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09/04/2019

How to write a good college application essay?

QUESTION
How to write a good college application essay?
I’m going to go to college soon and i want some tips to write a really good essay

any suggestions ??

ANSWER
The most important thing is to understand what the purpose of your essay is and to understand your audience.

What is the purpose? People seem to think the purpose is to toot your own horn and show what a wonderful, thoughtful person you are. But that really is not the purpose. There really is no specific thing the admissions folk are looking to see in your essay. Your essay has one purpose and one purpose only. Make the person reading it like you. You want them to think highly of you. Not on a professional level, but on a personal level.

You do not want to talk about how you became a better person by building houses for homeless people. Or how you had some hardship and grew from it. No! That’s not the right way to go about it.

You want the person reading it to find the essay interesting and enjoyable to read. You want them to have a good time reading your essay. You want to connect to the reader. THAT is your goal. Does that mean you should avoid the topic I mentioned above? Not at all. You can make an interesting, enjoyable essay out of those topics. Should you try to be funny? Only if you succeed at it. The point is that the topic doesn’t really matter. The style doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you make an essay that puts a good taste in the mouths of the reader. One that makes them like your story, makes them enjoy the 2 or 3 minutes they spent reading it. There should be nothing, NOTHING, that gives a bad impression. Never ever ever misspell something or let a typo get in. Make sure it reads perfectly. Those issues will only detract from the experience of the reader

So who is your audience? This is also important. People seem to forget that a person actually has to read their essay. That person will be a well educated, articulate individual who enjoys the same sorts of things everyone else does. But that person will be overwhelmed with work. They will be reading your essay at 9:30 at night. They will have read 30 essays before yours and they will have 30 more essays to read after yours, before they will get to go to bed. They will have been reading essays for the last week and they will have a week more of essay reading to do. They will have seen every type of essay and style out there. They will be bored to death with the typical essay. They will want to shoot themselves the next time they pick up an essay that reads like:

‘I did this. Then I did that. Then I felt bad. Then I overcame.
And now I am a wonderful person.’

And to top it off, they will have about 5 minutes to spend on your application and they will be making a very fast assessment and moving on. So that is who you are talking to in your essay. And hopefully you can see why it is so important to make your essay easy to read, interesting, and enjoyable. And why it is important to connect to that person, to get their attention for the 2 or 3 minutes. And why you should worry more about how your essay reads than what your essay is about.

By the way, the typical essay if boring, common, and bland. Does that mean you should do something crazy like writing about using the toilet? Well, it can work, and it has worked. But you are better off sticking to a topic that intelligent and spending more time on improving the quality of the text then on making the topic unusual.

When I was applying to colleges, I wrote about my summer I spent in a poorer country. It was a fairly common topic. But I worked very hard on making it interesting and enjoyable. I was accepted to every university I used that essay on, and even got a hand written note with my acceptance letter from one of the Ivy schools complimenting me on the essay.