C******. Seniors, the time is upon us when we have to face what we have been dreading for the past 12 years of our lives: college admissions. But lucky for you, your writing fairy godmother (me), is here to give you five tips on how to make sure you stand out to admission counselors.
Before you even worry about writing your essay, make an account on the CommonApp. This website is the easiest way to apply to college, with almost every school represented and has all aspects of each application in one place. Now, you can choose from one of seven topics and have 250-650 words to share your voice. Let’s get to writing.
Choose a topic that’s unique to you.
Everyone has had a pet that’s died. Unfortunately, the admissions board more than likely doesn’t want to hear about how you wouldn’t leave bed for a week after Rhonda the fish died. But, if you have a story that you feel is uniquely yours, share it.If you have won best fish-human superlative three years in a row and it’s inspired your interest in majoring in Fish Studies, tell your admissions counselor!
Show, don’t tell.
When you only have so many words to make an incredible impression, the way you talk matters. Instead of telling the reader: “I was distraught”, show the reader: “Rhonda the goldfish, named after my great-grandmother, was the best thing in my life. Her death tore my heart into a million pieces.” See how much better that sounds?
Don’t repeat your resume.
You might be the president of your goldfish’s fan club, but if that’s on your resume, you don’t want to take up all of your space in the essay repeating it. If it is important, consider telling a story about the club instead.
Find someone else to edit your essay.
It can be easy when you read something over and over again to miss a glaring error. Having a fresh set of eyes will help eliminate errors, and an unbiased perspective will help you cut out unnecessary fish talk.
Make sure you talk about growth.
The point of your admissions essay is not to explain how you’re oppressed and therefore deserving of higher education but instead to show how you can bounce back from adversity. Your dream school wants to hear about how you live to honor Rhonda the goldfish, not how you are unable to go on without her bubbling next to you.
Edit, edit, and edit.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible for every school to meet with every applicant. Your main impression will be this essay. Spelling, grammatical, or structural errors could be the deciding factor between getting in and not.
Read the essay out loud.
Trust me on this one. After writing for hours, strange sentences can slip under the radar. Reading out loud will help you sound natural and like yourself, which is always the best.
While I can’t guarantee you early acceptance into Harvard, these essay tips are sure to get you a few steps further in your application process. Good luck applying!