How to Start Your College Application Essay

Colleges receive thousands of applications in each admission season. How can you get admission in such a competitive environment? This is a question that every high school student should ponder upon. Essays are important parts of the student selection process in most of the colleges in the US. In such a situation, you need to be informed about how to start a compelling college application essay that can stand out among thousands of essays.

Simply your essay should be able to portray a consistent picture of yourself. Your college essay should reflect your opinions and experiences and display clear and critical thinking. Many believe that essay is a description of achievements, but of all the people you should understand that colleges use essays to understand your character, personality, and thoughts. Essay is the correct place to prove yourself.

Colleges may provide writing prompts or leave the topic up to you. Your college essay should answer questions to attract admissions officers of the colleges.

Also Read: 14 College Application Mistakes That You Should Avoid

Is college essay really important?

The essay is not everything in the college admission process, but definitely an important factor.  You might be supported by high GPA and test scores along with excellence in extra-curricular activities, but essay supports you equally. Moreover, if you do not have excellence in other fields, a good essay might give you a chance over other students. After all your application essay is about how you judge yourself.

Colleges are fond of students who are consistent with success. They will never know about it unless you tell. Your essay can show them your strengths and your possible contribution to the community in the college.

According to the College Board, “a majority of colleges and universities believe the essay to be of considerable or moderate importance in determining which academically qualified students they would choose.” If colleges are serious regarding essays, why should you not be?

Ask these to yourself

We have compiled a few other questions to be considered by you for yourself in order to write convincing essays. These are actually the questions that you will need to answer in the college application essays. Answer these questions. Along with the questions, we have also provided you the guidelines to answer them. You can note them down and include the derived facts, feelings and judgments while answering the prompts in your college application. Keep in mind that colleges may or may not mention word limits for application essays and be prepared to be accordingly. Being concise is art.

How can you foster your passion and love towards learning at the college?

It depends on you how specific you want to be while answering this question. If you mention specific things about a college, cite the facts that you know. You can show courses, programs, or opportunities that show you’ve done research. Do not try to flatter the college. Stay yourself as well as keep the college down to earth. This question is not about impressing others; it is about showing how to fit you are for the environment of the college.

Be specific when you try proving yourself fit for the college. Describe how the school would benefit from your presence. Mention planned majors or extracurricular activities that show how you’d take advantage of their resources. Moreover, relate your real-life incidences to prove that you are ready for leadership opportunities and active learning in the college.

Also Read: 10 Colleges in USA That Don’t Require The SAT

What long-term goals do you have?

Knowledge of yourself can be best in answering this question. You definitely you’re your plans, mention them. You might not be sure about what exact majors you will take and what fields you want to specialize in, but there can always be a generalization. Also, you can mention your most likely general field of study. Be clear on what triggered you to have those long-term goals, and what you can do to achieve them.

What you should not forget to answer is how the college can be the best place for you to meet those goals. Be concise and do not focus on many goals. Mention the most important ones for you.

Do you intend to go to graduate school?

This question helps to check your abilities to make plans along with your knowledge of your abilities. Describe what you want to study in graduate school if you want to be in one. Do not forget to mention how your time for undergraduate study in the college can prepare you for your plan to shape yourself for grad school.  

You might not want to go to graduate school. It is okay. But, the essence of this question is to check your devotion. In such a case, mention how you will benefit from the undergraduate and how important education is for you.

Do you take initiatives? Are you self-motivated?

A cardinal rule of good writing is: Show, do not tell. Do not tell colleges how important something is—show them what you’ve done. Describe times when you have taken actions. Write about moments when discipline and persistence helped you, rather than using a set of adjectives which describe those qualities. Initiative and determination are important qualities for anyone to succeed. Colleges will definitely concerned about your success as their student as well as in the future. Use anecdotes to describe yourself. So, they can make a more vivid picture of you than just descriptions.

Also Read: 6 Tips On Writing A Perfect Resume For Your College Application

How involved are you in extracurricular activities? What did you gain from such activities?

Extracurricular activities prove your determination, creativity, teamwork, and passion. They point out your values and inspirations. Give examples of how you took the opportunities to learn and grow from extracurricular activities apart from your curriculum. Also, explain the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.

What is your limitation? Have you challenged yourself beyond the high school curriculum?

Describing extracurriculars that show talents and interests is valuable. Consider showing that you are not selfish. Have you volunteered, tutored, been a counselor, helped parents with their business, or worked after school? How do you challenge yourself? The admission officers will be looking for how you are to fit as a part of their community?

How do you overcome obstacles and problems?

Give examples of problems you have solved, rather than mentioning your principles. Write about ways in which you’ve overcome obstacles. Being willing to get assistance and learn from others is impressive. Similarly, you can show your willingness to work on difficulties rather than running away from them by showing how you improved after help.

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What makes you stand out among all the applicants?

Focus on your behaviors while answering this question. Enthusiasm, attitude, and drive can be explained easily if you say that you used them to start a campaign, worked to help people understand things, and did not do all these just once. Write about the times you felt good about doing something.

And finally, after writing your college essays, re-read it. Give your trusted friends and teachers to proofread the essays. Work out on the drafted piece repeatedly to make it better.

Also Read: 10 Top US Universities Outside the United States


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