17 years of living, growing and being molded into a young adult ready to move into the next stage of life. College and new life experiences are on the very cusp and within reach. The college application process can be tedious, time-consuming, and nerve-wracking. Will your application be enough to gain admission to your chosen college? After all the parts of the applications are filled in and ready to submit you will still need to attach your essay or personal statement. This is the best way to show the admission counselor at your potential college why they need to pick you above all other applicants.
Admission counselors want to see what you as a potential student will bring to the campus and examples of those attributes that have been practiced and illustrated in the essay. The best way to do that is to be a memorable standout. The transcript and letters of recommendation are only a very small piece that will showcase who you are to the person deciding if you are a fit for the college. Use your essay to demonstrate to the admissions counselor why and how you will be a positive asset to the campus. What will the opportunity to be an alum of your selected college allow you to be representative of the school?
Always be genuine with your essay. Pieces that are not genuine and do not ring true will find themselves relegated to the bottom of the stack. In other words, don’t be ‘try hard,’ if so this will leave the reader feeling like the piece is inauthentic and contrived.
Surprisingly, another put-off for admission counselors is an essay that reads too edited and perfect. Once an essay filters its way through several adults that offer suggestions and revisions, the essay will lose the voice of the original author.
Admission counselors that range from Ivy league to state-supported universities concur they are looking for one thing: self-reflection. Students that take the time to incorporate self-reflection into their essays show the ability to take self-discovery and make connections that may not have been visible before. By far the biggest mistake most high school seniors make is to treat their essays as a place to list out their laundry list of awards and accolades in text form. While you might work some of your accomplishments into the essay, the purpose behind the essay is to allow an insight into you as a person and how that will impart a positive impact on your chosen university.
A well-developed stand-out essay will have all the same elements of literature you studied through high school: strong images, clear concise writing, minimal grammatical errors, emotional language, and an overall theme, but so will numerous other hopeful people in your same situation wanting to be accepted.
There is no simple checklist for an essay that will guarantee admission. However, the standouts will have several things in common regardless of the specified prompt they will:
While college essays will have a list of common things, they will also avoid specific things. Below we share the biggest don’ts compiled from admission counselors, senior literature teachers, and those with strong essays that were admitted to their choice of college to help you craft an admission-worthy essay for college.
Feeling a little stuck? Consider the following:
Now that we have established the creative parts of how to author a strong and impactful essay, let’s look at some of the housekeeping parts of your college essay.
Before you dive in, take a moment to read through the prompts offered by the College Common App.
It’s nearly August and if you are a rising senior, now is the time to get started. At Cape Fear Christian Academy, we build leaders for tomorrow by instilling fundamental lessons for developing writing skills that will enable students to draft the very best representation of themselves with a college essay.