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College Admissions Essays

10 tips for writing an admissions essay that stands out from the crowd.

Your college admissions essay is your time to shine.

This is your chance to show your personality. College admissions officers already know you by the numbers—your SAT or ACT test scores, your grade-point average, your age. Now you can explain what makes you unique.

Use these 10 tips to write a one-of-a-kind admissions essay that will wow your college!

1. Give yourself time. Make sure that you budget enough time to ponder the topic and write a few drafts. The last thing you want to do is write a college admissions essay filled with spelling and grammar mistakes the night before it is due!

2. Be creative, not obvious. College admissions officers wade through hundreds – or even thousands – of essays. Make yours distinctive. Don’t give the obvious answer that the admissions officer probably already has read dozens of times. You want to stand out.

3. Tell the truth. College admissions officers want to find out more about who you really are.

4. Don’t repeat your transcript. You don’t need to give a tally of your grades or extracurricular activities in your essay. College admissions officers already have those in front of them in your university application. This is your opportunity to tell them what the numbers and lists don’t!

5. Use examples from your own life. Avoid being vague. Provide compelling personal examples that support the point you are making in your college admissions essay.

6. Write an attention-grabbing first sentence. If the first sentence of a newspaper or magazine article is boring, do you continue to read it? I didn’t think so. The first sentence of your essay is the first impression college admissions officers will get of who you really are. Make use of it!

7. Be yourself. Write about what interests and excites you, not what you think college admissions officers want to hear. They will be able to tell if your heart isn’t really in what you are writing.

8. Compose different essays for different colleges. By writing separate essays, you will be able to customize your responses and explain to college admissions officers exactly what attracts you to their school.

9. Proofread. Carefully review your college admissions essay several times, checking for spelling, grammar and content.

10. Allow others to offer suggestions. Give a copy of your final draft to your parents and a teacher (your English teacher, if possible!) and ask them for suggestions. Remember to proofread it again after you make revisions!