Ten Tips for Creating a unique Application Essay

Every applicant wants their personal admissions essay to stand out, and for good reason. It's hard not imagine admissions committees becoming bored as they read essay after essay. But how can you be sure your essay will be unique? In the end, it's really up to you to have your own unique perspective - but these ten tips can certainly help!

  1. Revise until your grammar and spelling are flawless.

    Many students put off their essays until the last minute, and a grammatically perfect essay with no misspellings or typos is extremely rare. It will be noticed!

  2. Have a theme.
  3. The vast majority of students write so many admissions essays that they go on autopilot, mindlessly addressing the questions asked without presenting a truly cohesive essay. To avoid that trap, come up with a theme or motif. It can revolve around a central anecdote, or an aspect of your growth as a person or student.

  4. Brevity is the soul of wit.
  5. Unlike many of your regular instructors, admissions counselors are far stricter about maximum word limits than minimum, because of the sheer bulk of reading they must do. There's no room for fluff in these essays.

  6. Get personal.
  7. Don't ramble on about your good grades; your transcripts already show them off. Tell a personal story that demonstrates something about who you are as a person.

  8. Stay positive.
  9. Many students interpret getting personal as telling a sob story. That doesn't mean your story might not be sad in some way, but you're not looking for pity: you want the committee to admire you. Start positive, stay positive, and end on a positive note!

  10. Talk up your strengths.
  11. False modesty is the bane of admissions essays. It's obvious and doesn't make you look good. Simply be honest about your strengths.

  12. Have a plan for the future.
  13. No committee really expects you to know exactly where you're going in life with 100% certainty, but they want to see that you have ambitions you're working toward.

  14. Show you've researched their program.
  15. Sure, you're applying to more than one school, but to stand out from the crowd you need to include some specifics about why you want to attend this particular program. Don't just give a generic reason like location.

  16. Include an unusual, inspiring quote.
  17. Don't fall back on something trite or frequently used. Find a really interesting quote that expresses your ambitions and describe why.

  18. Be yourself.
  19. Students tend to put on a fake persona when writing these essays - sincerity is the most refreshing way to be unique.