How To Write Essays For College Applications

Christina De Cario, the associate director of Admissions at the College of Charleston, tells Thought Co that the essay provides clues about a student’s writing skills, personality and preparedness for college.She advises students to view the essay as an opportunity.“When they write about something that they are passionate about, it is in their favor; they become real to us.” So, what types of topics should be avoided?

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” And, he recommends using the thesis statement to quickly get to the essay’s main point. While Schiller admits that the college essay should provide information about the student, he warns against a long, rambling account.

“Stories and anecdotes are an integral part of showing your reader who you are, but a good rule of thumb is to make these no more than 40% of your word count and leave the rest of your words for reflection and analysis.” Have a conclusion.

“The key is to inspire using a personal story that captures this quality.” Papszycki believes that transformational experiences are great topics.

“For example, did you overcome extreme shyness by shining in the school musical production?

“If your profile is a little uneven, like you’re successful outside the classroom but your grades aren’t quite there, or you’re the valedictorian but you’re not a good test taker, the essay can push you from a maybe to a yes,” De Cario explains.

According to Schiller, such topics as the student’s goals, passions, personality, or periods of personal growth are all good areas in which to start brainstorming.

Brad Schiller, co-founder and CEO of Prompt.com, tells Thought Co that many applicants to the same schools may have comparable grades and test scores.

“However, the essay is the differentiator; it's one of the few pieces of an application over which a student has direct control, and it provides readers with a sense of who the student is, how the student will fit in at the school, and how successful the student will be both in college and upon graduation.” And for students with an uneven profile, the college application essay may provide a chance to shine.

However, he says that students rarely select topics in these areas.

Cailin Papszycki, director of college admissions programs at Kaplan Test Prep agrees, and says the aim of the essay is to present the student as thoughtful and mature.

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