such statements might cover mundane topics or extraordinary achievements, daily stresses or life-changing events.

Exactly what you'll choose for your college application is up to you, but this can cause applicants to be a little apprehensive. You might wonder if you've made the right choices in your anecdotes or if you're on the right path to creating your best college application essay. Therefore, we've come up with some proven tips to help.

Read on for more tips, but be sure to visit EssayEdge if you want expert essay editing advice.

Show who you really are on your application essay

To begin, consider your strengths and interests and what you want colleges to know most about you. Then explore some topics, stories, and approaches that might help you show yourself to your readers. You will likely need to write two or three college application essays for many selective colleges. See them as puzzle pieces working together to present who you are more completely.

If you feel stuck, make an inventory of your strengths, insights, and what's most important to you. Chat with friends or parents about revealing anecdotes and listen to their feedback. Remember to stay focused on experiences that were pivotal for you. Because you're likely to have a similar background to other applicants, feedback from others might be able to help you focus on the events that have been most pivotal in shaping your unique character and goals.

Keep working at your college application essay

To write a great college admission essay, you'll need persistence. Start early, plan your work, and expect to work over multiple drafts. You may start with sketches of ideas, outlines, or lengthy stream-of-consciousness prose. Although it might seem like busy work, we've found that applicants who take the time to plan their work experience less stress in the writing process. Planning doesn't take a whole day. Think about anecdotes in between classes. Write a rough outline in one minute. Small bites are better than a big gulp.

Share your essays with people you trust and people who can be objective. They can offer constructive criticism about your tone, content, and form. Remember, too, that your writing should be free from spelling and grammatical mistakes and be neither too casual nor too formal. Use language that you would use with parents and teachers. It should be conversational but free from slang.

Make your application essay your own

Read your college application essays out loud to yourself. Does the language sound like you? Is the essay grammatically correct? Is it awkward? Can your friends, counselors, teachers, and parents recognize the essence of you in the essay? Could no one but you have written this particular piece? College admission readers note that they are looking for a student's voice in the essays.

If 'voice' sounds a little vague to you, think about writing in terms of 'sincerity'. Who is the real you? What are your real dreams and goals? What strengths do you see in yourself? What things would you like to do better? What motivates you? Answering these questions honestly and passionately will provide the admissions officers with the information that they need to make a decision about your application.

Does your college admission essay speak to people?

View your essay as a public document you are presenting to a large audience, or as a revelation of a personal confidence. Remember, break out of your shell and you'll be much more likely to make an important connection with your admission audience. Regardless of what you may have heard, you actually don't need to try to impress the admissions officers. You'll impress them naturally by using stories from your life to share something meaningful about yourself, both in terms of where you are now and where you would like to go in your life.

EssayEdge is an expert resource for essay tips.