Essay Help: 5 Tips for Writing Effective College Application Essays

Given the huge number of students that apply for admission overseas, your application essay can make all the difference between successfully securing admission and getting rejected. Most of the admission authorities focus on what you can offer to other students and how you can add value to their college. You can improve your chances of acceptance by highlighting these areas and showing how you are different from others.

However, you need to be precise, and keep yourself within the stipulated length, which is usually about 500 words. These essay help tips will guide you in drafting a powerful admission essay that’ll make you stand out from the crowd.

1. Choose an Appropriate Topic

Choose a topic that will give you an opportunity to highlight your personality and achievements other than those mentioned in your admission application. Put on your creative hat and do some brainstorming. You can write about your favorite activity, some personal incident, or even about your pet. However, make sure you capture the readers’ attention and present your personality in a spontaneous manner. Avoid over-used topics like the great aspects of the college, what it takes to be an engineer, how you enjoyed a recent camping trip, etc. unless you are confident of making it extra compelling.

2. Understand and Follow the Essay Prompt

Go through the essay prompt thoroughly. If required, take a second look and understand each and every aspect of it. Analyze why a certain question is asked in the prompt; what do the admissions officers want to know? This will give you an idea on what aspect of your personality you should focus on while answering the prompt questions. Be sure to answer all the questions asked in the prompt, and take this opportunity to give a glimpse of your character, background, and ability to the admissions committee.

3. Keep It Simple and Succinct

Organize your writing into small paragraphs. Avoid using complicated words and lengthy sentences. Maintain a good flow of thoughts. Know your vocabulary; if you are unsure of any word or phrase, check out its usage in an online dictionary. Write it in first person (‘I’ and ‘we’), and always prefer active voice over passive. Organize and present your thoughts concisely in as few words as possible.

4. Stick to the Prescribed Word Count

Though you should not worry about the word limit while preparing the initial draft, it’s better to keep it in mind in order to avoid going unusually long. It’s a good idea to have the draft little longer than the prescribed limit since you will be cutting down some words during revisions. As you revise the draft, try coming closer to the maximum number of words allowed. Don’t let the final essay exceed the limits under any circumstances.

5. Seek Feedback from Qualified People

Before submitting your essay, have a knowledgeable person or two go through it. Make the final version free from all sorts of grammatical errors and typos. You can ask your parents or college teachers to proofread it and offer suggestions. However, avoid asking feedback from too many people since revising the essay according to a number of different opinions is more likely to mess it up.

Put yourself in the admission officer’s shoes and ask yourself what you would expect from an applicant’s essay. This will serve as a beacon for keeping your essay focused and well-balanced.

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