Write Great College Entrance Essay

Thus vindicated, my desire to further formalize my love of science brings me to State University.

Thanks to this experience, I know now better than ever that State University is my future, because through it I seek another, permanent, opportunity to follow my passion for science and engineering.

So as our November 1 ED deadline approaches, I thought I'd write to you, future applicants everywhere, and give you four easy tips for a great college essay. Often your instinct is to write about something else - an experience, another person, a favorite activity - rather than your personality, passions, or quirks.

This makes sense; your writing experience up until this point has consisted of essays on books you've read or concepts you've learned. Fight the urge to focus on your athletic practice schedule, the grandparent you admire, or the community service experience from last summer.

You're hidden behind perfect grammar, sterile language, and phrases thrown in because "it's what admissions officers want to hear." Let me demystify something for you: I hate the things you write because "it's what admissions officers want to hear." They're boring. Then show your essays to two people - one who is a strong writer, and one who knows you really well (they can tell you if your essay is genuinely YOU). You’ll also have more fun throughout the writing process and feel satisfied with your essays because they will represent your true self.

And that’s quite an accomplishment among all the stress and pressure of the college application process. Telling me that your friends would describe you as silly and outgoing is, unfortunately, not enough.As the admissions officer reading your application, I need proof – in the form of a written tone that matches your spoken one.Each year, about half of our applicants submit their application in the last few days before the deadline.Even our ED early birds seem to know how to procrastinate. It's time to be a little self-centered: Despite the often bad rap, I find seniors in high school have a hard time being self-centered when it comes to writing their college essays.You may use these people or experiences as launching pads to discuss yourself, but that is all they should be. Is grandpa the reason you've always got a harmonica in your purse?Did the service trip spark a deep interest in a specific social issue that now drives your academic study? You could write about his lonely, minimalist paintings and how they make you feel, and you could tell the reader that you've always admired his talent for telling a whole story with only a few seemingly unimportant characters.These are better areas of focus than the sport, grandparent, or trip themselves. It's all about detail: As I see it, you have two options when exploring a topic in your college essay: go broad or go deep. You could write about your own storytelling and how it is inspired by Hopper. One is better than the other (I'll give you a hint: it's the second one).Let me give an example: in writing about your budding interest in art history, you could write that you've always loved visiting museums, and how your art history course in high school solidified the interest. By focusing on details, you set yourself apart; many people love museums and could list some artists that they like.Not many have taken the time to geek out about Edward Hopper on paper. Write how you speak: If your friends, family members, and teachers would describe you as silly, outgoing, and uninhibited, why would you submit a collection of essays all written in a formal, subdued tone?(The same goes for you, introverts: if you’re quieter in person, write a quieter essay!

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