How to Master the College Essay

Believe it or not, college application due dates are right around the corner! Did you know you can get started with your college apps THIS SUMMER?

Don’t wait until the last minute – get prepared for your applications this summer and it’ll make the application process much less stressful!

So what exactly goes into a college application? There’s a lot of factors, but one of the most important aspects of a college app is your essay. Your essays showcase who you are – they give you the freedom to express yourself and your personality on paper. Colleges receive thousands of applications every fall, many with similar grades, GPAs and SAT scores. Your personal statement can make you stand out in a sea of applicants!

How do you conquer the personal statement? With these tips from The Princeton Review, you’ll draft an unforgettable college essay in no time!

1. Write about something that’s important to you: This could range from an experience, to a substantial person in your life, to a book you read last summer. Make sure the essay reflects how big of an impact this “something” had on you and why you’re writing about it.

2. Don’t just recount, but reflect: Don’t just write about the experience, show the experience! Illustrate why this experience makes you a better person, what you learned from this experience, and how it changed you. Give more than just the play-by-play.

3. Being funny is hard: We’re not saying not to be your true self – if you’re the class clown, then show it! But beware that what you think is funny, may not be funny to an adult admissions officer working at a prestigious university. Your jokes may be misconstrued or misunderstood. Joke with a lot of caution!

4. Start early and write several drafts: Write, rewrite and edit! Write one draft, then set it aside for some time to reflect on it. When you’re writing your drafts, read it as the eyes of an admissions officer – Does the story flow? Is it grammatically correct? Is it interesting?

5. Don’t repeat yourself: Remember, this is your time to show more than your test scores and GPA. Be careful not to repeat what you already showed on other parts of your application.

6. Answer the question that’s being asked: Don’t just reuse an essay you used for a different application that had a similar question being asked. Bunker down and write the answer to the question that’s being asked on this essay.

7. Have someone else look at your essay: Have a college counselor or one of your teachers read over your essay. And before you send it off, don’t forget to triple check for spelling or grammatical errors!


College Planning Experts can help you throughout your college planning process, including helping you write and edit your personal statements! Schedule a FREE college planning analysis THIS SUMMER before it’s too late to get the college and financial help you need!

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