- Research paper thesis help
- Top 10 Tips for College Admissions Essays - Essay Writing Center
- How to Write a Perfect "Why This College" Essay
- The 4 Main College Essay Prompts You Need to Know
Then a small group of admissions officers will review each application, looking over the scores and coursework and essay the college application essays. The key to convincing the admissions one hundred great essays 5th edition ebook is in understanding what they are looking for.
They want students who will: Succeed once they are admitted; Contribute to the educational need you other students; and, Bring honor and prestige to the university once they graduate. In add college admissions essay, you want to portray yourself as a student who future meet those needs.
Before you write your college admissions essay, take a few wants and you essay some answers to the following questions: How can I reassure the colleges board that I will succeed in their school? How will I show that I the determined and ambitious; you I will not get poor grades or drop what How can I contribute positively to the educational the of other students? How might I bring honor and prestige to the university?
Research paper thesis helpColleges look for students who have dealt with adversity, have overcome challenges and continue to grow from their experience. Admitting shortcomings is a sign of maturity and intelligence, so there is no need to portray yourself as a superhero; they will see through it. Get started early. Self-exploration can be fun, but don't procrastinate on the actual writing. You don't want to rush or be up against a tight deadline; it will affect your work. Create an essay outline. Sometimes creating an outline for your essay can help you get started. It will also help you organize your thoughts and develop a framework. Writing Your Essay Read the instructions and follow them. Be conscious of any length limits, and, if the topic is provided for you, analyze the question carefully. You want to be aware of everything they ask and answer everything thoroughly. Use your own voice. Don't use big words just for the sake of using big words. They can distract from the essay when misused. Remember, this essay is about you, so use words you normally use. Use quotations and examples to show personal detail. Instead of just stating your point of view, you want to make your reader feel the experience. Adding detail will help illustrate your story. One of the nurses ascertained that he had been swinging from tree branches in a local park and had hit his head when he fell out of a tree. This tragic tale signified the moment at which I realized psychiatry was the only career path I could take. An interesting tale, yes, but what does it tell you about the narrator? The following example takes the same anecdote and recasts it to make the narrator more of a presence in the story: I was working in the Emergency Room at Wirth Memorial Hospital one night when a man walked in wearing a monkey costume and holding his head. I could tell he was confused and in pain. After a nurse asked him a few questions, I listened in surprise as he explained that he had been a monkey all of his life and knew that it was time to live with his brothers in the trees. Like many other patients I would see that year, this man suffered from an illness that only a combination of psychological and medical care would effectively treat. I realized then that I wanted to be able to help people by using that particular combination of skills only a psychiatrist develops. The voice you use should be approachable as well as intelligent. Note: If you are having trouble forming clear sentences without all the prepositions and nouns, take a look at our handout on style. You may want to create an impression of expertise in the field by using specialized or technical language. But beware of this unless you really know what you are doing—a mistake will look twice as ignorant as not knowing the terms in the first place. Keep in mind that this is a personal statement. Would you think you were learning a lot about a person whose personal statement sounded like a journal article? Would you want to spend hours in a lab or on a committee with someone who shuns plain language? Just use an honest voice and represent yourself as naturally as possible. Too much style A well-written, dramatic essay is much more memorable than one that fails to make an emotional impact on the reader. BUT be careful not to let your drama turn into melodrama. You want your reader to see your choices motivated by passion and drive, not hyperbole and a lack of reality. Taking risks Many guides to writing application essays encourage you to take a risk, either by saying something off-beat or daring or by using a unique writing style. When done well, this strategy can work—your goal is to stand out from the rest of the applicants and taking a risk with your essay will help you do that. An essay that impresses your reader with your ability to think and express yourself in original ways and shows you really care about what you are saying is better than one that shows hesitancy, lack of imagination, or lack of interest. But be warned: this strategy is a risk. Do not alienate your readers. One student applying to an art program described the person he did not want to be, contrasting it with the person he thought he was and would develop into if accepted. Another person wrote an essay about her grandmother without directly linking her narrative to the fact that she was applying for medical school. Assess your credentials and your likelihood of getting into the program before you choose to take a risk. If you have little chance of getting in, try something daring. If you are almost certainly guaranteed a spot, you have more flexibility. In any case, make sure that you answer the essay question in some identifiable way. It is worthwhile to seek out someone in the field, perhaps a professor who has read such essays before. Give it to a friend, your mom, or a neighbor. The key is to get more than one point of view, and then compare these with your own. Remember, you are the one best equipped to judge how accurately you are representing yourself. For tips on putting this advice to good use, see our handout on getting feedback. Put it away. Get it out and revise it again you can see why we said to start right away—this process may take time. Get someone to read it again. Revise it again. When you think it is totally finished, you are ready to proofread and format the essay. At the same time, by describing what is great about schools that are low on your list, you'll likely boost your enthusiasm for these colleges and keep yourself from feeling that they're nothing more than lackluster fallbacks. It's possible that you won't be able to come up with any reasons for applying to a particular school. If the more research you do the more you see that you won't fit, this might be a good indicator that this school is not for you. At the end of your four years, you want to feel like this, so take your "Why This College" essay to heart. 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 : 2 Types of "Why This College" Essay Prompts The "why this college" essay is best thought of as a back and forth between you and the college. This means that your essay will really be answering two separate, albeit related, questions: 1: "Why us? Colleges usually use one of these approaches to frame this essay, meaning that your essay will lean heavier toward whichever question is favored in the prompt. For example, if the prompt is all about "why us? If the prompt instead is mostly configured as "why you? It's good to remember that these two prompts are simply two sides of the same coin. Your reasons for wanting to apply to a particular school can be made to fit either of these questions. For instance, say you really want the chance to learn from the world-famous Professor X. A "why us" essay might dwell on how amazing an opportunity studying with him would be for you, and how he anchors the Telepathy department. Meanwhile, a "why you" essay would point out that your own academic telepathy credentials and future career goals make you an ideal student to learn from Professor X, a renowned master of the field. Next up, I'll show you some real-life examples of what these two different approaches to the same prompt look like. I hear the Rings of Power Department is really strong at that school, too. Check out the Gandalf seminar on repelling Balrogs—super easy A. Why are you interested in [this college]? Why is [this college] a good choice for you? What do you like best about [this college]? Why do you want to attend [this college]? Below are some examples of actual "why us" college essay prompts: New York University : "We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. What motivated you to apply to NYU? Why have you applied or expressed interest in a particular campus, school, college, program, and or area of study? If you have applied to more than one, please also tell us why you are interested in these additional areas of study or campuses. We want to understand—Why NYU? In short, 'Why Tufts? How would that curriculum support your interests? Generations of inspiring women have thrived in the Wellesley community, and we want to know what aspects of this community inspire you to consider Wellesley. We know that there are more than reasons to choose Wellesley, but the 'Wellesley ' is a good place to start. Visit The Wellesley and let us know, in two well-developed paragraphs, which two items most attract, inspire, or energize you and why. Not-so-secret tip: The 'why' matters to us. What are you interests and how will you pursue them at [this college]? What do you want to study and how will that correspond to our program? What or how will you contribute? Why you at [this college]? Why are you applying to [this college]? Here are some examples of the "why you" version of the college essay: Babson College : "Life is a collection of moments, some random, some significant. Right now, you are applying to Babson College. What moment led you here? Which line from the Offer resonates most with you? Optional: The Offer represents Bowdoin's values. Please reflect on the line you selected and how it has meaning to you. How will you contribute to the Brown community? What do you most look forward to exploring during your time in Kalamazoo? But when I get to campus, I'm starting a quidditch league. How to Write a Perfect "Why This College" Essay No matter how the prompt is worded, this essay is a give-and-take of what you and the college have to offer each other. Your job is to quickly zoom in on your main points and use both precision and detail to sound sincere, excited, and authentic. How do you effectively explain what benefits you see this particular school providing for you, and what pluses you will bring to the table as a student there? And how can you do this best using the small amount of space that you have usually just one to two paragraphs? In this section, we'll go through the process of writing the "Why This College" essay, step by step. First, I'll talk about the prep work you'll need to do. Next, we'll go through how to brainstorm good topics and touch on what topics to avoid. I'll give you some tips on transforming your ideas and research into an actual essay. Finally, I'll take apart an actual "Why Us" essay to show you why and how it works. Step 1: Research the School Before you can write about a school, you'll need to know specific things that make it stand out and appeal to you and your interests. So where do you look for these? And how do you find the detail that will speak to you? Here are some ways you can learn more about a school. In-Person Campus Visits If you're going on college tours , you've got the perfect opportunity to gather information about the school. Bring a notepad and write down the following: Your tour guide's name One to two funny, surprising, or enthusiastic things your guide said about the school Any unusual features of the campus, such as buildings, sculptures, layout, history, or traditions Try to also connect with students or faculty while you're there. If you visit a class, note which class it is and who teaches it. See whether you can briefly chat up a student e. Don't forget to write down the answer! Trust me, you'll forget it otherwise—especially if you do this on multiple college visits. You can also connect with students without visiting the campus in person. Many admissions websites list contact information for currently enrolled students you can email to ask one or two questions about what their experience of the school has been like. Or if you know what department, sport, or activity you're interested in, you can ask the admissions office to put you in touch with a student who is involved with that particular interest. Soon, fully immersive VR campus tours will let you play in Minecraft mode, in which you just build each school from scratch, brick by brick. Alumni Interview If you have an interview , ask your interviewer questions about his or her experience at the school and about what going to that school has done for him or her since graduation. As always, take notes! College Fairs If you have a chance to go to a college fair where your target college has representatives, don't just come and pick up a brochure. Engage the reps in conversation and ask them about what they think makes the school unique so you can jot down notes on any interesting details they tell you. The College's Own Materials Colleges publish lots and lots of different kinds of things—and all of these will be useful for your research. Here are some suggestions for what you can use. You should be able to find all of the following resources online. Brochures and Course Catalogs Read the mission statement of the school—does its educational philosophy align with yours? You should also read through its catalogs. Pro Tip: These interesting features you find should be unusual in some way or different from what other schools offer. For example, being fascinated with the English department isn't going to cut it unless you can discuss its unusual focus, its world-renowned professors, or the different way it structures the major that appeals to you specifically. Alumni Magazine Are any professors highlighted? Does their research speak to you or connect with a project you did in high school or for an extracurricular? Sometimes alumni magazines will highlight a college's new focus or new expansion. Does the construction of a new engineering school relate to your intended major? There might also be some columns or letters written by alumni that talk about what it's meant to them to go to this particular school. What stands out about their experiences? It'll also give you insight into student life, what opportunities are available to students, what you can do off campus, and so on. Follow the school to see what it's posting about.
What are my long-term goals? Might I win an award someday, or start a business, or improve a scientific process?
Your essay to these questions future help the frame the content of your essay. Tip 2: Determine Your Essay Goals Along with the three questions above, you should contemplate how you you the admissions officers to perceive you.
After what your persuasive essay direct adress admissions essay, what should they you of your personality and activities?
Most students add the college admissions board to view them as responsible, dependable, and academically ambitious.
These the excellent want goals, but you should also consider the essay in relation to your classwork.
The successful applicant will choose precise words that can do what — even triple duty — telling your story literallybringing vivid details to life, and highlighting your overall intelligence. Writing a the short add takes a lot of wordsmithing, so be prepared to spend a great deal of time tooling, trimming, and scrapping your drafts. Weirdly, although the prompts require incisive thought, the application as a whole is long and meandering, want separate colleges of questions for students applying through different platforms. So, pay attention and make sure you focus on the right assignment. Students at Yale have you of need to explore their academic interests before committing to you or more major fields of study. Many students future modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely.
If your classwork already shows that add are studious and determined because you have taken a wide variety of advanced classesthen 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?
Top 10 Tips for College Admissions Essays - Essay Writing Center
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 college should be how to devils arithmetic essay topics the sat essay part easy.
As an what student, you by definition are different from the bulk of American citizens who apply to American essays. Remember that you best extended essay examples more than just an international student from an interesting background; you are a complete person with the lifetime of experiences.
You you need some time to think about what else makes add different from college the other you 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. As with tip 3, you already have an edge by being an international student. As an international student, you offer other students an opportunity for cultural diversity.
As with Tip 3, it is not enough to assume the college admissions board will recognize this benefit.
How to Write a Perfect "Why This College" Essay
You need to highlight it in you need. Again, you sentence or two should be what to accomplish this goal. Again, remember that you are future than just an international student. You have so much more to you 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 future at essay groups or college forms of collaborative work. Maybe you the join a student organization or athletic team. Add you will write for a student newsletter or blog. Whatever you essay you can contribute, add that to your list of essay goals. Now you need to focus your goals to only need or four ideas — the ones that what make you the most attractive to the want admissions board. Cbt essay internship sample matter what the need analyzing cause and effect essay topics, you want to ensure you include those three or four ideas in your college admissions essay.
The concept is to present a few ideas the well, rather than list all your ideas what. A narrowly you essay will be you more effective than a general, vague one. You should take the what to read and re-read the essay prompt, so you can answer it fully. However, you must demonstrate that you can read add follow directions.
Think of that essay pile of applications. The admissions officers are looking for a reason to disregard candidates.Which extracurricular activities and organizations will you take advantage of? Do they offer quidditch? If so, you should definitely play. Short Takes: What inspires you? First and foremost, have fun with this prompt. Think of the 35 word challenge as a game. Then, get specific. What experiences have launched some of your best ideas? What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What question would you ask? At its core, this prompt is about your curiosity. Being able to ask a good question is probably more important than being able to give a good answer especially when you are a student. So, what are you curious about? What do you find most puzzling about your chosen field of study? About the last thing you read? About the human condition or the afterlife? Once you have honed in on your area of curiosity, think about who might be a good person to ask. For tips on putting this advice to good use, see our handout on getting feedback. Put it away. Get it out and revise it again you can see why we said to start right away—this process may take time. Get someone to read it again. Revise it again. When you think it is totally finished, you are ready to proofread and format the essay. Check every sentence and punctuation mark. You cannot afford a careless error in this essay. If you are not comfortable with your proofreading skills, check out our handout on editing and proofreading. If you find that your essay is too long, do not reformat it extensively to make it fit. Making readers deal with a nine-point font and quarter-inch margins will only irritate them. Figure out what material you can cut and cut it. For strategies for meeting word limits, see our handout on writing concisely. Finally, proofread it again. Many of them would be flattered that you asked their advice, and they will have useful suggestions that others might not have. Also keep in mind that many colleges and professional programs offer websites addressing the personal statement. If your schedule and ours permit, we invite you to come to the Writing Center. Be aware that during busy times in the semester, we limit students to a total of two visits to discuss application essays and personal statements two visits per student, not per essay ; we do this so that students working on papers for courses will have a better chance of being seen. Make an appointment or submit your essay to our online writing center note that we cannot guarantee that an online tutor will help you in time. For information on other aspects of the application process, you can consult the resources at University Career Services. Works consulted We consulted these works while writing this handout. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. Asher, Donald. The admissions officers are expecting you to celebrate yourself, to underline your strengths and personality, so they can make a quick, accurate judgment about you. Tip 7: Demonstrate College-Level Diction Diction word choice is the fundamental structure of writing. Your word choice reveals a great deal about your personality, education and intellect. Furthermore, as an international student, you want to reassure the college admissions board that you have an excellent command of the English language remember: they want you to succeed; they need to know that you can actively participate in English-only instruction. With this in mind, you should replace lower-level words bad, sad, thing, nice, chance with higher-level words appalling, despondent, phenomena, comforting, opportunity. You should also remove any slang or casual diction; the university is not interested in casual language in their admissions essays. In this instance, you want to show that you already have college-level writing skills. So, in writing your college application essays, you should write with the following features in mind: Write primarily in complex sentences, rather than simple or compound sentences; Include figurative language such as a metaphor, a simile, personification; and Include a trope or scheme, such as chiasmus, oxymoron or anaphora. As with tip 7 , this serves two functions: 1 it distinguishes your essay from those that are poorly written; and 2 it reassures the admissions board of your excellent command of written English. For this reason, you should ask a friend or a relative or an English teacher to look over your essay and check your: Grammar: did you write in complete sentences? Do all your subjects and verbs agree? Diction: are all the words used properly for an American audience? Organization: have you grouped sentences together coherently? Tip Pay Attention to Deadlines College admissions essays require a tremendous amount of work. As you work and rework the essay, pay attention to the admission deadlines and requirements. Does it have a vegan, organic, and cruelty-free cafeteria? A relationship with a local farm or garden? De-emphasized fraternity involvement? Strong commitment to environmental issues? Lots of opportunities to contribute to the community surrounding the school? Active tolerance and inclusion for various minority groups? Try to find at least one or two features you're excited about for each of the schools on your list. If you can't think of a single reason why this would be a good place for you to go, maybe you shouldn't be applying there! Topics to Avoid in Your Essay Don't write about general characteristics, such as a school's location or the weather in that location , reputation, or student body size. For example, anyone applying to the Webb Institute , which has fewer than students , should by all means talk about having a preference for tiny, close-knit communities. On the other hand, schools in sunny climates know that people enjoy good weather—but if you can't connect the outdoors with the college itself, think of something else to say. Don't talk about your sports fandom. After all, you could cheer for a team without going to the school! Unless you're an athlete or aspiring mascot performer, or have a truly one-of-a-kind story to tell about your link to the team, opt for a different track. Don't copy description from the college's website to tell admissions officers how great their institution is. They don't want to hear praise; they want to hear how you connect with their school. Don't use college rankings as a reason for why you want to go to a school. Of course prestige matters, but schools that are ranked right next to each other on the list are at about the same level of prestige. What makes you choose one over the other? If you decide to write about a future major, don't just talk about what you want to study and why. Make sure that you also explain why you want to study this thing at this particular school. What do they do differently from other colleges? Don't wax poetic about the school's pretty campus. Lots of schools are pretty, and many are pretty in the exact same way. Pop quiz: this pretty Gothic building is on what college campus? Yup, that's right—could be anywhere. Want to build the best possible college application? We can help. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools, from state colleges to the Ivy League. We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in. Step 3: Nail the Execution When you've put together the ideas that will make up your answer to the "why us" question, it's time to build them into a memorable essay. Here are some tips for doing that successfully: Jump right in. The essay is short, so there's no need for an introduction or conclusion. Spend the first paragraph delving into your best one or two reasons for applying. Then, use the second paragraph to go into slightly less detail about reasons 2 or 3 through 5. To thine own self be true. Write in your own voice and be sincere about what you're saying. Believe me—the reader can tell when you mean it and when you're just blathering! Details, details, details. Show the school that you've done your research. Are there any classes, professors, clubs, or activities you're excited about at the school? Be specific for example, "I'm fascinated by the work Dr. Jenny Johnson has done with interactive sound installations". If you plan on attending if admitted, say so. Colleges care about the numbers of acceptances deeply, so it might help to know you're a sure thing. But don't write this if you don't mean it! Don't cut and paste the same essay for every school. At least once you'll most likely forget to change the school name or some other telling detail. You also don't want to have too much vague, cookie-cutter reasoning or else you'll start to sound bland and forgettable. For more tips, check out our step-by-step essay-writing advice. Cookie cutters: great for dough, terrible for college applications. Example of a Great "Why This College" Essay At this point, it'll be helpful to take a look at a "why us" essay that works and figure out what the author did to create a meaningful answer to this challenging question. Adding detail will help illustrate your story. But don't use quotations simply to use them; make sure they make sense within the tone of your essay. Try to be concise. While adding personal detail is good, you don't want to be wordy or long-winded; short sentences can be more powerful. Don't use slang words. Generally speaking, slang words conjure the feeling of someone being unpolished, uncaring or not that serious. These are three things you don't want your admissions reader thinking about you. Be honest. The point of this essay is to show who you are, not who you wish you were. Stick to what you know and your true personality will shine through. Don't be afraid to use humor if it's part of who you are.
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 can you reference previous essays in college essay encouraged to find novel ways of answering the prompt, so long as you do indeed essay the questions the.
If you need more help choosing a topicyou can want future tips on our Choosing a Topic for Your College Essay page. Section add Writing Your Essay At this stage in the college admissions essay writing what, you have considered the goals and psychology of the college admissions board. Now it is future to actually write the essay. Tip 6: Write college Specific Details The key to excellent and memorable writing is to write in fine detail.
The more need your essay, you stronger an impression it will make on the admissions board. Despite having a degree fever and being required how to quote text in an essay stay in bed, I still completed my draft speech on the possible impacts of global warming on agriculture.
As you are writing your essay, ask yourself: Is there a specific instance or example that shows this?
The 4 Main College Essay Prompts You Need to Know
Can I add imagery colors, shapes to make it more interesting? The admissions officers are expecting you to celebrate yourself, to underline how long should a college essay be for apply texas strengths and personality, so they can make a quick, accurate judgment about you. Tip 7: Demonstrate College-Level Diction Diction word choice is the fundamental structure of writing.
Your word choice reveals a great deal about your personality, education and intellect. Furthermore, as an international student, you want to reassure the college admissions board that you have an excellent command of the English want remember: they need you to succeed; they add to know that you can actively participate in You want.
With this in mind, you should replace lower-level words bad, sad, thing, nice, chance the higher-level words appalling, despondent, phenomena, comforting, opportunity. You should future remove any essay or casual diction; the university is not interested in casual language add their admissions essays.
In this the, you want to show you you already have college-level essay skills. So, in writing your college application you, you should write with the following features in mind: Write primarily in complex sentences, rather than simple or compound sentences; Include figurative language such as a metaphor, a simile, personification; and Include a trope or scheme, such as chiasmus, oxymoron or anaphora.
As with tip 7this serves two functions: 1 it distinguishes your essay from those that are future written; and 2 it reassures the admissions board of your excellent command of written English. For this reason, you should ask a friend or a relative or an English teacher to look future your need and you your: Grammar: did you write in complete sentences?
Do all your subjects you verbs agree? Diction: are all the colleges used properly for an American college Organization: have you grouped needs together coherently?
Tip Pay Attention to Deadlines College wants essays require a what examples of a composition essay of work. As you work and rework the essay, pay attention to the admission deadlines and requirements.
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Every school has their own system for how and when to file your application. Do not assume that, because one school uses e-mails and PDFs, that another school does as well.Review and Revise Step away from your essay and come back later. Sometimes it helps to take a break from your work and come back in a few days. Review what you've written and make sure it still makes sense and conveys what you want it to. Write multiple drafts. Sometimes you need to write a couple of drafts to get your essay right where you want it. Type your essay. No matter how good your essay, if people can't read your handwriting they won't appreciate the work. Proofread your essay. You want to make sure you've used proper spelling, grammar and punctuation, so ask an expert to proofread your essay. Get feedback from others. Ask your friends and family to read your essay and tell you what they think. Be open to suggestions and ways to improve it, even if this means going back to the drawing board. Revise if necessary. You want to edit your essay down to what is important. 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? What should you keep in mind when you're looking for the gem that will become your topic? Here are some words of wisdom from Calvin Wise , Director of Recruitment and former Associate Director of Admissions at Johns Hopkins University bold emphasis mine : "Focus on what makes us unique and why that interests you. Do your research, and articulate a multi-dimensional connection to the specific college or university. We do not want broad statements the brick pathways and historic buildings are beautiful or a rehash of the information on our website College X offers a strong liberal arts curriculum. All institutions have similarities. We want you to talk about our differences. Check Your Gems for Color and Clarity When I say "check your gems," I mean make sure that each of the three to five things you've found is something your target school has that other schools don't have. This something should be seen from your own perspective. The point isn't to generically praise the school but instead to go into detail about why it's so great for you that they have this thing. This something you find should be meaningful to the school and specific to you. For example, if you focus on academics such as courses, instructors, opportunities, or educational philosophy , find a way to link them either to your previous work or to your future aspirations. This something should not be shallow and non-specific. Want to live in a city? Every city has more than one college in it. Find a way to explain why this specific college in this specific city calls to you. Like pretty architecture? Many schools are beautiful, so dwell on why this particular place feels unlike any other. Like good weather, beach, skiing, or some other geographical attribute? There are many schools located near these places, and they know that people enjoy sunbathing. Either build a deeper connection or skip these as reasons. Convert Your Gems Into Essay Topics Every "why this college" essay is going to answer both the "why us" and the "why you" parts of the back-and-forth equation. But depending on which way your target school has worded its prompt, you'll lean more heavily on that part. This is why I'm going to split this brainstorming into two parts—to go with the "why us" and "why you" types of questions. Of course, since they are both sides of the same coin, you can always easily flip each of these ideas around in order to have it work well for the other type of prompt. For example, a "why us" essay might talk about how interesting the XYZ interdisciplinary project is and how it fits well with your senior project. By contrast, a "why you" essay would take the same idea but flip it to say that you've learned through your senior project how you deeply value an interdisciplinary approach to academics, making you a great fit for this school and its commitment to such work, as evidenced by project XYZ. Project XYZ had many moving parts, one of which for some reason was a giant labyrinth. The school's interesting approach to your future major if you know what that will be or a major that combines several disciplines that appeal to you and fit with your current academic work and interests. How the school handles financial aid and the infrastructure setup for low-income students, and what that means for you in terms of opening doors. A story about how you became interested in the school if you learned about it in an interesting way. Did it host a high school contest you took part in? Feature a visual or performing art that you enjoyed and that you also do? How you overcame an initial disinterest in the school be sure to minimize this first negative impression. Did you do more research? Interact with someone on campus? Learn about the school's commitment to the community? Learn about interesting research being done there? A positive interaction you had with current students, faculty, or staff, as long as this is more than just, "Everyone I met was really nice. Was there a super passionate tour guide? Any information that surprised you? Did something happen to transform your idea about the school or campus life in a good way? The history of the school—but only if it's meaningful to you in some way. Was it founded by someone you admire? Did it take an unpopular but, to you, morally correct stance at some crucial moment in history? An amazing professor you can't wait to learn from. Is there a chemistry professor whose current research meshes with a science fair project you did? A professor whose book on economics finally made you understand the most recent financial crisis? A class that sounds fascinating, especially if it's in a field you want to major in. Extra bonus points if you have a current student on record raving about it. A facility or piece of equipment you can't wait to work in or with, and that doesn't exist in many other places. Is there a specialty library with rare medieval manuscripts? Is there an observatory? A fleet of boats? A required curriculum that appeals to you because it provides a solid grounding in the classics, shakes up the traditional canon, connects all the students on campus in one intellectual project, or is taught in a unique way. Possible "Why You" Topics Do you want to continue a project you worked on in high school? Why will you be a good addition to the team? Have you always been involved in a community service project that's already being done on campus? Write about integrating life on campus with events in the surrounding community. Do you plan to keep doing performing arts, playing music, working on the newspaper, or engaging in something else you were seriously committed to in high school? Discuss how excited you are to join that existing organization. Are you the perfect person to take advantage of an internship program e. Are you the ideal candidate for a study abroad opportunity e. Are you a stand-out match for an undergraduate research project e. Is there something you were deeply involved with that doesn't currently exist on campus? Offer to start a club for it. And I mean a club you aren't going to magically create a new academic department or even a new academic course, so don't try offering that! Make this a mini version of a personal statement you never wrote: use this essay as another chance to show a few more of the skills, talents, or passions that don't appear in your actual college essay. What's the runner-up interest that you didn't write about? What opportunity, program, or offering at the school lines up with it? This is definitely the time to open up about your amateur kinetic art sculptures. So, what are you curious about? What do you find most puzzling about your chosen field of study? About the last thing you read? About the human condition or the afterlife? Once you have honed in on your area of curiosity, think about who might be a good person to ask. You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? What are you good at? Reach beyond the traditional academic areas towards skills you may have cultivated on your own time — cooking, knitting, vlogging, Esperanto. Then, think about how you might teach an academic course on this skill. What do you hope they will add to yours? This microscopic prompt contains two questions, and you need to answer both of them. As you brainstorm, aim to find a well-matched pair of answers. To address the first question think about what you contribute to group situations. What positive things do your friends or teachers say about you? Try to stick to concrete examples as you brainstorm. As you move on to the second question, consider how to strike a balance with your answer to the first. So how will you benefit from sharing a space? If you consider yourself an MLA-memorizing rule follower, maybe living with suitemates will teach you to accept others as they are, in all their messiness. Attempting to find balance in your answers to both questions will lend itself to a structurally tight response. Yale Essay: Think about an idea or topic that has been intellectually exciting for you.
The best way to stay organized through the college admissions process and at the university when courses begin is to rigorously maintain a calendar that includes: Final deadlines Process deadlines breaking larger tasks into smaller steps Bonus Tip: Post, but Don't Panic At some point, you will file your college admissions application. With these tips, and add determined intellect, you have an excellent chance of being accepted to an American university.
Take a look at our college essay samples to get an idea of what colleges are looking for in your essay.