If you’re eyeing a top university for your college education, you will be asked to present an essay as part of your application. It’s through your essay that college admissions officers determine how qualified you are for a slot in the university.
This only goes to show that you shouldn’t underestimate the convincing power of a superbly written essay. College admissions consultants likewise point out that essays often serve as a chance for redemption for students whose qualifications like SAT scores, high school grades, and extracurricular merits fall short of “stellar.”
Basically, your college application essay is the perfect opportunity to set yourself apart from the other applicants whose achievements are very similar to yours.
Crafting a college application essay that can genuinely impress is not easy – especially if writing’s not particularly your best suit. In order to help ensure that your essay meets the high standards of admissions officers, college consulting professionals have listed the seven important questions you need to ask before submitting a college application essay.
1. Does the essay concisely yet accurately present what’s important to you?
This document, that should be at most, two pages long, should give admissions officers a clear idea of what you have done or experienced so far that has taken you closer to your life plans or dreams. Likewise, it should vividly share happenings or situations in your life that have shaped your important plans and dreams.
2. How genuine are you in the essay?
Authenticity is crucial in college application essays. When you write your essay, you need to sound like yourself.
Through the tone you use, college admissions officers will already be able to tell much about your personality and get a feel of how unique you are. Later on, when you have your interview, they will judge how consistent your essay is with your actual personality.
Also, you need to present facts. Though you’re trying to impress, you should only use the truth.
3. Did you include reflections?
When you share life-changing events, it’s important to create a distinction between how you used to be and the transformation you underwent. Most students forget or do not clearly establish how much they have changed after such event.
4. Did you introduce something new in your essay?
College admissions officers are always looking for something new. They don’t want to read the same thing over and over again. Remember, you’re trying to distinguish yourself from everybody else, so look into a facet of your life that is rather uncommon. Focus on that and how it contributes to the kind of person you are who is worth considering for admission.
5. Is the essay engaging?
You want the people who’ll be reading the document to want to read it.
Read your final draft and evaluate its ability to engage a reader. Read your essay aloud to yourself, and then read it to an audience. Get the opinion of your audience on how interesting the essay is. If many of them say that they like it and they actually enjoyed what you said in your essay, then it’s almost good to go.
6. Did you edit your essay?
Run a spelling and grammar checker. You can use apps available online for the job just make sure that there are no typographical errors that can compromise the good impression you wish to make.
Get a real editor to go through your essay after using a spelling and grammar checker. While apps can take care of typographical errors and some grammar booboos, a real editor can perform a more thorough job and even recommend the more appropriate ways of constructing sentences.
7. Did you apply all the changes recommended by the editor?
You want to make sure that your essay is absolutely flawless before you submit it. It never hurts to double-check and even triple-check the document and get somebody like a school counselor or teacher check with you.
Your college application is a serious matter – getting into a good university is very competitive, so pay close attention to every aspect of it. Don’t give college admissions officers the idea that you’re not giving it your all. Make sure your college application essay has all the components to secure your advantage.
Brian Giroux is an experienced college admissions advisor and co-founder of Capital College Consulting. Brian is a Professional Member of Independent Educational Consulting Association (IECA). Brian has worked with students from over 30 countries to help provide guidance through the US admissions process.
Brian’s experience includes 18+ years in education serving multiple roles as educator, athletic director, and college admissions consultant.