7 Tips to Write Your Best College Application Essay

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Your personal essay is a huge part of your college application. It’s your chance to go beyond the stats, the GPA, the flat info on extracurriculars–and to give yourself skin, a personality and a presence.

The essay is your chance to manifest yourself as a real, live, interesting human being before the admissions committee.

In an interview with NPR, the admissions committee at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, says when it comes to the college application, the biggest red flag is a sloppy, half-baked essay.

And it’s true.

So don’t take it lightly.

We’ve assembled a collection of excellent tips to help guide you write your own personal essay. And, really, it’s never too early to start.

Here are 7 tips to write the best personal essay of your life…

1. Choose a Unique Topic

You might think your idea is original, but it really needs to be distinct to set yourself apart. Remember, there are thousands of students who probably had similar circumstances (death in the family, unique trip overseas, etc.) and you need to find something that’s both personally revealing and unique. Oh, and avoid cliches at all costs.

2. Make Them Remember You

This is your chance to stand out. There should be something within your essay that burns into the minds of the admissions committee. We suggest reading 30-40 personal essays in preparation for writing your own and finding your unique voice.

3. Get Advice from Multiple Readers, Not Just Your Parents

You definitely want to have multiple people you trust review your essay. Make sure to include someone who’s a professional writer, if possible.

4. Avoid These Common Mistakes

Using clichéd stories, embellishing your life events and failing to make it personal.

5. Be Specific, Concise and Original

Don’t use 20 words when 5 will do…

6. Be Yourself (and Keep It Polished…but not TOO Polished)

Make it conversational, but keep the emojis out of it. There’s an art to writing effortlessly, but still keeping the writing concise and vivid.

7. Take Time to Brainstorm Multiple Ideas

The truth is–you might actually spend more time thinking about the ideas for your essay than you do actually writing it. Don’t shortcut the idea phase of the essay.

Bonus: And Just For Fun…

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