How To Write a Great College Admission Essay

You’re in your last year of high school and imagining what life will be like a few months from now seems impossible. Yet, the college admission essay committee wants to know where you see yourself a few years from now, why this program is right for you and so on. The cursor on your screen blinks interminably, while you rack your brain for ideas. The first thing to do is to take a deep breath, kid. You are not alone. It’s perfectly normal to not have your life plan mapped out. The trick is to take a rough plan and refine it enough to convince the committee that you mean business.

Most college admission essays ask you to write a bit about yourself. This is kinda like a first date. You want to present the real you, but not too much. So telling them that you love dramatics is acceptable, telling them that you joined the drama club because you had a crush on the instructor is not.

Begin by mentioning your interests, like reading, travelling, music etc. While doing so, try to bring out how they have contributed to developing your personality. For instance, reading could have taught you to empathize with other people’s experiences or being part of a choir could have been a lesson in how people can create beauty if they work in harmony. This last bit is crucial, because while several other applicants can have similar interests, it’s what you take from them that set you apart.

Now for the life plan part of the college admission essays. There are many free online tests that can advise you on the best career options. At the very least, they help you identify certain qualities that make you suited for certain sectors. So try to narrow it down to a sector, such as media. Then mention a few courses that could help you gain the relevant knowledge, such as Political Science, Sociology etc., especially those that the college has distinguished faculty in. Also, try to correspond with or talk to people in the sector that you think you might join later. You’ll get their hands-on perspective of what to expect, adding a genuine dimension to your essay.

Another great strategy is to contact the college admissions committee with some queries regarding the course, college or facilities and then mention their responses in your essay wherever relevant. This tells the committee that you have done your homework and makes you come across as focused and diligent.

The most important rule is: be sincere in your college admission essay. Committees can spot poseurs from a mile away. You can quote famous personalities but don’t do it more than twice in the essay, its overkill. Don’t lie about your personality and your interests. The only place where you can be “creative” is the life plan and even there you should have at least a vague interest in the sector. Keep it simple. Clearly articulated ideas impress the committee more than a fancy vocabulary.

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