10. Don’t procrastinate. Writing well-planned college essays that will help you succeed in the very noble task of being accepted into your first-choice schools takes time and iterations.
9. Determine what you need to say based on your background. Each applicant is unique and, therefore, will need to address different weaknesses and trumpet different strengths. Know what your profile will look like to the admission committee and focus your college essays accordingly.
8. Spend adequate time selecting your admission essay topics. This is a critical first step and it will be tough to write a compelling college essay about a poorly chosen topic. See our essay topics page for additional information.
7. Don’t let writer’s block affect you. Once again, this is an obstacle that can be overcome. Our overcoming writer’s block page discusses some helpful techniques you can employ.
6. Talk out the essays individually and collectively. Before you begin writing the essay, talk it out to yourself or a trusted friend or relative. Make sure the “story” sounds compelling and effectively communicates your main points. If it does not, you may need to change your essay topic. Remember, if it doesn’t sound right to you, you can’t expect the admissions staff to fully appreciate the essay.
5. Keep the essays centered on you. The college essay may ask you about a significant event or a role model. Regardless, you must ensure you remain the focus of the essay. You are the one applying to school, not the role model or significant event.
4. Provide analytics and insight. You don’t want to simply provide a long laundry list of accomplishments or appear to be a real-life Forrest Gump who goes through life without any comprehension of cause and effect. Impress the colleges with your analytical abilities and insights in your essays.
3. Take advantage of recycling opportunities. More likely than not, you will be able to use some college essays from one application to another application. This can save significant amounts of time and stress. Just be sure that the essay questions are indeed similar and they both advocate your story equally well.
2. Proof your essays. There is no reason to ever submit a grammatically-incorrect application essay. You are provided with adequate time and you have access to others’ “fresh eyes” as well. Show the school you care and that you possess attention to detail.
1. Solicit feedback from trusted others. Your college essays are too important to attempt to write in a virtual vacuum.