5 Essay Writing Tips for Rising Seniors
Compelling writing won’t only help you earn top marks in English – it’s also an important part of the college application process. In addition to grades and test scores, college applicants must submit a personal statement, which can be excellent opportunity to convey your personality, differentiating factors, and big-picture goals.
A strong personal statement that reveals something new about the applicant can help set a student apart for all of the right reasons. Keep reading to learn how to take your writing skills to the next level, in order to give your own personal statement a boost.
Start with Reading
Get inspired and learn by example by reevaluating what and how often you are reading. In addition to any summer reading assignments, set aside time to explore new authors and writing styles. Establish an independent reading schedule and consult a book list for some ideas on what texts to pick up. Reading memoirs and creative non-fiction can be particularly beneficial for students preparing to write personal statements because these genres are often written in the first person, just like application essays.
Don’t Overlook Brainstorming
Before sitting down to write, it’s essential to at least have an idea of the main topic you wish to discuss. Give yourself time to reflect on the defining moments in your life, your dreams and goals for the future, and the relationships that have impacted you most. If you are working on a draft of your personal statement, be sure to review the essay prompts for the Common App in order to get inspired and choose a topic.
Find Your Voice
It may sound obvious, but it’s essential to sound like yourself when writing a personal statement or first-person piece. Having a consistent and authentic voice will help you, as the writer, connect with your audience and make your story more impactful. As you are writing, pause to read aloud your work and consider how it sounds. While reading other authors can be inspirational, you need to stay true to who you are and your own personal style.
Emphasize Word Choice
According Oxford Dictionaries, at the very least there are over a quarter of a million unique words in the English language. Learning how to pinpoint exactly which words will create the meaning you are trying to convey can help make your writing accurate and more easily understood. Instead of choosing descriptions that come to mind easily, take a step back and weigh several different options for word choice. Consider how different alternatives will change the meaning and voice of the story and make a conscious decision about which choice works best. Again, you want your writing to sound like you, so don’t pick grandiose vocabulary words just to use them.
Even the best writers in the world benefit from input from an editor or a trusted colleague. Once you have written a draft that you are satisfied with, don’t be afraid to ask for a second (and maybe even third) set of eyes. To get the most from this feedback, ask your readers specific questions about the topic, your choice of words, and the voice throughout the story. Go back to your draft and rework your essay several times if needed, until you are truly satisfied with it. Editing is an important part of the writing process, so be patient with yourself and open to reworking parts of your piece in order to create the strongest version.
Essay writing is a valuable skill that many students will use in college and throughout their careers. If you are looking to take your writing abilities to the next level, our team of admissions counselors and tutors can help!