Writing the Admission Essay: Possible Pitfalls and Practical Tips

Our live is full of challenges. Every day we have to overcome some. The college application happens once – in most cases – and kills all nerves. It is understandable: the choice of college is crucial. You get knowledge there, but it is not the only reason. It is also the opportunity to research, make valuable connections, train your communication skills, and so on.

The value of college education cannot be overstated. However, you have to get there first. If you are already a student, you remember collecting all those countless forms, documents, certificates, and many more papers. If you only plan to become one, you might be in the process right now.

One of the mandatory documents is the college admission essay. It causes the most difficulties for future students.

The Essence and Value of the College Application Essay

The application essay is a paper of a moderate size (500-600 words) that aims to introduce you to the admission committee and persuade them to invite you on campus. It is the first impression that the college gets about you, by the way. The statement “you won’t get the second chance to make the first impression” has never been so right.

Colleges get tons of applications. Students provide their GPA, extracurriculars, certificates, and other achievements. The trouble is, these data are pretty similar for most applicants. As colleges can accept a limited number of people, they sort the applicants at this early stage. Here, the college application essay is the candidate’s most reliable trump card.

What the college admission essay does for you, precisely

Many pundits claim that an excellent essay can compensate for some weaker achievements. Vice versa, you can have an excellent GPA and many achievements, but the inappropriate admission essay will kill them. Keep in mind that this essay must describe your personality on several layers:

  • It should present your diverse talents and open-mindedness, as well as the ability to cope with the academic load.
  • It has to explain your reasons to enroll in this college and tell how you can contribute to its solid reputation.
  • It needs to clarify any additional issues that might seem dubious. The essay gives you the possibility to justify them so that the admission board will interpret the things in your favor.
  • Last but not least, the essay shows your overall literacy and writing skills.

The college admission essay is vital for a successful application. It is the paper that makes you special in the eye of the admission officers. You need to know how to write this essay. It is the task that you can’t afford to fail. 

Main Types of Application Essay Topics

Any essay writing work starts with the topic. In this case, you have a privilege of choice. There are some general prompts that the leading online application systems offer. Colleges can also have their own specific prompts. You can choose any of them, or use the free choice to write about anything you wish.

Schools want to know about your character, your moral principles, persuasions, and your work and learning ethics. By getting this information, they decide how you fit the college criteria. Your job is to choose the right prompt and develop the topic from it. The standard essay prompts are very general, but they outline an “area” for you to explore.

Some more useful tips for choosing the topic

Before you proceed to the topic choice, pay attention to the following issues:

  • You need the topic that appeals to you genuinely. Never refer to topics for the sake of being “impressive.” Admission committees receive many thousands of such essays, and they can detect insincerity immediately.
  • At the same time, avoid banal things. Think of the ideas that show your uniqueness. It does not matter you should tell about the things no less significant than winning the World championship (though, it’s great if you have such wins). Still, if you choose a more or less “general” topic – interpret it creatively. 
  • Consider how your straightforward story will appeal to the audience. It is not enough to describe yourself as a great person. It is vital to prove that you can bring more honor to the university.
  • The topic should be specific. You may describe your talents or outstanding experiences, or share the story of problem-solving, or tell about a significant accomplishment of yours.

There are free resources on the Web where you can check successful college application essay samples. Some of them also provide the admission committee’s reactions. It helps you to plan your essay and consider what you will stress in it.

Some topic samples for the admission essays

We have collected some suggestions for the college admission essay. Check them – you might take one as is or transform it to fit your vision better.

  1. The story from your experience that influenced your personality.
  2. Tell about some failure that happened in your life, and how it affected you.
  3. The story of the most severe challenge for your convictions.
  4. Tell about the problem that you had to resolve, how you did it, and how it affected you.
  5. The story of your judgments changes – how it happened and what influenced you.
  6. The story of taking a chance and its consequences.
  7. The best advice in your life and its effect.
  8. Do you hate anything with all your heart? Tell why.
  9. The things you love most of all, and what made you love them.
  10. Your most essential extracurricular activities: why you chose them and how they influence you as a person?
  11. Your most significant achievement so far.
  12. Why you want to apply to this particular college.
  13. Tell about your plans for the future.
  14. Which support would you like to get from more experienced people?
  15. Describe the person who influenced you most of all – either positively or negatively.

The structure of the admission essay

You did a lot of essays in high school, so the structure is not anything new for you. Like any other essay, the college application essay consists of the Introduction, the Main Body, and the Conclusion.

  • In the Introduction, you need to present the topic and grasp the interest of your audience. The only difference for the admission essay is that your sources are your memories and emotions exclusively.
  • In the Main Body section, you tell the story. Here, you need to prove your capabilities and present your thoughts on the subject. You can share your ideas about social trends, ethical questions, psychological issues, and so on. The arguments for the statements are your considerations and facts from your experience. But you need to pick them up with care. The goal of every reference is to convince the board that you are a worthy candidate.  
  • The Conclusion is more critical in the college admission essay than in any other type of paper. It is the last chance to convince the admission officers. Hence, you make the final of the article the most potent part. Once more, emphasize your advantages and your future contribution to the school’s reputation.

Writing the Application Essay for College: What to Stress and What to Avoid

After you’ve chosen the topic and drafted the main points of the story, the best way is to make an outline. In the same way, as you always do for other essays, build the text skeleton, and sort your arguments. The college admission essay must be concise, as its size is rather small. So, you should include the necessary things only, and get rid of anything less relevant mercilessly.

Note the crucial factor that is specificity. Don’t refer to general things. Instead, think of those making you stand apart. Focus on actual events, people, and ideas. If you describe some situations, it should not be a story about the event but the story about you in that event. Everything you write must relate to you and reveal traits doing you justice.

There is one more factor that the students often miss – when you tell the story, concentrate on your feelings. Take the thing that happened, describe how you felt about that, and then explain what effect it had on you further.

Prove your writing skills

Writing skills are vital. First, you will have loads of writing tasks in college, so you’d better assure the admission boards at once that you are prepared. Then, the way you write tells much about the way you think. Remember, the admission officers are people with much experience. They can judge you by your writing.

  • Check the logical connections in the essay precisely. They must be clear, correct, and relate all the life facts to the thesis.
  • The wording should be concise. Avoid complicated words you don’t use in your regular speech. However, your language must not be banal either. Pay attention to overused words describing emotions and overused verbs. Choose proper synonyms that have additional shades of meaning. This way, you make the text more vivid.
  • You can use symbolic language means and the elements of creative writing, as they make your essay more exciting. You will tell the story in that paper, so make that story appealing and engaging.
  • Proofread the essay. Use automated checkers, but you should not relate to their results only. They can miss context issues. Reread the text yourself several times with significant intervals in between. You may want to change some fragments or even rewrite the essay thoroughly.
  • Don’t let yourself procrastinate. Start writing the essay it as early as possible, and then check and re-edit it until you are fully satisfied.
  • Get feedback. Show your essay to your parents and other people you trust – for instance, your ex-teachers. Ask them to evaluate the text and get their remarks.

The Great Application Essay Opens the College Doors for You!

Writing the college application essay is in many aspects similar to job application writing. Both these acts have the same object to ensure people “on the other side” that you are the best candidate for the position. First, it is the student’s position, but the skill of presenting your strength in different aspects will bring you nothing but good in the future.

However, now you have the specific goal of enrolling in college. Thus, the admission essay can be your most persuasive argument, or it can become the albatross around your neck. As this task is of such crucial importance, you need to be sure of the text quality. In this case, it can be safer to turn to the professional writers for this essay.

Our writing company is proficient in doing successful college application essays, and we’ll gladly assist you in this matter. Just contact us and tell us about your needs. We’ll do the rest and compose you the essay that will persuade the pickiest admission officers.

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