The College Admission Essay

Find the college admission essay tip you need

“In three hundred words or less, fully describe your best feature or characteristic, and how it benefits your life, then describe a personal quality you’d like to change and why.” “In two typewritten pages, explain why you’ve chosen to apply to ____ College.”

One of the parts of the application process that many students dread is the college admission essay. What are they looking for? Why do they want me to write this? What do I write about?

The first tip on writing your college admission essay: relax! CollegeView provides a great deal of free advice and information about the entire application and admissions process, including the dreaded college admission essay.

How to Approach the College Admission Essay

As previously mentioned, the first college admission essay tip we can give you is to relax. Sit back, and take some time to think about the question. Brainstorm the essay topic, and write down everything that comes into your mind. Then take a look at what you’ve written, and begin connecting ideas to form a rough outline.

Another tip on writing your college admission essay: trust yourself, and trust that the purpose of the essay is to find out about you. Keep in mind that the admissions counselor is going to read hundreds, maybe thousands of essays. Don’t try to write what you think he or she wants to hear, or what you think the school’s perception of a perfect student is. Let your writing introduce you as an individual. This is the chance to introduce yourself and your ideas.

Your essay will likely be one of several essays accompanying a number of applications, and your individuality is what will make your college admission essay stand out from those of other candidates. Be honest about your feelings and opinions, and remember to use distinctive detail to help you differentiate your essay from those of others.

For example, if you’re describing your idea of the perfect career, “something in the field of science” is not going to capture the reader’s attention the way “I’d like to be a paleontologist, specifically studying the possibility of advanced parenting skills in struthiomimus” will. “I’d like to be a doctor,” is OK, but “I want to become an oncologist so I can join in the fight against leukemia, a battle my cousin Jimmy has fought every day of his life” is much better, and lets the reader know something not only about your what your career goal is, but why it’s your goal.

The Common Application’s College Admission Essay

A good example to consider when discussing the college admission essay is one of the questions posed by the Common Application (a general college application accepted by a number of colleges and universities in lieu of their individual application). When faced with the Common Application’s question– “Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you”– don’t be overwhelmed by the potential scope of the question.

A great college admission essay tip is to stay focused. Don’t try to tackle the entire question: you don’t have to. Consider the question itself: you only have to write about one issue. It’s extremely unlikely that there is no local, national, or international issue that doesn’t concern you in some way, but even if that were the case, undoubtedly there is some issue of personal concern affecting your life. If nothing else, your college admission essay itself is in all likelihood causing you some concern. Write about it.

Sally Wood’s article The Essay: Your Key to Getting in and Getting More, provides a comprehensive list describing how to write a college admission essay. Among other great bits of advice is this important college admission essay tip: if you’re writing a personal essay, don’t simply repeat the information you’ve already included in other parts of your application. The admissions counselor already knows about your academic achievements from your application; he or she doesn’t need to have them listed again in your college application essay.

Another tip for writing the college admission essay that is often overlooked is to read the question very carefully, and make sure you understand what’s being asked before you begin your answer. You certainly don’t want to write your essay, then find that you’ve gone off on a tangent and not answered the question fully or at all.

A Final College Admission Essay Tip

A final, extremely important, and also often overlooked college admission essay tip: proofread your essay. Never rely on your word processing program’s spell check feature. A large number of words can be spelled correctly but improperly used. For example, the sentence “In addition too the emotional rewards of becoming a general practitioner, I believe they’re would be spiritual rewards two.” would pass a spell check just fine.

Along with proofreading your college admission essay, have other people read it and give their opinion and advice. Make sure you choose people who you can trust to give an honest, critical opinion. Sparing your feelings isn’t going to help your application at all.

About CollegeView

Besides being a great place to get college admission essay information, CollegeView offers a wide variety of free information about the entire process involved in choosing your college or university: applications, financial aid, student life, declaring a major, and much more. In each topic you’ll find advice and articles written by former college students, administrators, faculty, admissions and financial aid professionals, and other experts.

MyCollegeView allows you to store information you accumulated during your research, such as the results of your college search, and the search criteria you’ve entered while using our college and university search tool. We’ve supplied all the information and tools you’ll need to get started on the journey into the next phase of your life. It is up to you to take the next step.

College-Bound Student Information

CollegeView offers an extensive amount of valuable information and resources for the college-bound student. Please follow these links to discover how our articles can help you in your choice for an educational pathway:


This article was written by Jeff McGuire

1 Comment

  1. Karen

    Absolutely, as the writer has said; the student should begin by asking himself as to why he is being made to write that essay in the first place. It is natural for students to be blank and prejudiced even before they start writing their admission essay, but once they ask themselves “why” or “what is the purpose” of their admission essay, that’s right when their real learning starts because to be able to learn anything, one should be able to think first.

    Once they have some kind of clarity on why they are being made to write an essay, they would have several thoughts to pen down that would aptly define their interests and how they could be a good match for the college they are applying to.

    Our website, helps students clear their minds so that they can focus only on why they are so interested in the subject because if they can focus and give just about 3 points as to why they like the subject they are applying for, it will be enough to get them through.

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