When the college essay is required as a part of the admissions process, it is important to give serious effort to its composition. No other piece of admissions criteria probably receives as much attention or generates as much discussion. The college essay is the perfect opportunity to reveal your intelligence, sense of humor, maturity, sincerity, enthusiasm and writing ability.
Areas of Evaluation
In general, colleges look for the following:
- Skill in using standard written English
- Depth of insight as reflected in content and substance and ability to reflect true feelings or opinions about a subject
- Creativity and uniqueness evidencing fresh and original viewpoints
Be careful to address what the directions request:
- Discuss something that has significantly contributed to your growth as a person.
- Assess your uniqueness as an individual; tell something about yourself not learned from other application information.
- Address your particular opinions or feelings on a specific topic.
- Reflect on your goals and aspirations by explaining how your education at that college will help you meet them.
Tips for Composing the Essay
Using these tips will help develop an essay that conveys your personal qualifications:
- DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO WRITE YOUR ESSAY!
- Make lists of your qualities as you know them (particularly any you know the college seeks), aspirations and goals, activities, honors and awards, personal or academic shortcomings you are trying to overcome, persons or courses which have influenced you and any specific strengths of the college (if you know them) and how you wish to avail yourself of them.
- Do a little research about yourself by asking others. Interview your parents, friends and teachers about what they feel your strengths and weaknesses are.
- Write a draft, making sure to address the particular directions for discussion.
- Put your draft aside for 24 hours and read again.
- Make corrections in sentence construction, grammar, punctuation and spelling. Read aloud what you’ve written to help you locate any rough spots you’ll wish to rework.
- If possible, let someone else, whose opinion you respect, read and evaluate your paper.
- Rewrite the essay, revising it with your evaluation in mind. Put it aside again and repeat the process until you’re satisfied.
- Type your essay unless a handwritten version is requested. Proofread again for any errors. Make it look as perfect as you can.
- Make sure you save a copy for your own files.
- Follow the instructions for mailing your essay and do so on time!