Colleges ask for essay from applicants for just two reasons:
- To know you better
- To assess your writing ability
What do colleges want to see in this essay?
- They want to know more about you than what your grades and test scores tell them.
- Show, don’t tell.
- Speak from the heart. Speak with your unique voice. Does it sound like you?
- Use anecdotes, textures, images, examples to carry your “story.”
- Explain extenuating circumstances: LD? ADHD? Some poor grades? Significant problems that affected your grades?
- Avoid beginning sentences with “I”. Avoid “there is/are”.
- Don’t repeat information found in other parts of the application.
- Start with an anecdote or an image.
- Let one incident in your life or one experience be a metaphor for the whole.
- Have a good writer read your essay to critique it. Also, ask someone who doesn’t know you well to read it. Ask them if it tells them something about you.
- Write about something you care about.
- Length? Follow the restrictions set by the college.
- DID YOU ANSWER THE ESSAY PROMPT? Often prompts are have multiple parts. Did you answer each?
- “Too much information”: your sex life, your religious convictions, the details of your parents’ bad marriage
- Humor – if you are good at it – is fine, but what is funny to you may not be funny to an admissions officer.
- Respond to the question(s) from your unique perspective.