6 Tips to Improve College Essays

Taylor Normann, Contributor

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  1. First Draft Brain Dump! 

There isn’t really any point in improving something if there isn’t anything to improve! On your first draft just write whatever comes to mind, get information on paper. Later on you can edit, fix grammar mistakes, move things around, etc but now isn’t the time. At this moment focus on writing something that you can improve later. A blank paper is too daunting brain dump to fill it up.

  • This tip is from bigfuture.collegeboard.org

2. Try Opening With a Story! 

A little anecdote will grab attention and engage readers of the essay. Admission officers read hundreds of essays all vying for attention so this might help in getting noticed and remembered! Be honest when telling your stories, the story needs to be telling of your character and fully display the best of your personality.

  • This tip is from http://college.usatoday.com

3. Think ‘What Else Do They Need To Know?’

Colleges don’t have the time to do Sherlock Holmes level research on each applicant. They often use personal essays to help them connect the dots on the person you really are! Pretend as if the Admission officer is right next to you and asked ‘What else do I need to know?’.

  •   This tip is from http://college.usatoday.com

4. The Paper’s Voice Needs To Be Yours!

It’s tempting to use a thesaurus and make your essay sound like knock off Shakespeare but the thing is its, your essay.  Writing an essay with complicated words and phrases is instinct to try and sell yourself better however this makes the paper sound unnatural. Write in your regular voice. Your friends and family should be able to read over 1,000 college admission essays and be able to pick out the one written by you!

  • This tip is from college.harvard.edu

5. Show It To Other People!

After staring at your essay for so long, you’ll be deadened to the mistakes and the awkwardness of phrases. Show it to a family member or a friend whom hasn’t read it yet and let them point out the mistakes to you. They’ll tell you what you need to fix, what’s wrong and even give some helpful tips or suggestions.

  • This tip is from college.harvard.edu


6. Ask Yourself ‘Am I Proud Of This?’

If you’re not proud of your essay that is usually a tell-tale sign that it needs to be rewritten or even scrapped to start from scratch. Maybe select a different topic to write about or maybe the problem is it’s like an over-frosted cupcake and needs to have some of that extra scrapped off. Either way don’t wallow in self-pity, just keep working at it until you succeed!

  • This tip is from college.harvard.edu