13 Proven Strategies for Writing an Awesome College Application Essay

For many high school students the college essay can be an overwhelming task. A task often responsible for many late nights tears shedding  and consuming gallons of Red Bull.

But the dreaded college application essay doesn’t have to be so– dreaded. If you see the essay as a challenge instead of a chore it can be a highly meaningful and (dare I say…) fun experience.  So to ease to some fear about the college application essay here are 13 Proven Strategies for Writing an Awesome College Essay..

1.Most college application essay questions can be broken down into the following equation…

Describe a conflict  + what did this conflict make me realize + what lesson did this conflict teach me and how am I different?

2.The college essay is not an essay… it’s a story and you’re a storyteller.

3.Ordinary conflicts + extraordinary reflection= a great college essay

4.Be specific with your details… show don’t tell. Use proper nouns. Give the reader something to see.

entertained
Courtesy of quickmeme.com

5.Win the crowd. The use of sensory imagery will make you a more likeable storyteller.

6.Your essay should begin like an action movie…attractive, interesting, and ripe with conflict.

7.Your essay should have three parts…

  1. Showing and detailing the conflict.
  2. Reflecting on how the conflict impacted/ influenced/ changed you.
  3. Return to the stated conflict by acknowledging that enduring such a conflict has provided you a new and mature perspective.

8.Pay attention to the “voice” of your essay. Does this essay sound like you?  Is your voice mature and interesting?  Would you want to listen to your voice?

9.Reflecting on your conflict is key to showing the maturity and insight colleges are looking for.  To reflect you must ask yourself questions. How did the conflict change/shape/inspire me? How has my perspective change because of this conflict?

10.Relax and enjoy the process. College essays don’t have to be ultra serious. In fact, humorous, lighthearted essays are easier to write and often easier to read. Write an essay that is fun to write and easy to read.

11.Keep the focus on you however limit your use of personal pronouns. Self-absorption is annoying.

12.Use a line or two of dialogue to break up the essay.

13. Be vulnerable. Readers really like vulnerability.

 

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