Do not procrastinate – get started early. This is the first one of our college essay tips. Allowing yourself enough time will lessen your stress and you will be able to give your best to the essay. Leaving any type of coursework to the last minute will leave you in a panic and make it more difficult to think.
Honesty is the best policy. It may be that you are behind schedule and are finding it difficult to come up with ideas to write about. Then you find a story that someone else has written and you like it. With a bit of tweaking, you think that what you have just read can make a superb essay. Therefore, you go ahead and do that. Do not make this mistake! Most admission panels have read countless college essays and are skilled at spotting instances of plagiarism. They will immediately discard your work and you will, at best, get a very low grade. You may even fail. Do not jeopardize your education by cutting corners.
Reveal your own self. Consider your interests and the things you like doing and write about those things in your essay. This is one of our best tips for college essays. One common mistake that writers’ make is writing about what they think is interesting for readers instead of writing about an event, individual or person that is significant or interesting to them. Such essays are tedious to write and make tedious reading. Therefore, stay focused. Tell your readers about your interests. This will give your essay a more original and personal touch.
Maintain your focus. An essay is your opportunity to show an admissions panel why you are a suitable candidate and how their institution will benefit by having you in it. Many students make the mistake of listing everything about themselves – their excellent educational record, their experience, their community participation and their sporting endeavors – in one or two pages. If you remember any of our tips for writing college essays, remember that this format can make an essay look like a shopping list. Just write down a few notable things about yourself. Then select the one you find most interesting and fun, and write about that. Be creative. Do not forget that the admissions panel want to learn about you, what motivates you, and what your interests are. Hence, they should be keen to read about you if you focus your paper with them in mind.
Accuracy and formality are important. While submitting an application online might seem similar to writing an email, this is not the case. Therefore, when writing a college essay, do not use the type of informal language that is acceptable in an email e.g. all lower case and/or modern-day “text-style” abbreviations. Your essay should demonstrate your best side. This is also a chance for you to demonstrate your writing skills and your command of the English language, so make the most of it. Don’t waste any opportunities!
Risk-taking is acceptable sometimes in college writing. Risks can work sometimes. Do not just make do with essay topics that everyone is writing about. Think of an admissions panel reading the hundredth essay of the day and it is getting late. They are tired! Do you want them to fall asleep when they get to yours because that very topic has appeared repeatedly all day? Ask other people what they are writing about and avoid that topic.
Seek another opinion. Prior to publication, even the most famous authors ask other people to read their texts. When you have revised your work to the point you are satisfied with it, ask someone whose opinion you respect to look over it. They may have ideas on how to improve your essay. This person will be able to tell you what they like and dislike about your written work. Although criticism can be difficult, be open-minded. You do not have to accept every suggestion, but you would be wise to at least consider them. It is also the case that other people may see you in a slightly different light than you see yourself. They may see some strengths that you have overlooked because you are not especially aware of them, so this is another advantage of letting someone else cast their eye over your work.
Write and write again. Do not expect to produce a masterpiece on the first attempt. That is impossible and the pressure may impair your focus. Write down everything you can think of about the topic in the first draft. Just get your thoughts onto paper without worrying too much about spelling or grammar. Then leave your work aside for a while, even for one or two days if you can afford that amount of time. Come back in a more focused way and look for ways to improve your writing. Make as many changes as you see fit. Add more information or examples where applicable and remove any irrelevant details.
The importance of proofreading! So you think you are ready to submit your essay? However, hold on! Read it one last time, checking for any minute errors that may be lurking. Use your computer’s spellchecker, but do not rely on this entirely because no technology is 100% accurate. It may be that you have read your essay so often you cannot spot the mistakes. So, try reading it aloud or ask another person to read it. Or read your essay backwards, starting with the last sentence and going right the way back to the first. This is a technique that makes errors easier to spot.
What you should expect from your essay. An essay is an important part of an application, but it is not the only component. An admissions panel also takes other factors into account. An exceptional essay seldom compensates for poor academic performance. Similarly, a middle-of-the-road essay does not necessarily mean rejection. One of our last college essay tips is this: just write the best essay you can!