Now that you’ve decided which colleges (or online universities) that you want to attend, it’s time to get serious about crafting an effective essay for the admissions department. This is where you should really set yourself apart from the other students who are clamoring for your spot on the freshman roster. More than just another resume, the college application essay is the perfect opportunity for you to show how focused you are on created a successful life for yourself. Here’s how to get started:
1. Focus on yourself more than your accomplishments. Although you do want to communicate your various activities and memberships during your school years, it’s important to remember to give an idea of who you are as a person. For example, why did you opt to participate in band rather than sports?
2. Give specific details about your goals. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to major in, it’s important to let the administration board know what you hope to get from your college experience. Everyone wants to learn and have more time to grow, but do you want to have the opportunity to live away from home and meet a diverse new group of people in the process? If so, this is your chance to explain why.
3. Don’t let your essay turn into a resume. Your transcripts and high school accomplishments will appear elsewhere in the application, so do your best to focus on other areas about yourself in your essay. You can reference your resume and comment that all it entails has helped you evolve into the young adult that you have become and helped to prepare you to meet challenges in your future, but don’t simply list your resume details. The fact that you played volleyball, for instance, taught you about teamwork and how to come back from the loser’s bracket to win a championship.
4. If you are the kind of student who doesn’t have a lot of obvious experience to draw from, think about a book that you’ve read that perhaps molded your current attitudes about the environment, for example. Or maybe there was a time in your early adulthood when you took a risk that taught you a valuable lesson to draw from later.
Now that you have a good idea how to get started, try to lighten up and enjoy the process. Many times the act of writing the essay itself serves to enlighten the writer as well.
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