It’s tough out there, students. Colleges are receiving record numbers of applications every year and this is unlikely to change in the near future. Yes, your grades, GPA and SAT scores are all important factors to gaining admission into the college of your choice. But, have you thought about your college application letter?
This is a crucial piece of the college application. College admissions staff receive thousands of applications and have a finite amount of time to evaluate each one. It’s your time to shine and get noticed. Your college application letter must be original, well thought out and unique. Your essay is the perfect place to provide a quick snapshot of who you are. Your goals, passions and values must be clear and concise along with why that particular college is the perfect fit for you. Colleges place emphasis on the essay. They are looking for potential students who can write well by demonstrating powerful, thought compelling narratives and support their ideas through the writing process.
Help is available to guide you towards ensuring your college application letter is clean, polished and reflects who you are. The following tips will help you reach your goal of submitting a superb essay.
1. Always Be Honest
College admissions officers have seen it all! They know about the books, the pre-written papers available for purchase. Don’t make this mistake assuming you can sneak something past them. Most importantly, never plagiarize.
College staff can tell if it’s original, as they’ve read hundreds and thousands of essays. So, don’t cheat. It is important that you show you are a person with values. Admissions staff look for applicants that are genuine and sincere and they want to see that authenticity reflected on the essay you submit.
2. Stay Focused
Many students choose to provide a “list” of who they are and what they’ve accomplished. This ends up looking too broad and uninteresting. There are a plethora of ideas thrown together on a page and it looks messy and disoriented. It’s best to stick with one topic.
Your thesis should be simple, clear and concise. The narrower the topic, the more rich details you can include in your story. Simpler is always best.
3. Get Feedback for your drafted college application letter
This is an important part of writing if you want it to be readable and understandable to others. Have a parent or teacher take a look at your draft copy of your college application letter. Listen to helpful suggestions and take opinions on your writing seriously.
Make changes as needed. But, be careful. Only ask a few trusted people, two to three at the most. Too many opinions may lead to self-doubt.
4. Draft and Proofread
It’s best to just start writing. Write with passion and interest. Write until you are tired then put it away. Leave the essay for a few days and go back and look at it with a fresh set of eyes and perspective. Then continue to write and rewrite until it makes sense.
Don’t forget to use spellcheck and grammar check. It is important that your college application letter reflects good writing mechanics and skills. Mistakes make you look sloppy. Also, don’t rely on grammar tools alone. Sometimes, nothing can replace the human eye. Check for correct wording, word choice, tenses and vocabulary.
Follow the proper formatting when crafting your essay. Each college may want you to write in a certain format of their choosing. Make sure you follow the formatting to the letter, so your finished product is something you will be proud to submit.
6. Confidence is Key
Don’t be afraid to talk about a strength you have. Sometimes, it may be difficult to balance bragging while remaining humble. But, being confident about yourself and show that in your writing. It is what applications staff are looking for. You should prove on paper why you are a deserving candidate to attend their school.
7. Use Descriptive Language
This is all part of telling your story. It’s important that the person reading your essay feels as though he or she is right there with you; they can picture the places you describe, the feelings you felt, touch, taste and sound. All elements of the senses should be used with rich and imaginative details.
8. Use Humor
Many times students feel the use of honor in a story may be inappropriate. While it’s true that you should avoid crude or rude “funny” stories, there is nothing wrong with injecting some clean humorous content within your essay.
Not only is it entertaining, but, if it makes the reader laugh, that’s a positive thing. Colleges like to see a students sense of humor. Balance your humor with sensibility and your likeability increases.
9. Choose Your Topic
Students may want to stick with “safe” subjects such as talking about a vacation experience or the numerous volunteering they’ve participated in. Your idea may fall flat and be labeled as boring to the reader. There is a common phrase used around college admissions offices” Read Don’t Show.” They want to see you and an interesting story on the page. What makes you different? You may choose a simple topic such as taking care of your dog, but yet turn that into something entertaining by sticking to the topic, writing interesting content and make it something you want to read. If the topic is boring to you, chances are, it’s boring to the reader as well.
10. Use Tools
Follow the Prompts – every college you apply to have questions they want you to answer. Pay close attention to what the question is asking from you. Did you answer it? Was it clear and to the point? Did you use too many “fluff” words and failed to make your point? Each question should be answered completely and thoughtfully. Failure to do this will result in applications staff thinking you can’t follow directions.
Essay Application Help – they offer many writing services. You can use this tool for assistance with ideas, writing prompts and helpful tips. Writing services include proofreading, editing and customer support. They offer a paper writing service as well. Submit your essay and get back a 100% original well-written college application letter from a professional. Cost varies according to the package you choose.
College Essay Organizer – this helpful tool allows you to keep all your college applications and essays in one place. It also will provide you with each college’s individual essay questions for that year, so your essay writing is more personal to that college. Have all your essays in one place! This keeps you organized and on task. This tool offers periodic webcasts to gain ideas, too. Every little bit helps.
Applying for college is an exciting time. You are about to embark on the learning experience of your lifetime. Hopefully, these suggestions will assist you toward your goal of getting one step closer to your dream college.
Remember, be authentic; write your essay with passion and conviction and believe you will be successful. Write something you would want to read and make it shine. Showing your confidence through your writing increases your chances of getting noticed among a pile of other applicants. You’ve got this!
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