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8 Tips for Writing Good College Essays

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8 Proven Tips for Writing Good College Essays.

Your essay reveals something vital about your personality that your grades and test results cannot. It can help admissions officers get to know you better and highlight your writing skills. Therefore, we understand the need for you to know the tips for writing good college essays, not just a college essay but the most convincing.

Keep reading to know the qualities that college admissions officers look for in a personal essay.

tips for writing good college essays

Quite a few universities (including some with highly competitive admissions) are relaxing application requirements in response to the challenges of socially remote learning. College admissions officers are aware that many upcoming seniors in high school finished the year with pass/fail grades and were unable to take the ACT or SAT more than once. Some students haven’t even taken these exams yet.

Without these quantitative measures, admissions officers will need to focus even more on other aspects of a student’s application, even though many colleges and universities claim they already take a holistic approach to admissions (meaning they look at the entire applicant, not just their grades and standardized test scores). These additional elements include activity logs, resumes, letters of recommendation, and of course, the college essay.

Purpose of Writing College Essays

If students don’t know the answer, it will be challenging for them to write interesting essays. Note that college essay is different from scholarship essay. After all, writing cannot be effective if the audience’s needs are not understood. The following are what college essays are used for;

1. Universities seek students who will graduate and perform well in their programs. They are looking for pupils who will excel in the classroom. Academic achievement is important to colleges for both financial and philanthropic reasons.

2. Universities seek out applicants who will enrich the campus community. They want a community of students who will help one another and share knowledge.

3. Universities seek out students who will contribute positively to whatever they decide to do in the future. Because their alumni are successful, they accomplish their mission.

4. Colleges prefer students who they can set on a path to success or who they can assist in achieving their goals. Students who are a good fit for both the college and the student are more likely to be admitted by colleges. Colleges appreciate it when they believe they are in a special position to support a student on their path.

tips for writing good college essays

The personal statement, also known as the college essay, is by far the best way for a student to show personality, drive, and passion of all the sections on a college application. Students have the chance to evaluate their academic progress to date and demonstrate to colleges and universities that they are up to the challenges of higher education by writing a strong personal statement.

8 Tips On Writing Good College Essay

Students planning to apply to colleges or for specific scholarships would be wise to brush up on their essay-writing skills since the college essay may be even more significant this year. Here are the tips for writing good college essays in order to write an effective and distinctive personal statement.

tips for writing good college essays

1. Carefully read the prompt

The first among the tips for writing good college essays, whether for a scholarship or a college application, is to carefully read the essay prompt and take note of what it is asking of you.

Try to think like the admissions committee. Based on the prompt, what do you think they want to know about you?

You will come across a list of seven first-year Common App essay prompts, for example, if you are writing your personal statement for the Common Application. These questions invite students to consider experiences that challenged them or altered their viewpoints, challenges they have faced, concepts that most interest them, and/or the significance of their background.

Even though each prompt is different, colleges want students to reflect deeply on their beliefs, life experiences, and causes that are important to them. This will show what kind of student they will be in a higher education environment as well as what kind of member of the college community they will be.

If necessary, break the prompt up as you read it. Make sure your essay fully responds to each part of the prompt by writing out each part of the prompt.

For example, Prompt 3 of the Common App first-year prompts reads: “Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?”

This prompt has three parts or directives:

  •  Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea;
  • What prompted your thinking
  • What was the outcome. By splitting the prompt up into segments, you will guarantee that you answer each one within your essay.

2. Brainstorm in Detail

Second among the tips for writing good college essays is brainstorming. After recognizing the prompt’s components, you can begin to come up with possible responses. Consider keeping a journal or outlining a list of concepts for each section of the prompt.

Though you may have several essay topic ideas, the one that challenges or thrill you the most will usually make the best reading. Additionally, you will have the most material to work with when you begin writing the first draft of your essay if you choose the tale or example that invokes the most specifics.

Write down all the concepts that come to mind as you brainstorm. Then, when you actually begin writing the essay, you’ll be able to decide which information are most crucial. You’ll discover that starting out with too much resources is preferable to starting out with too little.

3. Share a Story

Longer college essay questions typically allow for some narration, even though certain shorter supplemental essay questions may require a more direct response, such as ones that inquire why you’ve chosen to apply to a particular college or university.

Always included among the tips for writing good college essays, start your essay with a first-person narrative that transports readers to that specific time and place to grab their attention right away. Even for a few phrases, narrative storytelling allows you to show off your personality and inventiveness.

However, you should make sure that the tale you tell is the most significant part of your essay, on which you will subsequently remark.

For instance, you might start your essay in the middle of a crucial section of your speech if you wanted to discuss how you first realized your ability as a public speaker and how that gave you the courage to launch a non-profit.

“As I stood on the stage, looking out at the crowd, I understood my words had force,” can be how this phrase sounds. Of course, this is only an illustration, but this kind of short story can help you get started on the rest of your essay.

4. Emphasize introspection

Even if you begin with a story, the main points of your reflection should usually be how you felt about the experience and what you learned as a result. While each prompt poses a different set of questions, they all leave plenty of room for reflection on your personal and academic development.

Therefore, if a particular story or moment in your life is the subject of one-third of your essay, you can anticipate spending the remaining two-thirds of the essay reflecting on that moment and what it meant to you and your personal growth.

5. Be Who You Are

No matter what topic you choose to write about in your essay, stay true to who you are.

Many students think that they are supposed to talk about epic experiences like an international volunteer stint or the moment they won an impressive award. While those experiences are meaningful if you’ve had them, sometimes the strongest essays are about a moment that might seem mundane from the outside but had a major impact on a particular student.

Your ability to share your personality with readers, reflect on your life experiences, and communicate effectively are most important in your college essay.

6. Write Multiple Drafts

Appearing on the number 6 of the tips for writing good college essays is to revise, revise and revise again. Though you might feel tempted to write one draft that you love and use it as your admissions essay, almost every draft has the potential to become even better with some focused revision.

After you’ve written a first draft, take a few days away from it. After then, you can read it again with a new perspective. Say it out loud. There may be places where the information may be more precise or clear.

7. Ask for Advice

You should always seek advice from professors, mentors, and other people you trust who are familiar with the format of the college essay because revising is far more difficult to do on your own.

You might benefit from the editing assistance of an adult friend or family member as well as your college advisor and English teacher. Or, you might look for help from experts.

8. Pay Attention to Length.

And lastly among the tips for writing good college essays, admissions officers appreciate conciseness. Always pay attention to the word count or recommended essay length.


Considering the tips for writing good college essays will place your essay among others and convince the panels.

After checking the tips for writing good college essays, you can also check;

FAQ on College Essays

What is the Difference Between College Essay and Scholarship Essay

The majority of college essays are letters you write for admissions applications, and they are typically evaluated on how well you portray your personality, show how you will fit in at the institution and on campus, and talk about what you can and will give to them. Committees looking for students who can represent the organization awarding the money themselves employ scholarship essays in the interim. These groups frequently differentiate themselves by particular aspects like demographics, particular talents, and industries.

What is the Word Limit for a College Essay

A college essay typically takes between 450-600 words but you are to follow the prompts provided by the interviewers.

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