Top Essay Writing Tips From Former Admissions Officers
It’s college application crunch time for high school seniors, and there are probably more than a few of you who are behind on writing those application essays. Don’t get stressed! Our team of counselors is here to help with some of their top essay writing tips.
Why Does The Essay Matter?
Yes, grades are the most important factor that colleges consider when making admission decisions, but that doesn’t mean all the other “soft factors,” like essays, recommendations, and more, are not important. A compelling application has both strong hard and soft factors. Meaning you don’t need just the grades to get into some of the top schools in the US – you need an application that’s robust in every facet.
The essay is your chance to tell the admissions office something about you that they don’t already know. This is where your personality has the chance to shine, and a compelling essay can make an applicant three-dimensional – making it that much easier for an admissions officer to advocate for that student during the decision-making process.
Here are some essay writing tips from former admissions officers at some of the top universities in the US.
Use Your Voice
This essay is about you, so make it sound like YOU! Too often students write in a voice or tone that’s completely different than their own in an effort to impress admissions officers or write what they think admissions officers want to read. Don’t just write an essay about a topic that’s important to you – make it sound like it’s coming from you, too. Admissions officers can tell when students have used a thesaurus for every other word in their essays, and it takes away from the purpose of the essay – which is to get to know you! Don’t waste this valuable opportunity to speak directly to an admissions officer by trying to sound like something you’re not.
Write a Compelling Intro
Some admissions officers read THOUSANDS of applications, and many of the essays can start to sound the same after a while. You have a limited amount of time to make an impression with your writing, so make sure you hook the reader in with a strong introduction. The first one or two sentences should be compelling and draw the reader in.
Have a Strong Conclusion
Just as important as the introduction is the conclusion of your essay. An essay that starts strong, but then ends flat isn’t going to be very compelling. Make sure your takeaway or message to the reader is clear at the conclusion, and, if applicable, show how this message relates to the future and who you are and who you want to become as you continue your education past high school.
Revise, Revise, Revise!
It’s rare that an essay is perfect with the first draft. Once you’ve written your essay, take some time away from it and come back with fresh eyes to read it again, edit, and revise. Then, get feedback from your college counselor, teachers, parents, and anyone else who can help you edit and proofread. Your college counselor is an excellent resource for this, so use them! Keep working at it until you have an essay that you’re really proud of.
Writing college application essays can be a grueling and daunting task, but it’s one of the most important! If you’re having trouble with your college application essays, contact us today for more information no our college counseling services for high school seniors in the thick of the application process!