Writing a College Application Essay - All That You Need to Know!

college application essay

The college application essay is your opportunity to show admissions officers who you are and to provide information about yourself that didn’t fit into the other parts of your application.

When it comes to writing a college application essay, there are a few things you need to know in order to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

In this blog, we'll give you some tips on what to include in your essay, how to format it, and more. So whether you're just starting out or you're almost done, keep reading for everything you need to know about writing a college application essay!

What is a College Application Essay?

Most college applications have an essay writing section that asks for more information about the applicant. In this section, you are asked to write about your life experiences and goals.

Colleges use this information to get to know you better. They want to know what makes you unique and what you are capable of. This section also allows you to showcase your thinking process, resilience, and communication skills.

Purpose of Writing a College Application Essay

Before writing your college admission essay, it is important to understand why the college admissions board wants them. The college application essays allow the admissions board to learn about any unique traits that they can't learn from your general application.

These essays also give you a chance to tell the admission boards your unique story and show them why you should be accepted into their high school.

How Long Should a College Application Essay be?

An ideal college application essay should be 500-650 words long at maximum.

One of the most crucial aspects of writing an effective college essay is brevity. We know that students have a limited amount words they can use, but it's important to make sure your point gets made and no one loses attention from what you're saying!

Common App applicants are limited to a maximum and minimum word count while writing supplemental essays. The Common App's essays should fall between 250-650 words.

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Types of College Application Essay

The College Essay prompts can be tricky to understand, but luckily for you, we have explored them into easy-to-read categories. There are three main types of college application essays:

  • ‘You’ Type Essays

    These prompts are your chance to tell the admission board something that they might not have asked for in an application. They can be seen as interviews with write-ups, so think carefully about what you want them to know!

  • ‘Why Us’ Type Essays

    When applying to schools, it is important that you do your research on the institution. Find out what these selective colleges are all about by looking at their website or contacting someone who has attended this university before. Use this knowledge to write why YOU are the best for their institution.

  • Creative

    These types of admission essays are a chance to show the admission board how you think outside of traditional school structures. They want creative, innovative answers that focus on personal insight into your decision-making process and what it means for YOU!

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How to Write a College Application Essay?

There are a lot of things that go into writing an essay.

It needs to have a clear logical flow and communicate one key message with relevance for all readers. Your essay should also contain some kind-of common theme through which everything can be understood or linked together.

We all know that writing an essay can be tough, but the key is to make sure it has a clear flow and you're communicating your message clearly. The more engaging they are-the better. Also, keep in mind that a college essay and a statement of purpose are two different things written during your application process.

How to Start a College Application Essay?

It is important to take a deep breath, step back and plan how one will tackle the assignment. Many applicants find themselves overwhelmed with thoughts of what they want or need for their college application essay. So, it's best not just dive right into writing without taking some time first!

Begin by researching and writing down the answers to the following questions:

  • What is each school’s mission statement? What are they trying to achieve with their students?
  • What are the goals for students at each school? What values do they focus on to make their school a great place to be?
  • What were the aspects of the school that interested you? Why did the school make it on your list of potential schools?
  • How does the school interact with the community around it?
  • How can you get involved in student life? Are there any clubs, Greek life, or campus events that appeal to you? What do students do for fun?

Now that you know more, think of the school as an individual with similar traits who would be interested in what you have to say! Think of how your personality matches up against this person's - do the two fit well together? If they do, then just write that down in the form of a college essay.

Steps to Write a College Application Essay

“How to write a good college application essay?”

College essays are often daunting, but with some basic knowledge and tips on how to write a good essay, you can get through it. Here are the steps that you can follow to write an impressive college application essay:

  1. 1. Find Out About the Values, Culture, and Vision of the School

    Knowing the values, culture, and vision of a school is an important step in applying. Thankfully it's something that many applicants have likely already done when deciding where they want to attend college. But now you need to dive deeper into this.

    When it comes to choosing a school, look into what makes the institution stand out. Researching the school's commitment towards education, its campus life, and community culture can show that you are serious about applying for a spot there.

  2. 2. Brainstorm your Life’s Turning Points and Major Milestones

    Brainstorming significant moments in your life is an important step for every applicant. Think about any instance where you’ve had a profound experience or made something happen that changed the course of events to some degree – be it with family members, friends, work experiences, travels abroad...the list goes on!

    Brainstorming significant moments throughout our lives will help us show off what makes us unique. Think about the times when you questioned or challenged someone for a good purpose.

    Also, at this stage, make a college application essay outline that you can follow further on.

  3. 3. Start Writing

    The first step of the process is often one that students struggle with. Starting an essay can be difficult and daunting, but it's important! A student may not feel confident in their topic or unsure about how they want to word things. However, throughout this journey, you'll keep refining your essay until it can be called perfect.

    No matter how bad you think your ideas may sound at first, start writing, so we can get over those toughest hurdles early on!

  4. 4. Evaluate Your Initial Draft

    The first draft is the most important part of any paper. After you’ve written it, take some time for self-reflection on what worked well and where improvements can be made in your next few drafts before submitting it.

    As you go through the first draft of your paper, take note of what works well and incorporate these into future drafts.

  5. 5. Revise, Edit, and Rewrite Till Its Perfect

    Revising is the process of re-examining your work and making changes. Editing means choosing which elements can be cut out to make it more clear, concise, or interesting for readers.

    The revision process is about getting comfortable with your work. You have the chance to make changes and improvements until you are satisfied that it's perfect.

  6. 6. Get Your Essay Reviewed

    Ask someone you trust to give your paper a read-through. They can help point out any mistakes or areas that need more detail, so it’s aligned with who YOU are as an individual person!

  7. 7. Create the Final Draft

    Revise, edit, and rewrite until you are happy with the final draft. There will always be things to improve, but eventually, the essay will reach a point of satisfaction.

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Tell a Story in Your College Application Essay

While writing a college application essay, each student aspires to impress the admission officers through it. Here is a sure-shot way to do that - tell your story through your college application essay.

Telling a story through your college application essay is important because it helps you stand out from the rest of the applications. It also lets the admission officers know more about YOU and why you deserve a place in their college.

Here are some ways through which you can brainstorm about your story that should be written in a college application essay.

  • Use a Strength Quiz: Taking a strengths quiz can help you identify your natural skills. Then, in your essay, you can talk about events in your life that relied on those strengths. Everyone has different strengths, so be sure to think of a story that is unique to you.

  • Talk to Your Family and Friends: You can ask your close friends and family members for help. They can give you adjectives that describe you. You should use the adjectives that are used the most.

    If you want to, you can ask them why they chose those words. This will help you in your essay writing process.

  • Think About the Memorable Moments in Life: When you are thinking about your college applications, it can be helpful to think about some of the biggest events in your life. These events can have a big impact on how you see things.

    You should try to write down as many big events as you can, and then choose the four that are most important to you.

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How to Make Your College Application Essay Impressive?

Here are some things that must be included in your college application essay if you want to impress the readers or the admission officers.

  • Strong Hook: An excellent way to start off your application is to provide a strong hook. This will be something that grabs the reader's attention and gets them excited to read further. This can show the board that you are different from other applicants and are worth taking a closer look at. You can read hook examples to learn more about hooks.

  • Unique Experiences: Describe an influential event. Tell about the times when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. You can also write about when you challenged a belief for the good. Don't spend too much of the word count on the retelling of the event. Remember, each word in this short essay is valuable.

  • Learnings and Achievements: Make sure to mention the life-turning events that helped you grow as an individual and gave you major learnings. Everyone learns from their experiences, you just need to reflect on a time when you learned it. Also, include your bigger achievements and what impact they had on you.

  • Benefits of Your Skills to the College: You have worked hard to develop the skills that you have. Using these skills you need to tell how you will be a great addition to the college community. Tell how these skills will benefit you and everyone around you.

  • Always End the Essay Well: Just like a strong hook, it is important to have a memorable ending that will leave the admissions board with a lasting impression of your essay. The board reads countless applications, so try to stand out and end on an unforgettable note.

  • Always Adhere to the Given Instructions: Make sure that you follow the basic requirements for your essay. Make sure that it is the right length, that it answers the question, and that it is related to the school.

    Do not try any gimmicks like making your essay into a physical shape or repeating the same word 600 times. It will not help you and might even annoy the admissions board. It is usually better to follow a traditional format for your content. This will help your content stand out.

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Examples of College Application Essa

Go through these college application essay examples to know how to write a great college application essay.

College Application Essay Format(PDF)

College Application Essay Format

Thinking about how to format a college application essay? Go through this PDF to know how you can format a college application essay perfectly.

College Application Essay Examples - 500 words(PDF)

College Application Essay Examples - 500 words

College Application Essay Template(PDF)

College Application Essay Template

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Do’s and Don’ts of a College Application Essay

There are a few things to remember when writing your college application essay.

Do’s of Writing a College Application Essay

  • You need to show potential colleges that you are more than just your grades, test scores, and recommendations.
  • Make sure that your essay expresses your personality, identity, interest, or talent.
  • Tell a story about yourself that has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Have someone proofread your essay and give you feedback, but make sure that the final product still sounds like you.
  • Make sure that the length of your paper is within the required or suggested range.
  • Remember to format your document correctly.

Don’ts of Writing a College Application Essay

“What should you not do in a college application essay?”

  • Do not write about anything that is not true. Avoid fake or outrageous stories.
  • Don't use words that you don't use every day. Fancy vocabulary won’t help.
  • Do not include information that is already included in other parts of your application.
  • Do not give a copy of your resume or talk about your life history.
  • It's not a good idea to talk about your past legal problems when you're applying to college.

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Great College Application Essay Topics

Here are some great college application essay prompts that can help you get started:

  • A Defining Moment, Experience, or Realization
  • Someone Who Has Greatly Influenced You
  • A Key Part of Your Identity
  • Your Biggest Passion
  • A Problem You Solved
  • A Unique Hobby

These steps, tips, and examples given above will help you write a great college application essay. Follow these tips to write a great for impressing your admission board.

However, if it seems like an uphill task, then don’t risk the chance of getting into your dream college. Instead, take reliable college application essay help from EssayWriterNow.com. Our expert essay writer can write an impressive essay on your behalf and help you nail your application procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Do Colleges Want to Hear Essays?

One part of the college application process is to write a personal essay. In this essay, colleges want to learn more about you. They want to know your background, what positive qualities you could bring to campus, and how you have demonstrated those qualities in the past.

Can You Lie on Your College Essay?

The good news is that the admissions committees can see through people who lie on their essays. People who willingly lie on their essays will be rejected from college.

What Should be Included in a College Essay?

Following are the things that should be included in a college essay:

  • A compelling hook
  • Your personal story
  • Your achievement
  • Your qualities and skills
  • How you are the best fit for the college
  • A strong conclusion