How to Start a College Application Essay?

November 5, 2022
By AdmissionSight

How to Start a College Application Essay?

What is a college application essay?

As part of the application process for many different universities, you will need to hand in an essay that you have written yourself. They can present you with a question or a prompt and ask you to answer it.

The essay you write for your application is your chance to demonstrate to universities who you are as a person and how you think. You can also differentiate yourself from the other applicants by demonstrating what you can bring to a college in the essay that you submit.

Thus, it is crucial that you learn how to start a college application essay well to get an advantage with your college application.

Why do you need a college application essay?

Each applicant must provide a college application essay to many different universities. Additionally, the essay is necessary for the completion of the Common Application, which is utilized by over 800 different colleges and universities.

When choosing which students to accept into their programs, the majority of admissions officers take into consideration the essays that applicants submit.

A male student writing in his desk.

The essay is a way for colleges to hear directly from applicants and to gain a feel of who applicants are through the applicants’ own words. It is an excellent opportunity for you to personalize your application beyond the grades, scores, and other information that you have supplied, and it can be a deciding factor when the time comes to make a decision.

What do colleges want to see in your college application essay?

Colleges are interested in seeing if you are able to write well and construct a logical argument with concepts that support it. The essay is used by certain institutions as another factor in determining whether or not an applicant is a good fit for the college.

In the opinion of one knowledgeable individual, the best piece of guidance that can be given to a student who is writing an essay is to respond to the question that was posed and to write in a manner that is authentic to who they are.

How to start a college application essay?

You have finished filling out all of the application paperwork, and you have taken all of the tests, and now it is finally time to impress the admissions staff at your university with a brilliant essay that you have written for your college application. Here are the tips on how to start a college application essay:

Brainstorm topics.

Set aside some time to think about your next essay and come up with some interesting suggestions for topics to cover. You want your topic to have personal significance to you while also illuminating a side of you that comes across in ways that aren’t obvious from the rest of your application.

The essay provides a unique opportunity to present the “true you” to admissions officers. If you already have a subject in mind, there is no need to rush into writing the introduction right away. When writing an essay, the introduction is often the part that is developed last, after the author has a complete understanding of how the tale will progress.


Freewrite is one of the best things you can do to practice how to start a college application essay well. You should grant yourself permission to write without judging what you produce for a set amount of time.

Carry out a free-writing session for each of the ideas that were developed throughout your session of brainstorming. Put a stopwatch on for one minute and write down anything that comes to mind relating to that particular subject. This can help get the creative juices flowing and get you through the initial piece of writer’s block that is so typical when it’s time to write a college essay.

Male and female students writing on a table next to a shelf full of books.

If you find that you are unable to move forward with the drafting of your essay at any time, come back to this exercise. Freewriting is an excellent technique to get your creative writing brain warmed up while also identifying which subjects flow more naturally onto the page.

Make an outline

After you have decided on a topic for your essay, the next step is to draft an outline for it. It will be much simpler for you to write the body and then return to writing the introduction. Because you will have already written it down, you will already be aware of the path you want your essay to take, and you will be able to make sure that the introduction flows well into the rest of the essay.

In addition to considering the subject of your essay, admissions authorities take into consideration the quality of your writing. Students need to have an understanding of how to start a college application essay properly in order to be equipped for writing at the collegiate level. By organizing your thoughts into a structure using an outline, you improve the likelihood that your writing abilities will be evaluated favorably.

Tips on writing a college application essay

Take your time and read the directions thoroughly.

If you don’t follow the instructions for the application essay, the admissions officer may conclude that you won’t be able to follow the requirements of the university’s program either. You should be able to structure your contribution by adhering to the criteria, which include setting restrictions on the number of pages and words you can use.

As soon as you’ve given the directions a few passes through and amassed all of your notes, you can begin constructing an outline for your essay to help you organize your thoughts and decide what kind of point you want to make. At this point, you are prepared to start writing your first draft.

Get things going with an engaging opening statement.

Excellent writing is challenging to accomplish, but it’s not impossible if you go about it correctly. If you want to capture the attention of any reader, all you need to do is give a strong opening statement, as any journalist will tell you.

Because the admissions officials will only spend a short amount of time examining your essay, you need to begin with a vibrant paragraph that will keep them interested in what you have to say. The reader needs to have a clear understanding of the purpose of your essay after reading the beginning, as well as have their interest grabbed.

You might begin by telling the admissions officers an anecdote or an engaging story that illustrates some of the most admirable aspects of your personality and character. This will provide them with insight that will assist them in getting to know you better.

Use your inner voice.

Because universities are seeking originality and quality of thought, you shouldn’t try to mold your essay around terms or concepts that have been used by many other people before; rather, you should base it on your real opinions.

Young asian student sitting on the floor next to her bed while writing on her notebook.

The application essay is your chance to demonstrate to an admissions officer that you are committed to the program of your choice and that you are knowledgeable about the relevant material. Be sure that it reflects all of your abilities and goals and demonstrates how the program you choose will assist you in achieving those goals in the future.

Avoid clichés

During the time that you are doing research for your application essay, you will be encouraged to look at some fantastic essays as examples and receive ideas from them. In spite of the fact that this is a very beneficial activity, many students let themselves be overly affected by the provided examples and resort to the use of several cliches in an effort to win over the admissions committee.

Keep in mind that there are thousands of other students applying to the university that you want to attend and that in order to stand out, you need to differentiate yourself. You should reread your essay, erase any sentences that come across as overused, and make an effort to develop a perspective that is more unique.

Because admissions officers read thousands of applications each year, it is only logical that they will pay attention to the applications that bring a distinctive personality to life. Let them find it out for themselves.

Provide convincing illustrations to back up your claims.

The essay you write for your college application gives admissions officers an insight into the way your mind operates and the way you see the world. If you want your essay to have credibility, you need to make sure that everything you write supports the opinion you are arguing for in the essay. Invest some time in determining how the essay question relates to your unique characteristics, and then approach the writing process from a focused perspective.

This indicates that if you wish to explain an idea, you should not simply mention a fact, but instead, you should give particular facts and instances in order to expand your thoughts. You can accomplish this by providing instances from your own personal experiences, as well as by writing about the things that actually motivate you and the process through which you created a certain belief.

Maintain the organized structure of your essay.

When it comes to writing, creativity is a quality that is highly valued; yet, you shouldn’t automatically believe that an orderly structure can’t coexist with creative writing. It goes without saying that you don’t want to write a bunch of meaningless words, so make sure that you just write on one topic at a time when you do write.

Because you will have a limited number of words to work with, the key is to avoid making the mistake of attempting to cover everything in your essay. Make a plan before you start writing, divide your essay into three sections (the introduction, the body, and the conclusion), and decide on the most important points you want to communicate before you start writing.

Let someone proofread your work.

If you want to develop a superb college application essay, you will most likely read it multiple times to ensure that it is free of typos as well as spelling and punctuation mistakes. However, after a while, you might find that you need a new point of view. It is in your best interest to find someone who hasn’t seen it yet and ask them to have a look at it, as they are more likely to spot errors than you are.

Unidentified person writing in her notebook on table next to her computer.

If you ask a teacher or a parent to proofread your essay, they will not only be able to see errors, but they will also be able to evaluate whether or not your voice comes through in the writing. After looking at so many different samples and following so many different guidelines, it might be difficult to determine whether or not what you have just written is a true reflection of who you are. If you want to be sure that your essay is flawless, you should ask other people for their assistance.

The admissions essays and personal statements that students submit with their college applications are, by far, the most crucial parts of the application process. A strong application essay can get you in, while a weak one will keep you out of the program.

Because there are so many students who have excellent test scores, and grades, and have even won national contests, the essay is the one place in the application where your story and narrative may come to life, demonstrating to the admissions committee that you are more than just another statistic.

After completing the training we offer here at AdmissionSight, our students learned how to start a college application essay and grow into exceptional writers who are able to convey the breadth and depth of their experiences via the writing they produce. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.


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