Writing a college essay. Simple thought, difficult task. Simple thought because you’re only writing about yourself, right? But, going about the writing of the college essay can be the difficult part.
A tip that I heard all too often when in the beginning phases of writing the college essay was, write something that is going to make you stand out. Then the question becomes, “What makes me stand out?”
Starting the college essay, or any essay in general, is probably the most difficult part because you’re staring at a blank page hoping the words will magically appear. It’s also because there is still the thought that this essay has to be perfect and it has to be the essay that needs stand out against the rest of the applicants.
However, instead of jumping to conclusions. Take it one step at a time so it’s less overwhelming. One of the first things to do is just look over the prompts that the Common App or the college you’re applying to will have, usually there are about seven prompts to choose from. Choose a prompt that you believe you can really show your best self; one that allows you to write as though you are actually speaking with the person reading your essay. Make it real, be authentic. But, still write with all the grammar and punctuation necessary.
Once you have chosen the prompt, don’t just dive right into writing because you might get stuck on what to write about next. Something that has always helped me when writing is using an outline format to map out what I want to write about. It helps get my thoughts on what I want to write on the page. The outline can just be bullet points on some of the key ideas you want to include. This way you won’t get stuck later on.
With the college essay, since there is a word limit, try not to jump around when writing. Try to focus on your chosen topic and elaborate on that topic. This is because your essay needn’t be a repetition of your resume which you will also include with your application. So, the people viewing your application can already see what else you have been involved in during your time in high school.
Finally, write more than you think you need at first because in the end, it’s easier to take out information than it is to add information. But, remember that the essay still has to remain in the designated word count. Once you have finished it, take a couple days and go back to it with fresh eyes to see if there are any mistakes or if you feel you want to change anything. At a certain point you might just say, “This is it, this is the one I want to send to my colleges,” and that’s when you press save for the last time and add it to your college application and wait for the results.