Beginning to write an application essay might seem like a tough process, but with some planning and attention to detail, it can be easier than you think. First, read the prompts, instructions and notes about the essay. Even read it aloud to hear the words and get a feel for how the prompt is phrased. Then make some notes about the topic in no particular order or phrased in full sentences. Just get some information down and capture your first thoughts about the topic. Think about how the topic relates to you. Does it make you think of a funny moment, a story or a memory that could be poignant?
Once the notes have been made, pick out the pieces for the body of the essay next. In this step begin to think about where those pieces fit into the "story" that you will be telling in the essay.
Put together the ideas that will be the beginning, middle and end of the essay. This gives the shape and lets you consider the details that support each part. Now, write a draft of the essay. This will be the raw writing that will let your voice be heard in the writing. Be unique and bold and above all be you. If it feels as though you are trying too hard to write in a certain style, then the essay will seem forced and it probably won't flow the way they would in your own style and voice.
College admission counselors want to know your thoughts about the prompts, so give yourself permission to shine. Remember, you want to stand out, but for excellent writing, a strong voice and a fresh perspective on the topic. When finished the draft, put it away for a day or so and then revisit it. This will let you read it through with fresh eyes making sure it is cohesive. Finally, make your edits. If there is time before it needs to be sent, have a parent, teacher or someone else read the essay for content and feedback. This can give you more information about how the piece sounds and their emotional reaction to it can be a good barometer for how an admission counselor may react. Where do you start with an application essay? Start with your good ideas, be organized and give yourself a good amount of time to craft a winning essay.