Essays for College Applications Process

Start early on your college applications and application essays. This is a lengthy, involved process in which many colleges require multiple essays and supplemental forms. Begin by knowing that essays are the most time consuming part of the application process.

Below is a condensed list of recommended steps for writing outstanding application essays. The steps are listed in chronologic order.

1. Prepare to write application essays early in the college application process. Many colleges require multiple essays; writing quality essays will take longer time than you anticipate.

2. Brainstorm essay topics. Quickly write down ideas and thoughts without regard to any essay organization; get your ideas onto paper so you don’t forget anything. Writing and editing your essay will come later.

3. The best essay is one that reveals one or two aspects of your personality. When you write about an event or influential person, write about their importance to you. Don’t write about your accomplishments; those are presented on your application and student résumé.

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4. “Show” your essay, don’t just write a report. Make your essay come alive by using detailed descriptions, detailed step-by-step actions, or conversations with actual quotes.

5. Answer the, “Why are you writing this essay?” question. This is the most important part of the essay; tell readers why the essay subject is important to you and what you learned from it.

6. Try to write an essay the supports your student theme. This will enhance your overall application and will help admission officers understand your strengths.

7. Use a structured essay format.

8. Make sure adults don’t completely change your essay so it seems impossible you wrote it. Some admission officers analyze student SAT® / ACT® writing samples and will compare the quality of writing samples to the essay submitted with college applications. If it appears someone else wrote your essay, you probably will get rejected by the colleges you apply to.

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9. Online essay assistance is available, including personal statement guidance and essay do’s and don’ts.