An Expert Guide to Writing a Great College Application Essay

An Expert Guide to Writing a Great College Application Essay

Writing an essay isn’t that tough, you go for an introduction with a thesis statement and then you write your body paragraph and support your statements with facts and figures and finally conclude your essay.

But when it comes to your admission it becomes a bit harder. As here your admission relies on the application essay partially if not completely.

1. What is a College Application Essay?

Every year colleges receive hundreds of thousands of applications from high school students. It is not easy for them to choose the best candidates, as many candidates with similar scores apply to these colleges.

So they include your personal statement in their admission process along with recommendation letters to discover what separates you from the other skilled applicants.

That is why colleges give you an opportunity to tell them more about yourself and prove it to them with the help of your essay that you are the kind of candidate they are looking for.

Application essay is now part of the admission process in almost all the colleges offering higher education across the globe.

1.1 Importance of a College Application Essay

Your college essay is more than grammar and sentence structure. Since your academic grades and test scores nothing about your personality, your interests, and your hidden talents. Here comes the college admission essay.

In college essay writing, you can talk about your extracurricular activities, your achievements, and recommendations that the committee is convinced that you are more than just an A student.

Keep it in mind that you are a unique person with a unique personality. Your personal interests, your choices, your achievements, and your approaches to tasks, problems, and conflicts are unique in some way.

But everyone wins baseball and soccer matches and how that one time they visited Egypt and how amazing Egypt was. The point is, you have to be expressive and open, you should be able to tell how that particular changed you and made you a better and more competent individual.

You can use this in your favor, and make an impression on the committee. This is your chance to prove your mettle.

1.2 What a College is Looking for in Your Essay?

As mentioned earlier, academics is not the only factor in getting admission into a college.

The admission committee is looking to know more about you while reading your essay. Here you can talk about how that one time you did something big and it changed your life. Talk about your conflict resolution skills, your achievements and things you are proud of.

Colleges look for candidates with exceptional skills and people who can bring diversity and add value to the community as they are high achievers.

1.3 Important Components

There are many things you must add in your application essay. As I mentioned earlier that the academics are not enough to tell if you are fit for the particular college.

The reason is every college offers different programs and they expect talented candidates. So that resources provided by the college are used in the best way possible.

Keeping in mind that, a common application must answer these two questions in one way or the other.

  • What sets you apart from other applicants?
  • Why did you choose this college?

If you answered these questions in a suitable way, your essay will be counted in the best as you told them what they wanted to hear.

2. How to Write a College Application Essay?

Writing an essay is tough, but when your admission is dependent on one essay, it becomes a lot tougher. But it is not impossible to tailor a beautiful essay. Here are the steps to follow to your custom essay to make sure of your admission to your dream college.

2.1 Choosing a Topic

If you are given a free hand to pick a topic of your choice, you are in control. You have a chance to pick the best and grab the committee's attention, and hence stand out of the crowd.

Now, a free hand can be dangerous too. Turning it into a friendly option is your job. By keeping all the important questions like, “Why us?”, “Why yo” etc, you can make a place for yourself.

2.2 Create a Draft

Give yourself time and brainstorm, let the ideas flow in. Gather as much information as you can and write your first draft.

As you do your test preparation, do the same for your supplemental essay by making a draft and refine it as many times as you can.

Refining your draft a number of times will help you craft a perfect essay for your admission.

2.3 Outline of Your Essay

The outline is your best companion in your writing. It helps you create a frame and you build your building around these pillars you framed in advance.

2.4 Accomplishments

Talking about your accomplishments is important, it is you providing proof of your can-do capability. And once you provide proof to someone, it's very easy to convince them.

2.5 The Beginning and Ending

Whether it is a speech, a story or an application. Beginning and Ending are always the key things people remember about your essay or whatever that you wrote.

This is your opportunity to stand aside from the crowd and make the evaluation easier for the committee.

3. Types of College Application Essay

Typically there are three types of essays. And those three types of college essays have different motives. Let's find out what they are.

3.1 The ‘Why Us' Question

You can say this is a particular kind of evaluation colleges conduct to see if you are the right candidate. Basically, college admission officers want to discover your reason for joining that particular college.

The committee wants to know how much effort have you put into this particular application. They will expect you to talk about them and make them feel that you know this college very well and you love a couple of things in this college that is the reason you want to join.

3.2 Answer the ‘You' Question

Here, the college is interested more in what the candidates are going to add to the college community. Most college s believe in diversity and welcome applicants from different parts of the world.

The quality of education and grading systems vary. That is why a “why you” type essay becomes a key factor here in your admission.

3.3 Creative Essay

The committee wants to see how creative you are and how creatively can you write and express yourself. According to Princeton Review, you should be very careful if you are humorous because your taste of humor could probably be different from a grown man working in a college.

4. College Application Essay Examples

It is essential to follow a proper format, as it is no casual writing. Be very careful in essay structure as it counts too. You might be getting admission to an ivy league or any top-notch college. You don't want to miss this.

A college essay is comparatively short, to the point and well written. Avoid extra details and long stories.

You can follow the universal essay structure including an introduction, body, and conclusion. An introduction would include intro as the name suggest. You will write the rest of the content in the body and then you will conclude the story by writing the crux of the essay.

Structure your essay very carefully and write a strong conclusion to leave a good impression.

A well-structured essay is easy to digest, and more importantly, will get your job done. Here is a format example you have a look for reference.

4.1 College Application Essay Format (PDF)

It is your chance to go to your dream college and you can't afford to lose, do you? Here are some example essays that worked and you can learn from.

4.2 College Application Essay Sample (PDF)

4.3 College Application Essay Example (PDF)

5. Do's and Don'ts of College Application Essay

In such a critical part of admission, you have to be very careful. There are certain things experts will suggest and other things they will want you to avoid. Here are your do's and don'ts of college application essay.

Do's

  • Since the committee wants to know about you, you have to use your own voice and tone of writing. Avoid any made-up sort of voice that the committee will probably catch in some part of the essay. Provided that, don't go too casual as if you are chatting with your friends.
  • Tell them something they don't know already.
  • Strictly avoid the style of your writing. Make sure you follow one style.
  • Don't forget to get your spelling & grammar checked once you are done with your essay.
  • Let someone else to proofread your essay, as we often don't see the mistakes we make.
  • It is best to seek help from a counselor for test prep or any good writer in your circle who can spare some time and edit your application keeping in mind your needs.

Don'ts

  • Avoid classroom answers, it's not an exam. They are not expecting the right answer, instead, they want you to be honest and be yourself.
  • Don't use informal words that you use in casual conversations with friends and family on coffee.
  • Don't write stories. Be real instead.
  • Don't wait until the day you have to submit your essay. Start today and write your essay again and again till the day you submit it.
  • Strictly avoid repeating your resume in your personal statement. The committee asked for a personal essay not resume. By this age, you should know what a resume is, and how it is different from personal statement.

6. Understanding the Prompt


One of the most important points of your essay should be prompt. You should take it seriously. You should know the topic or the question well, in order to craft your essay accordingly.

The college can ask you to follow a particular prompt like a question or they can ask you to provide a “why us” type essay.

If the college gives you a free hand to write on the topic of your own choice then I highly recommend writing one of these:

  • An unforgettable event in your life that changed your life and how you handled the situation.
  • An achievement you had as a result of hard work and dedication and you think it matters to you.
  • What is that catches your attention and you can't help it, that is most probably your dream or passion.

I know, it will scare you in the beginning but once you follow the steps, you will end up having a crafted essay in your hand.

If you aren't confident in your writing skills and really want to get into a reputable college, you can hire an essay writer to write your essay.

It is the question of your admission, a very important matter. You don't want to do this alone. But you should know what sort of help is suitable for you.

If you are looking for writing help, make sure it's only writing help not personalized help. Didn't get it right? Let me help you out with this.

For example, you hired a writer to write an essay or sought help from a professional writer. Now what you need to do is to be very honest and tell the writer about your achievements, why you picked this particular college and why the college should give you admission. The writers will take care of the rest.

Don't forget to provide the essential information to the writers as the essay should reflect your talents. Make sure you let your writer know what your essay should include.

Professional writers help you craft a custom essay reflecting your personality in less time.

After all, you want your application to stand out from the crowd.

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