How can I write a good college essay?

By Ananya Aggarwal

College essays can be a way to display your writing skills and where your personality and voice can shine. Essays can be a lot of pressure especially with the word limits and to get started with an idea or topic which you are passionate to write about.

  1. Try to go places where you find the most inspiration for ideas and remember to brainstorm them and write about them later. The greatest ideas often come when you least expect them so make sure to write them down so you don’t forget.

  2. Read your work aloud so you can improve upon it if your writing is flat. That seems like common sense but many people forget to. Along these lines, is making sure you have someone else edit your essay such as a teacher or college counselor to avoid simple grammar mistakes.

  3. Many warn against trying to be funny in your essay. Everyone has different comedic values so what you think is funny probably won’t be to an admissions officer. Also make sure to stick to answering the questions, don’t stray to talking about your grades or test scores.

  4. It is time to focus on yourself and be self-centered. This means to write about your own personality, passions, or quirks instead of someone else or an experience. You could use experiences to describe yourself or how you have grown but zone in on discussing yourself.

  5. Focus on details and go deep into the things you write rather than being so broad. This can show how passionate you are about some writer or some art piece or anything like that.

  6. Write your essay the way you would speak. You often need proof of how you may describe your personality and the way to do this is through your writing. Make sure your written tone matches your spoken one. How you describe yourself should make sense on paper if someone who has never met you were to read your essay.

  7. Write from a unique perspective and try to avoid writing how people normally would. It should be based upon genuine emotion and authentic experiences. Open your essay strong so that it is exciting and so an admissions officer can be intrigued.

  8. Start writing your essay as early as possible so you can have multiple drafts and really have time to think through how you want to express yourself. Thoughtful responses take time.

To close off here are some of the tips to start writing your college essay that the college board describes.

  • If asked to write about a personal experience, an achievement, or a person who is significant to you make sure to go beyond the what or the who and dig into the how and the why.

  • When writing about a trip or an event, describe how the experience affected you and why it’s meaningful to you.

  • If you are writing about a person in your life, be personal and specific, not just sentimental. Explain what this person did and how their actions, words, or example affected you.