College Application Essay Help

Tips for Writing an Exceptional Application Essay

Provided by the Boettcher Foundation A Great Essay Will:

  • Provide insight into who you are and what you value.
  • Be personal and unique in a way that highlights your identity and/or personality.
  • Have a certian  depth of purpose.
  • Engage the reader – what’s at stake?
  • Leave an impression on the reader.
  • Challenge the reader to consider a subject, topic, or opinion in a different light.
  • Speak to the scholarship’s and/or college’s selection criteria.
  • Be PROOFREAD and have gone through several edits and revisions.

Some General Tips:

Length – You should ensure that the essay is an appropriate length (one paragraph is way too short for a question that requests a 1-page response).  At the same time, students should not exceed the maximum page or word allowance.

Topic – Ensure that your essay topic is creative and relevant, and that it speaks to the question.  The best topics are those about which you are innately passionate.  It is easy to write with sincerity when a topic is chosen for your distinctive appreciation (or condemnation) of it.

Tone – Read your essay aloud to ensure that the tone you desire comes across in the final product.  This can help you determine if your sarcasm or humor is likely to be misinterpreted, if your emphasis is unintentionally melodramatic, if your sincerity ring true, etc.

Format – Remember to use seperate  paragraphs to create distinctive sections in the essay and distinguish ideas from each other!  An essay that is one long paragraph instead of being broken up into different points can be difficult to read, and readers may get lost.  Follow instructions regarding point-size, font, etc.  Not doing so is a sign of carelessness.

Some Specific Tips:

Essays About Other People – If writing about a special person (from your own life or a famous or historical figure), you should relate this person to your own life, goals or aspirations.  If you don’t provide some information as to why you chose this person to write about, the essay becomes a biography of someone else without any insight into why you find your subject compelling or admirable.

Essays About Challenges – This type of essay is most effective when it provides insight into who you are and by describing the challenge and illustrating why it was important to you to attempt to overcome it.  Describe the actions taken to work towards your desired result and tell your reader what you learned from the experience or how the experience changed you.

*The essay is your chance to use your voice* The essay is the living, breathing part of your application to college or scholarship.  In the essay you can speak in your own voice and personalize your application.  Here’s your opportunity to show something about you that doesn’t really come across elsewhere in your application. By: The Associated Colleges of the Midwest