How to Prepare for Your Application Essay

Application essays are, honestly, nothing like any essay you've ever written before. Odds are, this is your first time attempting a paper that's sole purpose is to convince an entire institution - your chosen school - of your personal merits, talents and qualities. It's not easy to undergo such a task. In fact, many students find it nearly impossible. They don't know how to plan for such an assignment, and end up rushing through a mediocre essay at the last minute. Students have little concept of what to do to prepare for their application essay, and this can make it impossible to actually write one. If you're looking at an application essay further down the line, don't freak out: just follow these simple steps towards preparing yourself for writing the essay:

  • Get lots of rest and brainstorming time. The best essays always begin with the best ideas, and ideas don't come to a brain stressed and exhausted from a hard day's work. Before you even think about beginning your essay, take time off to relax. Put your mind at ease so that natural creativity and innovation can start to fill it. Once you're in an open, relaxed mindset, start brainstorming your ideas. Don't put any pressure on how many ideas you need, or how fast you need them. Let them flow naturally through random genesis, group discussion or other brainstorming methods.
  • Get to know the college. An application essay is your opportunity to show the college that you're the perfect prospective student - and the best way to do that is to fit the college's needs. Research the college's honorary programs, notable fields, sports achievements and other impressive features. You can acknowledge these achievements later and mention how you'll work to uphold, and even improve, the college's status in on or more areas. Plus, knowing about the college beforehand will help you decide if you even want to go there at all!
  • Put together a list of stories, quotes or other hooks important to you. Is there a motto you live your life by? A notable event that happened to you as a young child? Think about what life aspects have shaped you as a person. You want to understand who you are, what's important to you and what excellent features you possess well before you start writing. What can you build your essay around? A story from your life? A family saying? A quote from your favorite author? Make a list of possible hooks before you attempt the essay itself.