You need to have Zen-like calm to allow you to apply laser-like focus on the task at hand. No matter what else is going on in your life, set aside some time to come up with a plan to attack your essay challenge. Ideally, as applications come due the fall of senior year, you want to start working on this several months beforehand in order to draft several versions and incorporate any feedback.
Set aside a few hours per week to brainstorm and draft your essay, as well as work on those revisions. The page is as blank as it was before, possibly even blanker. Personal statements are labors of love, not something you can whip out on a whim. Take a step back and do some research. There are many books on writing your essay with plentiful examples to help you along. Okay, great, now… forget everything you just read.
Remember — you want your essay to be original, to stand out, to share your unique voice with the world. Reading example essays should merely be done to give you confidence that it is indeed possible to write an outstanding, memorable personal statement. However, you do not want to fall into the trap of literally re-writing a statement that has already been written.
So, how do you avoid this? 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 making 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 main ideas or topics of focus. These can vary from personal to trivial, but all seek to challenge you and spark your creativity and insight. Get your creative juices flowing by brainstorming all the possible ideas you can think of to address your college essay question.
Believe it or not, the brainstorming stage may be more tedious than writing the actual application essay. The purpose is to flesh out all of your possible ideas so when you begin writing, you know and understand where you are going with the topic.
Architects use a blue 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. Create an outline that breaks down the essay into sections. 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! You have worked so hard up until this point, and while you might be relieved, remember: A single grammatical error or typo could indicate carelessness—not a trait you want to convey to a college admission officer.
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 ID number if your college provided one, especially if you send it to a general admission e-mail account. Nothing is worse than trying to match an application essay with no name or, worse, an e-mail address such as donutsarelife domain.
Make sure to keep copies of what you sent to which schools and when—and follow up on them! Be certain the college or university you are applying to received your essay. Looking for more college application essay help? We have tons— tons— here , including lots of real-world examples! What did you end up writing your college application essay about? Leave a comment or get in touch here. Get to know your prompt Ease yourself into the essay-writing process.
Then, read them one more time. Is this essay 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. 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. 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 more of who you really are?
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Luckily, being able to craft the perfect beginning for your admissions essay is just like many other writing skills—something you can get better at with practice and by learning from examples. In this article, I’ll walk you through exactly how to start a college essay.
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How To Start Your College Application Essay. Vermont’s finest has mastered that skill, and so should you as you ponder: how do I start my college application essay? The first thing to do is: relax. Clear your mind. In fact, you likely have had several such meaningful experiences. Start jotting them down, but don’t worry just yet. The number one piece of advice from admission officers about your essay is “Be yourself.” The number two suggestion is “Start early.” Check out these other tips before you begin.