Fighting Pitfalls: How to Write Admission Essays for College

When faced with a college board of admissions we are often tempted to just spew off a list of credentials, awards, and honors. Although these are valuable pieces of information about you, as a candidate for college admission, the admission essay is not the place to provide a laundry list of achievements. Your college essay is your chance to share something about yourself that is not on your transcript or list of extracurricular activities. Some ways to avoid these pitfalls and create an original admission essay include: pinpoint what makes you desirable and utilize narrative style.

Pinpoint What Makes You Desirable

Think hard about what sets you apart from other applicants. Everyone has a unique and admirable quality they can share with a board of admissions. As mentioned, this is not the place to only share achievements and extracurricular activities. Although these aspects of your transcript are valuable, you will want to find a personal way to present yourself. For instance, if you feel being football captain is what sets you apart from the mass of applicants, then perhaps share a story about how summer camps, practices, two-a-days and passion have made you who you are today, the confident leader destined for acceptance to any university.

Utilize Narrative Style

Sharing a story is a great way to capture the board of admissions, setting yourself up for acceptance. Sharing a personal story will provide historical support for the claim you are making. For instance, an essay focusing on the applicant's strong moral compass could be very intriguing to read if it included an account when the applicant's morality was tested. The applicant will not only tell the board of admissions why they are a good fit for their school, but also show them through a narrative style. Keep in mind this is still a formal essay. This is not a place for slang or jargon, and you will still want to follow MLA formatting despite the more personal content.

Once you have decided what makes you a desirable applicant and tackled your essay, including some narrative style, you will be left with your first rough draft. It will be important for you to redraft this essay, keeping the best of your writing and eliminating unnecessary fluff. Having peers, teachers and guidance read over this essay is also very helpful. Getting multiple opinions will help you create an essay appealing to as many people as possible.


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