Are you dreading your upcoming college essay? If so, know that you are not alone.
Writing a college essay is intimidating. Students are tasked with summarizing their entire life experience in a few pages. These essays must also relate that life experience to a desired pathway through higher education.
What makes these essays so tricky is the intense competition and intended audience. Admissions offices view thousands of college essays each year, and it makes it hard to stand out from the crowd.
Finding the balance between using a unique story and sticking to conventional writing rules is difficult. Students are writing from their personal experience, so it can feel especially vulnerable to go through extensive criticism.
The other element of stress comes from the stakes of these essays. It is estimated that a college essay accounts for 25% of decisions made by admissions offices. This number rises at elite colleges, as most of their applicants boast the same perfect grades.
It is frustrating to think that you can get top-tier grades and still fall short of your college of choice.
However, all is not lost.
Many students share this same anxiety over writing college essays, and it is important to note that it is possible to succeed. With a little extra time and care, students can use writing techniques to enhance their story’s appeal and make an emotional connection with the reader.
Fortunately, The College Review specializes in giving students the tools they need to write these stand-out essays. Continue reading below to understand some of the elements we focus on.
Choosing A Topic
At the end of the day, the college essay system is designed to let students stand out. As such, most colleges offer several topics to write an essay on. These questions are purposefully designed to be open-ended so that students can decide where they want to go.
At first glance, it may be frustrating to see a question that is unclear. Students are trained to know a question and determine what the person asking wants from it.
Unlike a simple math problem, these essay questions do not have an intended answer. The reader is not looking for a “right” solution. The admissions office is not asking anything especially specific because most students will give the same answer.
Your college essay is an opportunity to speak. You get to decide what you want to tell the admissions office. And figuring out what you want to communicate can be an advantage if utilized by the writer.
You want to figure out your defining qualities and use these qualities to sell yourself. After deciding on your personal story, figure out which essay topic best allows you to express these elements of yourself.
College admissions offices read dozens of essays each and every day. While these are usually engaged workers who signed up to help students, anyone will start to blend together after reading enough essays back-to-back.
So how do students keep someone’s attention?
Even if you have a strong hook, it can be challenging to keep a reader interested throughout an entire essay. After all, your job is to sell your personal experience within the confines of a few pages.
An excellent way to keep a reader interested is to use unique language. Use specific emotions and thoughts from your experiences to get a reader invested. You want the admissions office to be transported into your shoes so that they can empathize with your experience.
This personal connection will help the college to understand what lessons you have learned from your experiences. Not everyone has the same upbringing, so relevant context is essential for the reader’s understanding.
Another way to keep readers interested is to mix up the formula. While conventional writing rules should not be ignored, you don’t have to write in an entirely linear fashion.
An excellent way to hook a reader is by starting in the middle of the action. Finding your most interesting climax and putting it into the first sentence will help to get a reader invested early.
In The End
Writing a college essay is hard. Whether you want to grab the correct elements or convey a specific tone, it can often feel like your writing is coming up just short.
That is why The College Review offers a variety of tutoring programs built to get you on the right track for your higher education. We specialize in walking you through the college process and helping to guide you along the way.
Our certified instructors are specially trained to help bring out the best in their students. Seniors have the talent to write a good essay, and The College Review offers the right tools for the task.