Essay Tips

Don't wait until the last minute to write your personal statement or essay for your college application! It's your choice to showcase what makes you unique and provide an opportunity to explain circumstances or give a more in-depth look into your character and personality
  • Write several drafts before beginning the proofreading stage.
  • It is important that you write the essay yourself. You should be able to write the essay, leave your name out of it, have someone read it and automatically know "oh yes, this is you!
  • Consult your English teacher for proofreading and make sure you answer the actual question asked.
Remember, the admissions officer is reading hundreds, or even thousands, of essays ... make yours stand out!

 Essay Do's & Don'ts
  • DO answer the question: questions are often open-ended to allow you room for expression. But make sure your essay fits.
  • DON'T try to be funny, unless you really are and can carry it off like a pro.
  • DO get personal. This essay’s about you! Be passionate. If it sounds like 300 other people could have written it, you’re missing something.
  • DON’T suck up! They know you want to go to their college. Why else would you be doing all of this?
  • DO write a good lead. Hook ‘em with the first sentence and they’ll want to read the rest.
  • DON’T go over the word count. Officials have to read thousands of essays. Too long and you may just be disqualified on a technicality.
  • DO read other essays to see what works.
  • DON’T use big words when little ones will do. If you use them incorrectly, it’ll count against you. Plus you run the risk of looking arrogant.
  • DO check your essay to see how you come across. Likeable? Friendly? Interesting?
  • DON’T let your parents write your essay. You don’t want to sound like you’re 50 years old.
  • Do give your essay a rest. Write it and then put it down for a couple of days or weeks if you can. Fresh eyes can tell you what’s missing.
  • DON’T plagiarize or buy an essay. This is about YOU. Besides there are plagiarizing programs that officials use and they’ll spot you in a minute.
  • Do ask for help- from your English teacher, guidance counselor, or an editing service.
  • DON’T be negative! Don’t whine, complain or ask for sympathy. Explain your circumstances and own up to your mistakes.
  • DO edit and rewrite. Even Hemmingway did.

 General Essay Tips
Answer the question, but do not repeat the information from other parts of the application.
If the essay is to explain which activity means most to you, do not spend time listing all the activities you put on your resume. Make a choice and talk about its importance.

In general, avoid generalities.
Write about a particular event or give specific examples. Do not write about "my involvement in extra-curricular activities is important to me." Write about when something specific happened in a particular event.

Spend the most time on your introduction and listen to the tone of your essay.
Expect admissions officers to spend 1-2 minutes reading your essay. You must use your introduction to grab their interest from the beginning. The paragraphs that follow must relate to your introduction

Be original. Do not write about what everyone else is writing about.
Even seemingly boring essay topics can sound interesting if creatively approached. However, admissions counselors read thousands of essays and tend to overlook applications that are just like the ten they read before.

Topics to Avoid
  • Your relationship with your significant other.
  • Your political views.
  • How good you are.
  • The importance of a college education in general
  • Your SAT scores

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