College Essay Tips and Tricks

November 28, 2022
By AdmissionSight

College Essay Tips and Tricks

What is a college essay?

College essays, often known as personal statements, college admissions essays, or common app essays for those completing their applications through the common application web, are a required component of the majority of college applications. That said, there is a long list of college essay tips that one can find in books and online.

Additionally, once you’ve submitted your original application, some universities could ask for additional essays as part of a secondary application. There are times when there are no prompts, and you are expected to just write about yourself and why you are applying to a particular school. The majority of the time, the school provides a prompt or question that your essay is required to answer.

What is a college essay? What is its purpose? The purpose of college essays is to demonstrate to the admissions committee why you are the most qualified applicant overall. It’s crucial to keep in mind that the majority of four-year universities offer an all-encompassing admissions process. This indicates that they are interested in your GPA and grades, as well as your motives and identity outside of the classroom. Therefore, a strong college essay should highlight your personality, motivations, hard and soft skills, and what you hope to gain from the program you’ve applied to.

View of someone writing on a table.

Some institutions may decide to provide particular guidelines for college admissions essays, such as a word count, in addition to the question. However, unless otherwise specified, your essay should be between 500 and 650 words. It should be organized similarly to an academic paper, with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Now that we have established what a college essay is, let us now learn some college essay tips.

College Essay Tips

Colleges take into account a number of factors when determining who they will admit into their programs, including high school grades, extracurricular activities, and ACT and SAT scores.

However, more universities now don’t take test scores into account more than ever before.

Instead, several are choosing “test-blind” admission rules that place a greater emphasis on other aspects of a college application (including Harvard until 2026). This policy adjustment is thought to be more equitable for students who lack the resources or access to take the test or who have test anxiety.

What does this entail for you, then?

Simply put, it is now more crucial than ever to write a strong college essay, which is a customary requirement of all college applications. You get a one-of-a-kind chance to present yourself to admissions committees, who must sift through thousands of applicants each year, by writing a college essay. This is your chance to make a strong impression and prove that you deserve a spot in the class.

When compared to the sea of forgettable applications that admissions examiners receive, a well-written and considered essay that reflects who you are and what you believe can go a long way toward setting your application apart. In fact, given that many universities no longer take test scores into account, officers may rely on them even more now.

So, if you’re troubled that you cannot create a well-written college essay, don’t worry, we can definitely help you. At AdmissionSight, we worked with intelligent and dedicated students who are determined to get into some of the top schools in not only the United States but the entire world.

We’ll go over a few college essay tips you might employ in the paragraphs below to make your essay stand out from the crowd. We’ll discuss how to start an essay and what to write in a college essay.

Getting started on the college essay

According to experts, the summer before senior year is an excellent time for students to start working on their essays because there will be less distraction from coursework and extracurricular activities.

Female student writing on a sofa.

Students that start early will have plenty of time to complete several revisions of an essay before the deadline for college applications, which may be as early as November for those applying for early decision or early action.

Some institutions require applicants to submit one or more supplementary writing examples in addition to the primary essay. In these supplemental essays, which are typically shorter than the main essay, students are frequently asked to explain why they are interested in a certain school or academic discipline.

If the colleges to which they are applying require additional essays, students should allow more time for the writing process. The majority of elite universities will require multiple writing samples.

Avoid focusing all of your time and effort on one lengthy essay at the expense of other application components. Experts point out that there can be more questions on an application that calls for well-written answers. Part of the important college essay tips that we will be sharing involves considering how long an essay should be.

How long should a college essay be?

Many schools and universities have word limits for the essays submitted as part of the college application process. Some applicants anticipate a single, longer essay, while others anticipate many submissions with a smaller word count each. That isn’t always the case, though. Keep your essay between the 250- and 650-word limit set by the longer college admissions essay format if your institution doesn’t provide a word count.

Word count is simply one aspect to take into account when writing your college application essay. Let’s discuss further factors, such as whether a longer essay makes a difference and whether going over the word limit is appropriate.

College essays: word count vs. page limit

High school essays frequently have a page restriction, so your teachers may ask you to turn in a five-page essay or an eight-page essay. However, word counts are frequently required for college essays.

It’s advisable to use the higher word count limit when a college gives you the wide word count option. If a college requests an essay between 250 and 500 words, for instance, you should try to write a response that is at least 400 to 450 words long. Your essay doesn’t have to reach the maximum word count, but it should be much longer.

A college admissions committee can get to know you better by reading your college essays or personal statements. It’s a priceless space. Writing only what is necessary might not be the best way to communicate with the committee or reveal more about you than what is contained in your transcripts and general application.

How to pick a college essay topic?

Finding an essay topic is the first, and occasionally most difficult, step in the writing process.

On a college application, you can typically choose from a variety of essay questions. Oftentimes, they have broad, open-ended inquiries that allow pupils to write about a variety of subjects.

How to pick a college essay topic? Experts point out that the essay isn’t a comprehensive autobiography. The idea of summarizing your entire life in one essay is overwhelming. Instead, students should focus more specifically and write about a particular experience, passion, or quirk that exposes something personal about them, such as their thought processes, their values, or their areas of strength. Students may also choose to write about an example of a part of their background. If written well, even an essay about a well-known subject can be fascinating.

Contrary to popular belief, students are not required to mention a noteworthy accomplishment in their essays. U.S. News spoke with admissions officers who mentioned notable essays that covered more common subjects like fly-fishing, a student’s commute to and from school, and a family’s dining room table.

Here is one of the many college essay tips that you need to remember. The most crucial aspect of a college essay, according to experts, is that it is meaningful and tells a tale that provides insight into the applicant as a person.

Students can approach friends or family members for assistance when they are having problems coming up with ideas for themes, and they can also ask peers or family members things like, “What do you think differentiates me?” or “What are my peculiarities?”

According to experts, the essay should teach college admissions officers something new. Students should make sure the topic of their essay isn’t covered elsewhere in their application, such as in the activities part, or they should go into great detail if it is.

Finally, when you believe your essay is complete, dare to make it outstanding! Start by aiming for a 10% word reduction. You will be compelled to carefully review each word, idea, and piece of punctuation if you do this. Making an honest effort to cut by 10% can improve your essay, even if you are unable to do so.

Female student writing in front of his

Afterward, ask someone to read it aloud to you. Your brain will fool you when you proofread aloud because there is only one “and” in the sentence when it actually reads “and and.” You’ll be compelled to accept the screenplay as written if you hear the words as they are written. Be prepared to ask the reader to wait while you make a few changes, if necessary.

Once you have decided to write your college essay, the next goal is to acquire admission. At AdmissionSight, we have more than 10 years of experience helping students get into the best universities in the world through the competitive admissions process. On average, 75% of our students get into an Ivy League school like Stanford, MIT, UChicago, or Caltech. This is one of the best records in the business. Feel free to make an appointment today to set up your first meeting.

Contact AdmissionSight right away to arrange a free consultation if you’re curious to learn more about the essay writing process or what you can do to increase your chances of getting into your top institutions.




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