College Essay Tips

Take a moment to read through some of our tips to help get the creative juices flowing. Just click on the rectangles to toggle the different sets of information.
  1. A winning topic. The topic must engage the admissions officers and reveal the student.
  2. Self-revelation. The essay lets the readers know something important and memorable about the applicant.
  3. Originality. The writer should tell a story in his or her voice that only he or she could share; that makes for an original essay.
  4. Captivating opening. The reader should have a vivid picture of who the writer is by the close of the first paragraph.
  5. An element of surprise. Readers like to be surprised.
  6. Time reference. Just how long have you been involved with what you’re writing about?
  7. Effective expression. Varied sentence structure, correct grammar, vivid word choice, and details engage and satisfy the reader.
  8. Direction and Pace. The essay should have pace and build to a satisfying close.
  9. A powerful close. The final paragraph should not only conclude the story, but it should make the reader say, “Now that’s a great individual.”
  10. Individuality. Did you stand out by being yourself?
  • Be yourself, don’t reinvent yourself
  • Write the essay that only you could write
  • Put your best foot forward
  • Find your voice
  • Write about what you feel strongly about
  • Strive for depth not breadth – shoot for 500 words maximum
  • Once you know what you want to say, writing the essay is a breeze – it’s only 500 words.
  • Make your readers think, “We gotta have this kid on campus.”
  • Consider what you value and treasure
  • Sit around and think for awhile
  • Make it fun or serious but give it a personality
  • Don’t try to second-guess the admissions officer
  • Make it vivid & engaging
  • Make it eye-opening
  • Keep it smart and to the point
  • Write at least three drafts
  • Ask yourself why and how as you write
  • The focus of the essay is you – your achievements, your goals, your values
  • Essay should be memorable
  • Tell us something your application doesn’t
  • Honest autobiography trumps style
  • Grammar, syntax, spelling, word choice count. It’s an opportunity to wow admissions