How to Write a Killer College Application Essay

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I know a lot of students struggle when writing their college application essay.

Here is some advice from actual college admissions officers on what they look for in a quality college essay:

Be Original
The essays we dislike the most are those that seemingly could have been written by 2,000 or 3,000 other applicants. Were looking for distinctiveness. Think of us hoping that the application will at least figuratively come alive in front of us, so when were struggling to read applications at 10:30 p.m. on any given night, seven nights a week during the reading perio, were looking for personality. Were looking to grasp hold of an individual.

Tell An Interesting Story
A students writing style can sometimes tell us as much about the student as the actual story itself. I like reading something interesting that happened to students. The essays that I dread reading are, of course, the ones that start out about My trip to Europe or something like that. If they do have a story to tell and it is something about their trip to Europe, Id rather hear something about a specific incident that happened rather than a travelogue and summation that says, Now I have a greater understanding of culture.

Be Creative
I dont think everybody has to have some major event that they have to write about in their lives. I think the student has to use some creative juices to come up with an interesting way of talking about the family dog or a relationship with a sick aunt. Those are the kinds we like to read, those that arent the typical 300 words Pikes Peak out-the-rear-window-of -a -car-essay.

Be Concise and Clear
I like to see things that are written concisely and clearly. I dread the long, long, long essay that brings in every unimportant detail about what theyre trying to get across. I really like it when people can express themselves in a brief manner and also be effective at the same time.

Write Straight from the Heart
We want essays that come straight from the heart. Thats the point of the essay. Why do you want me? Why do you want me as a student on your campus? What are you going to contribute? I dont mean by being president of the senior class or being an All-American. There are lots of ways that students can contribute. They need to have a sense of themselves in order to present that in written form.

Show Your Personality
The essay should not be simply a regurgitation of information thats already in a students resume. I like to see students walk out on thin ice and use humor if its natural for them. They shouldnt put on some kind of corporate vocabulary simply to try to impress the committee. Were more interested in personal style and the substance of the writing than how they can impress us with their vocabulary and their sentence structure.

Dont Try to Be Funny if Youre Not
Many people bomb when they try to be humorous because peoples senses of humor dont always match. Someone may think something is funny, and it may be derogatory to someone else.

Please comment with some personal advice on writing college application essays