Seven Detailed Steps To Write An Invaluable College Application Essay

how to write a college application essay

As per college essay writing services, the college application is the only thing you have control over while seeking admission into your dream college. By the time you fill out college application forms after high school, you will have your grades, test scores, and academic report ready. So you can’t really change these factors even if you want to. But you can still set yourself apart from other applicants by writing a unique, impressive college application essay. 

As per a 2019 National Association of College Admission Counseling Survey, college application essays are the fifth most important factor in the admission process. Here are the seven simple yet effective steps to write an impressive college application essay. 

How To Write A College Application Essay?

The college application essay is where you get to speak in your own voice and personalize the application. Your admission authorities want to know the real you. It lets your admission officers evaluate your writing and communication skills. 

how to start a college essay
Image source:

1. Figure out what you want to convey

First, decide what to communicate and then choose your topic. Most college applications let you choose a topic of your own. 

Here are a few things admission officers are always willing to read about:

  • Your fears and how you deal with them
  • Something that is uniquely interesting about you 
  • A valuable lesson you learned 
  • Your values and how they have changed 
  • Something you hope or are willing to learn in college 
  • A self-discovery story 
  • Your hopes and dreams 

Convey something that is not mentioned in other parts of your application. Choose your slant based on what appeals to you the most. The slant should also bring out the best side of your personality. 

2. Choose a topic

how to write a college essay
Image source:

Now that you know what to convey to the admission authorities, it’s time to choose a topic so that your readers know what to expect from the essay. Avoid a general topic such as a book that everyone reads or discussing your trip to the mountains. Let’s say you want to share an interesting experience. In that case, make sure the experience reveals something valuable or appealing about you. 

3. Start with a hook

In case you want to know how to format a college essay, it is just like any other type of essay. The college application essay also starts with an interesting introduction. Here are some examples of how to start a college essay:

A contradictory or unrealistic statement

I turned the doorknob as carefully as I would confront a tiger if it makes the slightest noise.

1. An unexpected statement 

I cried out in agony, “Where art thou, Wonder Woman?”

2. A thought-provoking question

Why don’t people accept that generation-shaming exists and isn’t really a boon? 

Whether you choose to start with a scene or a setting, make sure it is intriguing. Keep it short. Embrace different creative approaches while writing this section. 

4. Give detailed explanations and examples

Most of your college essay prompts may just ask about an opinion or an activity. But, remember, your admission authorities want to know more even if they don’t mention it in the prompt. 

For example, let’s assume you are writing about your internship at an autistic community. 

Bad: I taught a few autistic kids last summer, and I helped them to swim. 

Good: I taught autistic kids last summer. It was during this time that I learned to weigh my success based on how hard I work and not how much I achieved. 

Here’s another example for you:

Bad: I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t have my mother by my side. 

Good: My mother is the one who always encouraged me to learn about cultures, new languages and even eat all kinds of foods. It’s because of her advice that I am confident to study in a country where I don’t speak the language. 

5. Conclude the essay on a positive note

The following tips can help you write a successful conclusion:

  • Make it memorable– Summarise what you have already said and complete your story. 
  • Think ahead– Conclude the essay by looking forward to the future. 
  • Do not make jokes– It is always better to avoid humor since you never know when it falls flat. 

6. Replace vivid images with generalities

Vivid imagery can help you appeal to the senses of your readers. It is like painting a picture in their mind through your words. 

Here’s an example:

Bad: The cabin seemed comfortable after we returned from our trip. 

Good: We slept on the rocky, barren ground for two weeks straight. After that, the simple cabin felt like a palace. 

7. Finish it off

You are done writing the essay. Now what? Do not just submit the essay right after you have completed writing it. Take your time to proofread EVERY word. 

Here are the elements you should proofread:

1. Unclear pronouns

Incorrect: When I got into the internship program, it was encouraging. 

Correct: Getting the internship program was encouraging. 

2. Singular/plural pronoun agreement

Incorrect: If someone wants to get into college, they need a good GPA. 

Correct: Anybody willing to get into college needs to have a good GPA. 

3. Passive voice 

Incorrect: Every time, I make sure the house will be cleaned by me every Sunday. 

Correct: I clean the house every Sunday. 

You can always have someone experienced proofread your paper for additional grammar, clarity and content. Nothing annoys the admission officers more than trivial errors in the essay, as mentioned above. 

Wrapping Up, 

This is all about how to write a personal essay for college. This essay, if done right, can be the deciding factor on whether or not your admission officers will approve your application. So, stay calm. Focus on yourself, your history, attitudes, aspirations, and passions. Convey the same in the essay. Good Luck. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How to write a college application essay step by step?Here are the steps for writing a college application essay:

  • Pick a prompt that resonates with you. 
  • Instead of sharing your whole life story, focus on specific moments or experiences. 
  • Use vivid imagery to appeal to your readers’ senses through your words. 
  • After you are done writing the essay, proofread and edit the entire document. 

Q2. How do you write a college essay outline?

Here are the basic steps to follow to write a college essay outline:

  • Brainstorm what interests you and choose a topic accordingly– Write down everything that means to you the most and pick a topic from any one of them. 
  • Figure out the supporting details– Now, you need to see if you have enough information to support this topic. 
  • Create a mind map– The basic structure of the essay includes an introduction, body and conclusion. So, arrange your details accordingly. 

Q3. What should I do in my college essay?

The college essay is your last chance to convince your admission officers that you are the perfect fit for the college. You need to focus on yourself throughout the essay. Highlight your strengths, aspirations, passions, etc., via your experiences and stories in the essay. Write down details that make you a unique individual. 

Q4. Which is the first step in writing a college essay?

The final step in writing a college essay is proofreading. No matter how carefully you write the paper, there will be certain errors in the essay. So, proofread and edit your document again and again before the final submission. From grammar, sentence structures to the use of voices, check everything in your essay. 

Author Bio:

AnneP Gill is an assistant professor of English at a reputed university in the United Kingdom. She also provides assignment help to students at Miranda loves to spend time with her daughters whenever she is free.