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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

College admission essays: Helpful hints for writing a winner!

The majority of colleges and universities require students to submit an admissions essay along with their college application. Writing a college application essay can be pretty stressful, and it should be time-consuming. After all, you don’t want to give the admissions counselors at your dream school a bad impression based on a poorly written essay that you threw together the night before the due date. Proper planning is essential because you will need to give yourself plenty of time for adjustments, rewrites, and proofreading.

It’s no secret that your high school grades and standardized test scores will play a large role in admissions decisions, but colleges also like to get an idea of what their applicants are really like as a person. Essays are a good way for admissions committees to gain some insight about your interests and values. Essays also provide an easy way for the schools to see a first-hand example of your writing skills.

Writing Your College Admissions Essay: Five Easy Mistakes to Avoid
1. Don’t write an essay about the qualities of the college. You may think that writing about your dream career and how it will all fall into place when you go to school at XYZ University is a great way to woo the admissions counselors, but believe me: they already realize that you want to go to their school … you’re applying there, remember?
2. Don’t turn your essay into a resume. Your application already contains all the basic information about your grades and your extracurricular activities; there’s no need to repeat everything. While it’s fine to write about your experience of becoming a better athlete by joining the track team or talking about the way your part-time job helped you learn time management skills, it’s not a good idea to write one big life story in hopes of impressing the person who reads your essay.
3. Follow the essay guidelines that were specified on your application. You don’t want it to be too short or too long. Most schools allow typed essays, so they will probably have specifications for font size and spacing; others will request hand-written essays, so be sure to submit your essay in the format that is required.
4. Remember to proofread your essay. Ask others to proofread it, too – your English teacher is a great choice for this job, if they’re willing to help you out. An essay that is full of typos and grammatical errors will look sloppy and rushed.
5. It’s fine to use the same essay with minor revisions for more than one college application, so be sure to save your essay. Keep it on the hard drive of your computer, but burn it to CD or place it on an external hard as well. You never know when your computer may crash and cause you to lose everything. You can even email it to yourself as an attachment.


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