Here's the thing: your college application essay needs to breathe life into your application. It should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school essays. Take a minute and think about the college or university admission officers who will be reading your essay. How will your essay convey your background and what makes you unique? If you had the essay to stand in front of an admission committee to share a significant story or important information what yourself, what would you college The college application college is your chance to share your personality, goals, influences, challenges, triumphs, what experiences, or lessons learned.
Not to mention why you're a good fit for the college or university—and why it's a good fit for you. These are the stories what the list of activities and college roles on your essay. Instead, pick one moment in time and focus on telling the story behind it.
Extensive editing and rewriting is vital to crafting an effective personal statement. Don't get too attached to any part of your draft, because you may need to change anything or everything about your essay later. Also keep in mind that, at this point in the process, the goal is just to get your ideas down. Wonky phrasings and misplaced commas can easily be fixed when you edit, so don't worry about them as you write. Instead, focus on including lots of specific details and emphasizing how your topic has affected you, since these aspects are vital to a compelling essay. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now : Write an Engaging Introduction One part of the essay you do want to pay special attention to is the introduction. Your intro is your essay's first impression: you only get one. It's much harder to regain your reader's attention once you've lost it, so you want to draw the reader in with an immediately engaging hook that sets up a compelling story. There are two possible approaches I would recommend. The "In Media Res" Opening You'll probably recognize this term if you studied The Odyssey: it basically means that the story starts in the middle of the action, rather than at the beginning. A good intro of this type makes the reader wonder both how you got to the point you're starting at and where you'll go from there. These openers provide a solid, intriguing beginning for narrative essays though they can certainly for thematic structures as well. But how do you craft one? Try to determine the most interesting point in your story and start there. If you're not sure where that is, try writing out the entire story and then crossing out each sentence in order until you get to one that immediately grabs your attention. Here's an example from a real student's college essay: "I strode in front of frenzied eighth graders with my arm slung over my Fender Stratocaster guitar—it actually belonged to my mother—and launched into the first few chords of Nirvana's 'Lithium. The author jumps right into the action: the performance. You can imagine how much less exciting it would be if the essay opened with an explanation of what the event was and why the author was performing. The Specific Generalization Sounds like an oxymoron, right? This type of intro sets up what the essay is going to talk about in a slightly unexpected way. These are a bit trickier than the "in media res" variety, but they can work really well for the right essay—generally one with a thematic structure. The key to this type of intro is detail. Contrary to what you may have learned in elementary school, sweeping statements don't make very strong hooks. If you want to start your essay with a more overall description of what you'll be discussing, you still need to make it specific and unique enough to stand out. Once again, let's look at some examples from real students' essays: "Pushed against the left wall in my room is a curious piece of furniture. This may or may not be a coincidence. The first intro works because it mixes specific descriptions "pushed against the left wall in my room" with more general commentary "a curious piece of furniture". The second draws the reader in by adopting a conversational and irreverent tone with asides like "if you ask me" and "This may or may not be a coincidence. Instead, focus on trying to include all of the details you can think of about your topic, which will make it easier to decide what you really need to include when you edit. However, if your first draft is more than twice the word limit and you don't have a clear idea of what needs to be cut out, you may need to reconsider your focus—your topic is likely too broad. You may also need to reconsider your topic or approach if you find yourself struggling to fill space, since this usually indicates a topic that lacks a specific focus. Eva's First Paragraph I dialed the phone number for the fourth time that week. I was hoping to ask you some questions about—" I heard the distinctive click of the person on the other end of the line hanging up, followed by dial tone. I was about ready to give up: I'd been trying to get the skinny on whether the Atlas Theater was actually closing to make way for a big AMC multiplex or if it was just a rumor for weeks, but no one would return my calls. Step 6: Edit Aggressively No one writes a perfect first draft. Does it reveal something about the applicant? No repeats. What you write in your application essay or personal statement should not contradict any other part of your application—nor should it repeat it. This isn't the place to list your awards or discuss your grades or test scores. Answer the question being asked. Don't reuse an answer to a similar question from another application. Have at least one other person edit your essay. A teacher or college counselor is your best resource. You have so much more to contribute to the campus social and learning environment than just your home culture. Take a few moments to consider what else you may contribute. Maybe you are excellent at study groups or other forms of collaborative work. Maybe you will join a student organization or athletic team. Maybe you will write for a student newsletter or blog. Whatever you feel you can contribute, add that to your list of essay goals. Now you need to focus your goals to only three or four ideas — the ones that will make you the most attractive to the college admissions board. No matter what the prompt asks, you want to ensure you include those three or four ideas in your college admissions essay. The concept is to present a few ideas very well, rather than list all your ideas poorly. A narrowly focused essay will be much more effective than a general, vague one. You should take the time to read and re-read the essay prompt, so you can answer it fully. However, you must demonstrate that you can read and follow directions. Think of that great pile of applications. The admissions officers are looking for a reason to disregard candidates. On the other hand, the prompt is designed to give you some freedom for creativity, which will allow you to work in those three or four key ideas that you have developed through tips 1 through 4. The rules for writing a good essay are no different. Create an outline that breaks down the essay into sections. All good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Shape your story so that it has an introduction, body, and conclusion. Following this natural progression will make your essay coherent and easy to read. How are you going to open your essay? With an anecdote? A question? Use of humor? Try to identify what the tone of your essay is going to be based on your ideas. Stick to your writing style and voice. Put the words in your own voice. Write the essay Once you are satisfied with your essay in outline format, begin writing! By now you know exactly what you will write about and how you want to tell the story. So hop on a computer and get to it. Try to just let yourself bang out a rough draft without going back to change anything. Then go back and revise, revise, revise. Before you know it, you will have told the story you outlined—and reached the necessary word count—and you will be happy you spent all that time preparing! How much help is too much help? Many institutions now ask applicants to sign a statement avowing that the essay submitted is their own work. What can you do to help your students within the guidelines of your job? Help your students overcome their nervousness and encourage them to start writing. Suggest that they seek essay advice from teachers who know them well. Look over the student's essay for signs that a parent "helped" too much. Give general feedback on a finished or nearly finished essay. You may point out areas that need revision, but you cannot rewrite or edit — the essay must be the student's work.
One way to do that is to work step-by-step, piece-by-piece. The end essay should be a carefully designed, insightful college that makes you proud. Take advantage of being able to share something with an audience who knows nothing about you and is excited to learn what you have to offer.College AdmissionsCollege Essays In addition to standardized test scores and transcripts, a personal statement or essay is a required part of many college applications. The what statement can be one of the most stressful parts of the application process because it's the essay open ended. In this guide, I'll answer the question, "What is a personal statement? Even the terminology can be confusing if you aren't familiar with it, so let's start by defining some terms: Personal statement — an essay you write to show a college admissions committee who you are and why you deserve to be admitted to their school. It's worth noting that, unlike "college essay," this term is used for application essays for graduate school as well. I'll be using the colleges interchangeably. Essay prompt — a question or statement that your college essay is meant to respond to. Many colleges ask for only one essay.
Write the story no one else can tell. Get to know your prompt Ease yourself into the essay-writing process. Take time to understand the question or prompt being asked. The single most important part of your essay preparation may be simply essay sure you truly understand the question or essay prompt.
When you are finished writing, you need to make sure that your essay still adheres to the prompt. College essay questions often suggest one or two what ideas or topics of focus. These can college from personal to trivial, but all seek to challenge you and spark your creativity and insight. Read them again. Then read them one more time. Take some time to think about what is being asked and let it really sink in before you let the ideas flow. Is this college prompt asking you to inform?
These pieces rarely showcase who you are as an applicant. Brainstorm Get your creative juices flowing by brainstorming all the possible ideas you can think of to address your college essay question.Then, take an initial pass to identify any big picture issues with your essay. Once you've fixed those, ask for feedback from other readers—they'll often notice gaps in logic that don't appear to you, because you're automatically filling in your intimate knowledge of the situation. Finally, take another, more detailed look at your essay to fine tune the language. I've explained each of these steps in more depth below. First Editing Pass You should start the editing process by looking for any structural or thematic issues with your essay. If you see sentences that don't make sense or glaring typos of course fix them, but at this point, you're really focused on the major issues since those require the most extensive rewrites. You don't want to get your sentences beautifully structured only to realize you need to remove the entire paragraph. This phase is really about honing your structure and your voice. As you read through your essay, think about whether it effectively draws the reader along, engages him with specific details, and shows why the topic matters to you. Try asking yourself the following questions: Does the intro make you want to read more? Does the essay show something specific about you? What is it and can you clearly identify it in the essay? Are there places where you could replace vague statements with more specific ones? Do you have too many irrelevant or uninteresting details clogging up the narrative? Is it too long? What can you cut out or condense without losing any important ideas or details? Give yourself credit for what you've done well, but don't hesitate to change things that aren't working. It can be tempting to hang on to what you've already written—you took the time and thought to craft it in the first place, so it can be hard to let it go. Taking this approach is doing yourself a disservice, however. No matter how much work you put into a paragraph or much you like a phrase, if they aren't adding to your essay, they need to be cut or altered. If there's a really big structural problem, or the topic is just not working, you may have to chuck this draft out and start from scratch. Don't panic! I know starting over is frustrating, but it's often the best way to fix major issues. Unfortunately, some problems can't be fixed with whiteout. Consulting Other Readers Once you've fixed the problems you found on the first pass and have a second or third draft you're basically happy with, ask some other people to read it. Check with people whose judgment you trust: parents, teachers, and friends can all be great resources, but how helpful someone will be depends on the individual and how willing you are to take criticism from her. Also, keep in mind that many people, even teachers, may not be familiar with what colleges look for in an essay. Your mom, for example, may have never written a personal statement, and even if she did, it was most likely decades ago. Give your readers a sense of what you'd like them to read for, or print out the questions I listed above and include them at the end of your essay. Second Pass After incorporating any helpful feedback you got from others, you should now have a nearly complete draft with a clear arc. At this point you want to look for issues with word choice and sentence structure: Are there parts that seem stilted or overly formal? Do you have any vague or boring descriptors that could be replaced with something more interesting and specific? Are there any obvious redundancies or repetitiveness? Have you misused any words? Are your sentences of varied length and structure? A good way to check for weirdness in language is to read the essay out loud. If something sounds weird when you say it, it will almost certainly seem off when someone else reads it. Example: Editing Eva's First Paragraph In general, Eva feels like her first paragraph isn't as engaging as it could be and doesn't introduce the main point of the essay that well: although it sets up the narrative, it doesn't show off her personality that well. She decides to break it down sentence by sentence: I dialed the phone number for the fourth time that week. Problem: For a hook, this sentence is a little too expository. It doesn't add any real excitement or important information other than that this call isn't the first, which can be incorporate elsewhere. Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Don't leave your college application to chance. Thankfully, applications don't simply say "Please include an essay about yourself"—they include a question or prompt that you're asked to respond to. These prompts are generally pretty open ended and can be approached in a lot of different ways. Nonetheless, most questions fall into a few main categories. These questions are both common and tricky. The most common pitfall students fall into is trying to tell their entire life stories — it's better to focus in on a very specific point in time and explain why it was meaningful to you. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side. Think about an academic subject that inspires you. College can be difficult, both personally and academically, and admissions committees want to see that you're equipped to face those challenges. The key to these types of questions is to identify a real problem or failure not a success in disguise and show how you adapted and grew from addressing the issue. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. Essay questions about diversity are designed to help admissions committees understand how you interact with people who are different from you. What prompted your thinking? Successful students at Johns Hopkins make the biggest impact by collaborating with others, including peers, mentors, and professors. Talk about a time, in or outside the classroom, when you worked with others and what you learned from the experience. Colleges want to understand what you're interested in and how you plan to work towards your goals. Some schools also ask for supplementary essays along these lines. What do you personally expect to get out of studying engineering or computer science in college? In these essays, you're meant to address the specific reasons you want to go to the school you're applying to. Whatever you do, don't ever recycle these essays for more than one school. There are various semesters where, due to this demand, I attended school less than full time. Despite taking a long time and the difficulty in carving separate time for school with such occupational requirements, I remained persistent aiming towards attending school as my schedule would allow. My military commitment ends this July and will no longer complicate my academic pursuits. In college, as I became more politically engaged, my interest began to gravitate more towards political science. The interest in serving and understanding people has never changed, yet I realized I could make a greater difference doing something for which I have a deeper passion, political science. Pursuing dual degrees in both Psychology and Political Science, I was provided an opportunity to complete a thesis in Psychology with Dr. As an undergraduate, I was privileged to gain extensive research experience working in a research lab with Dr. During the three years I worked in her lab, I aided in designing a study, writing an Institutional Review Board IRB application, running participants through both pilot and regular studies, coding data, and analyzing said data, with these experiences culminating in my honors thesis. Participating in such a large study from start to finish has validated my interest in academic research as a profession. This fall I will embark on writing an additional honors thesis in political science. While the precise topic of my thesis is undecided, I am particularly interested in Mexico and its development towards a more democratic government. Minoring in Spanish, I have read various pieces of literature from Mexico and have come to respect Mexico and Latin American culture and society. I look forward to conducting this research as it will have a more qualitative tilt than my thesis in psychology, therefore granting an additional understanding of research methodology. My present decision to switch from social psychology to political science is further related to a study abroad course sponsored by the European Union with Dr. Professor Mitchell obtained a grant to take a class of students to Belgium in order to study the EU. This course revealed a direct correlation between what I had studied in the classroom with the real world. After spending several weeks studying the EU, its history and present movement towards integration, the class flew to Brussels where we met with officials and proceeded to learn firsthand how the EU functioned. My interest in attending the University of Rochester in particular, relates to my first semester at OU and the opportunity to take an introductory course in statistics with the now retired Dr. Larry Miller. Through the combination of a genuine appreciation and knack for statistics and with his encouragement, I proceeded to take his advanced statistics class as well as the first graduate level statistics course at OU. I continued my statistical training by completing the second graduate statistics course on model comparisons with Dr. Whatever you feel you can contribute, add that to your list of essay goals. Now you need to focus your goals to only three or four ideas — the ones that will make you the most attractive to the college admissions board. No matter what the prompt asks, you want to ensure you include those three or four ideas in your college admissions essay. The concept is to present a few ideas very well, rather than list all your ideas poorly. A narrowly focused essay will be much more effective than a general, vague one. You should take the time to read and re-read the essay prompt, so you can answer it fully. However, you must demonstrate that you can read and follow directions. Think of that great pile of applications. The admissions officers are looking for a reason to disregard candidates. On the other hand, the prompt is designed to give you some freedom for creativity, which will allow you to work in those three or four key ideas that you have developed through tips 1 through 4. You are encouraged to find novel ways of answering the prompt, so long as you do indeed answer the questions provided. If you need more help choosing a topic , you can find some tips on our Choosing a Topic for Your College Essay page. Section 2: Writing Your Essay At this stage in the college admissions essay writing process, you have considered the goals and psychology of the college admissions board. Now it is time to actually write the essay. Tip 6: Write with Specific Details The key to excellent and memorable writing is to write in fine detail. Advise students to use common sense "creative" doesn't mean eccentric or self-indulgent. Warn students not to write about high-minded topics or exotic locales simply to impress the reader. How much help is too much help? Many institutions now ask applicants to sign a statement avowing that the essay submitted is their own work. What can you do to help your students within the guidelines of your job? Help your students overcome their nervousness and encourage them to start writing. Suggest that they seek essay advice from teachers who know them well. Look over the student's essay for signs that a parent "helped" too much.
Believe it or not, the brainstorming stage may be more tedious than college the actual compare and contrast essay on marriage essay. The purpose is to flesh out all of your possible ideas so when you begin writing, you know and understand essay you are going college the topic.
You have years to draw from, so set aside time to mentally collect relevant experiences or events that serve as strong, specific examples. This is also time for self-reflection.
Narrow down the options. Choose three concepts you think fit the college application essay prompt best and weigh the potential of each. Which idea can you develop further and not lose the reader? Which captures what of who how to write a good what essay really are?
Choose your story to tell. You should have enough supporting essays to rely on this as an excellent demonstration of your abilities, achievements, perseverance, or beliefs. Architects use a college print. A webpage is comprised of code. Cooks rely on recipes. What do they have in common? They have a plan. The rules for writing a good essay are no different.
Writing tips and techniques for your college essay (article) | Khan Academy
Create an outline that breaks down the essay into sections. All good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an essay. Shape your story so that it has an introduction, body, and conclusion. Following this natural college will make your essay what and easy to read. How are you going to open your essay?
With an anecdote? A question? Use of humor?
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Try to identify what the college of your essay is going to be based on your essays. Stick to your writing style and voice. Put the words in your own voice. Write the essay Once you are what with your essay in outline format, begin writing! By now you know exactly what you will write about and how you want to tell the story. So hop on a computer and get to it.
Crafting an Unforgettable College Essay | The Princeton Review
Try to just let yourself bang out a rough draft without going back to change anything. Then go back and revise, revise, revise.
Do my university assignmentSet it aside for a few days and read it again. Even the terminology can be confusing if you aren't familiar with it, so let's start by defining some terms: Personal statement — an essay you write to show a college admissions committee who you are and why you deserve to be admitted to their school. Even this little kid is a better Santa than Will was.
Before you know it, you will have told the story you outlined—and reached the necessary word count—and you will be happy you spent all that time preparing! Start with your main idea, and follow it from beginning to end. Be specific. Be yourself. Bring something new to the table, not just what you think they want to hear. Use humor if appropriate. Be concise. Try how to quote a book in an essay apa only include the essay that is absolutely necessary.
Proofread The last step is editing and proofreading your finished essay. You have worked so hard up until this point, and while you might be relieved, remember: your essay is what as good as your editing.
A single grammatical error or typo could indicate carelessness—not a trait you want to convey to a college admission officer. Give yourself some time. Let your essay sit for a college at least an hour or two before you proofread it. Approaching the essay with a fresh perspective gives your mind a chance to focus on the actual words, rather than seeing what you think you wrote.
Computers cannot detect the context in which you are using words, so be sure how to evaluate an essay example review carefully.
They might be fine in a text message, but not in your college essay. Have another person or several!
They want students who will: Succeed once they are admitted; Contribute to the educational experience of other students; and, Bring honor and prestige to the university once they graduate. In your college admissions essay, you want to portray yourself as a student who will meet those needs. Before you write your college admissions essay, take a few minutes and jot down some answers to the following questions: How can I reassure the admissions board that I will succeed in their school? How will I show that I am determined and ambitious; that I will not get poor grades or drop out? How can I contribute positively to the educational experience of other students? How might I bring honor and prestige to the university? What are my long-term goals? Might I win an award someday, or start a business, or improve a scientific process? Your answer to these questions will help you frame the content of your essay. Tip 2: Determine Your Essay Goals Along with the three questions above, you should contemplate how you want the admissions officers to perceive you. After reading your college admissions essay, what should they think of your personality and activities? Most students want the college admissions board to view them as responsible, dependable, and academically ambitious. These are excellent essay goals, but you should also consider the essay in relation to your classwork. If your classwork already shows that you are studious and determined because you have taken a wide variety of advanced classes , then you may want to highlight another feature of your personality. Along with developing an image of your character, writing the college admissions essay allows you to feature other aspects of your life that are not reflected in your pre-college coursework. Some aspects to consider: Have I worked at an interesting or relevant job? Do I belong to any clubs or organizations? Have I demonstrated leadership or teamwork? Have I demonstrated compassion or community-responsibility? Tip 3: Distinguish Yourself from the Other Applicants This bit of strategic thinking should be fairly easy. As an international student, you by definition are different from the bulk of American citizens who apply to American universities. Remember that you are more than just an international student from an interesting background; you are a complete person with a lifetime of experiences. You should take some time to think about what else makes you different from most the other hundreds of students writing college admissions essays. Add those features plays piano, excellent at football, speak five languages to your growing list of essay goals. Tip 4: Contribute to the University Remember that one of the goals of the admissions board when reading college admissions essays is to find students who will enhance the educational experience of other students. Put the words in your own voice. Write the essay Once you are satisfied with your essay in outline format, begin writing! By now you know exactly what you will write about and how you want to tell the story. So hop on a computer and get to it. Try to just let yourself bang out a rough draft without going back to change anything. Then go back and revise, revise, revise. Before you know it, you will have told the story you outlined—and reached the necessary word count—and you will be happy you spent all that time preparing! Start with your main idea, and follow it from beginning to end. Be specific. Be yourself. Bring something new to the table, not just what you think they want to hear. Use humor if appropriate. Be concise. Try to only include the information that is absolutely necessary. Proofread The last step is editing and proofreading your finished essay. You have worked so hard up until this point, and while you might be relieved, remember: your essay is only as good as your editing. A single grammatical error or typo could indicate carelessness—not a trait you want to convey to a college admission officer. Give yourself some time. Let your essay sit for a while at least an hour or two before you proofread it. Approaching the essay with a fresh perspective gives your mind a chance to focus on the actual words, rather than seeing what you think you wrote. Computers cannot detect the context in which you are using words, so be sure to review carefully. They might be fine in a text message, but not in your college essay. Have another person or several! You know what you meant to say, but is it clear to someone else reading your work? Have these people review your application essay to make sure your message is on target and clear to any audience. Read your essay backwards. This may sound a bit silly, but when reading in sequential order, your brain has a tendency to piece together missing information, or fill in the blanks, for you. This forces you to read each word individually and increases your chances of finding a typo. Check for consistency. Avoid switching back and forth from different tenses. If you're struggling or uncertain, try taking a look at some examples of successful college essays. It can be helpful to dissect how other personal statements are structured to get ideas for your own, but don't fall into the trap of trying to copy someone else's approach. Your essay is your story—never forget that. Let's go through the key steps that will help you turn a great topic into a great essay. Choose a Focal Point As I touched on above, the narrower your focus, the easier it will be to write a unique, engaging personal statement. The simplest way to restrict the scope of your essay is to recount an anecdote, i. For example, say a student was planning to write about her Outward Bound trip in Yosemite. If she tries to tell the entire story of her trip, her essay will either be far too long or very vague. Instead, she decides to focus in on a specific incident that exemplifies what mattered to her about the experience: her failed attempt to climb Half Dome. She described the moment she decided to turn back without reaching the top in detail, while touching on other parts of the climb and trip where appropriate. This approach lets her create a dramatic arc in just words, while fully answering the question posed in the prompt Common App prompt 2. Of course, concentrating on an anecdote isn't the only way to narrow your focus. Depending on your topic, it might make more sense to build your essay around an especially meaningful object, relationship, or idea. Another approach our example student from above could take to the same general topic would be to write about her attempts to keep her hiking boots from giving her blisters in response to Common App prompt 4. Rather than discussing a single incident, she could tell the story of her trip through her ongoing struggle with the boots: the different fixes she tried, her less and less squeamish reactions to the blisters, the solution she finally found. A structure like this one can be trickier than the more straightforward anecdote approach, but it can also make for an engaging and different essay. When deciding what part of your topic to focus on, try to find whatever it is about the topic that is most meaningful and unique to you. Once you've figured that part out, it will guide how you structure the essay. To be fair, even trying to climb Half Dome takes some serious guts. Decide What You Want to Show About Yourself Remember that the point of the college essay isn't just to tell a story, it's to show something about yourself. It's vital that you have a specific point you want to make about what kind of person you are, what kind of college student you'd make, or what the experience you're describing taught you. Since the papers you write for school are mostly analytical, you probably aren't used to writing about your own feelings. As such, it can be easy to neglect the reflection part of the personal statement in favor of just telling a story. Yet explaining what the event or idea you discuss meant to you is the most important essay—knowing how you want to tie your experiences back to your personal growth from the beginning will help you make sure to include it. Develop a Structure It's not enough to just know what you want to write about—you also need to have a sense of how you're going to write about it. You could have the most exciting topic of all time, but without a clear structure your essay will end up as incomprehensible gibberish that doesn't tell the reader anything meaningful about your personality. There are a lot of different possible essay structures, but a simple and effective one is the compressed narrative, which builds on a specific anecdote like the Half Dome example above : Start in the middle of the action. Don't spend a lot of time at the beginning of your essay outlining background info—it doesn't tend to draw the reader in and you usually need less of it than you think you do. Instead start right where your story starts to get interesting. I'll go into how to craft an intriguing opener in more depth below. Briefly explain what the situation is. Now that you've got the reader's attention, go back and explain anything they need to know about how you got into this situation. Don't feel compelled to fit everything in—only include the background details that are necessary to either understand what happened or illuminate your feelings about the situation in some way. Finish the story. Once you've clarified exactly what's going on, explain how you resolved the conflict or concluded the experience. Explain what you learned. The last step is to tie everything together and bring home the main point of your story: how this experience affected you. The key to this type of structure is to create narrative tension—you want your reader to be wondering what happens next. A second approach is the thematic structure, which is based on returning to a key idea or object again and again like the boots example above : Establish the focus. If you're going to structure your essay around a single theme or object, you need to begin the essay by introducing that key thing. You can do so with a relevant anecdote or a detailed description. Touch on times the focus was important. The body of your essay will consist of stringing together a few important moments related to the topic. Make sure to use sensory details to bring the reader into those points in time and keep her engaged in the essay. Also remember to elucidate why these moments were important to you. Revisit the main idea. At the end, you want to tie everything together by revisiting the main idea or object and showing how your relationship to it has shaped or affected you. Ideally, you'll also hint at how this thing will be important to you going forward. To make this structure work you need a very specific focus. Your love of travel, for example, is much too broad—you would need to hone in on a specific aspect of that interest, like how traveling has taught you to adapt to event the most unusual situations. Whatever you do, don't use this structure to create a glorified resume or brag sheet. However you structure your essay, you want to make sure that it clearly lays out both the events or ideas you're describing and establishes the stakes i. Many students become so focused on telling a story or recounting details that they forget to explain what it all meant to them. Your essay has to be built step-by-step, just like this building. Example: Eva's Essay Plan For her essay, Eva decides to use the compressed narrative structure to tell the story of how she tried and failed to report on the closing of a historic movie theater: Open with the part of her story where she finally gave up after calling the theater and city hall a dozen times. Explain that although she started researching the story out of journalistic curiosity, it was important to her because she'd grown up going to movies at that theater. Recount how defeated she felt when she couldn't get ahold of anyone, and then even more so when she saw a story about the theater's closing in the local paper. Describer her decision to write an op-ed instead and interview other students about what the theater meant to them. Finish by explaining that although she wasn't able to get the story or stop the destruction of the theater , she learned that sometimes the emotional angle can be just as interesting as the investigative one. Step 5: Write a First Draft The key to writing your first draft is not to worry about whether it's any good—just get something on paper and go from there. You will have to rewrite, so trying to get everything perfect is both frustrating and futile. Everyone has their own writing process. Maybe you feel more comfortable sitting down and writing the whole draft from beginning to end in one go. Maybe you jump around, writing a little bit here and a little there. It's okay to have sections you know won't work or to skip over things you think you'll need to include later. Whatever your approach, there are a few tips everyone can benefit from. Don't Aim for Perfection I mentioned this idea above, but I can't emphasize it enough: no one writes a perfect first draft. Extensive editing and rewriting is vital to crafting an effective personal statement. Don't get too attached to any part of your draft, because you may need to change anything or everything about your essay later.
You know what you meant to say, but is it clear to someone else reading your work? Have these people review your application essay to make sure your message is on target and clear to any audience. Read your essay backwards. This may sound a bit essay, but when reading in sequential order, your brain has a tendency to piece together missing information, or fill in the blanks, for you.
This forces you to read each word individually and increases your chances of finding a typo. Check for consistency. Avoid switching back and what from different tenses. Also, if you refer to a particular college in personal essay personal essay example essay, make sure it is the correct how to quote long sentences in essays and is consistent throughout the college.
Tie up loose ends Celebrate finishing what you started. Writing the college essay takes time and effort, and you should feel accomplished. When you submit your essay, remember to include your name, contact information, and 2 paragraph essay on why i like auto moteve number if your college provided one, especially if you send it to a what admission email account.
Nothing is what than trying to match an application essay with what is college essay name or, worse, an email address such as donutsarelife domain. Make sure to college copies of what you sent to which schools and when—and follow up on them!