College essay how-to’s

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By: Erin Lowe <elowe@hilite.org>

Writing a college essay is difficult, not to mention stressful, but it can be made easier by sticking to a few guidelines. Keep in mind that admissions officers are looking to learn more about you as a person. Always remember to give yourself ample time to edit and peer-review, and for an added bonus, have a teacher read it over too. To get you started, here are some quick tips:

1. Be interesting — Write about a subject in a way that isn’t predictable or boring. Think about whether or not you would want to read it.

2. Write about yourself — Give insight on your personality and make a personal connection. Don’t write about something too impersonal. Let admissions know something about you, behind the things they see on your transcript.

3. Choose an essay topic that is not obvious from the rest of your application — Tell the admissions officers something that they don’t already know about you. Be unique and personal. Don’t say something obvious. Write about something that may not have had a specific mention in your application or on your transcript.

4. Make your point clearly. What is the significant point you want to convey?

5. Be honest — it does not benefit anyone to lie on an essay and also is difficult to maintain a lie.

6. Choose your most important characteristics and strengths and think of examples, stories, quotes or experiences that describe those — Make sure there is a valid point to your story.

7. The essay should have a clear message up front — Use a quote. Don’t use words you wouldn’t normally use in conversation. Use humor appropriately.

8. Rewrite, revise — do it again and again — Get input and have people proof the essay to make sure that it shows the best work possible. Ask your English teacher for his or her corrections.

9. Visit your counselor or college and career resource center for additional information and help.

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