Colleges often ask for a personal essay to understand their future students better. This might seem like a hectic task to some but eventually, writing about yourself should be taken as a fun activity. It is a great way to make an impression on the admission counsellors and secure a seat into your dream college. But this might scare you a little since if it’s not done right, it will end up reducing your chances of being selected. You can be great in academics but to get yourself in, written communication plays an important role.
If you are thinking that your good grades are enough to secure yourself a seat then you might be wrong. Most reputed colleges receive applications from students with similar grades. Due to this, they consider other factors to make their final decision which includes personal essays as well. To help you with this, we have come up with some tips that you can use to write a commendable college essay describing yourself in the best possible manner.
Let It Revolve Around You
Personal essays should always revolve around you or how certain things or people affected the choices that you made. In order to ensure your essay gets attention, focus more on you and how your decisions eventually affected your life. For example, if you are writing about a particular trip that you took then try writing about what you learned from that trip. The essay should help the people reading it in understanding you better. If it talks about every irrelevant thing but you, then it’s time to rewrite it a little. Be carefree and as honest as possible while writing about you. You get the spotlight and all you need to do is perform a little you.
Do Not Focus On Pleasing People
If you are putting in all your effort to write a college essay that will please the readers then you will most likely fail. Why? Every admission counsellor is different which is why the college essays that they love differs. No matter how much you analyze, you cannot crack the algorithm. Instead of guessing or trying to understand the pattern, put in all your effort into being relevant and authentic. Once the admission counsellor starts reading your essay, he should see the passion coming right through your words. Your passion eventually decides whether or not you are worthy of being in a reputed college. If you are merely trying to impress the readers by bragging random partially true facts then you are only reducing your chances of entering your dream college.
Use Humor To Your Advantage
The best part about writing a college essay is that you do not have to be formal at all. If you are known for being the funniest person in your group then why not add some humor to your college essay as well? Also, remember that the counsellors have been reading college essays since years. If you try to fake it then it wouldn’t take long for them to find out. All that you need to do is unleash your creativity and let it flow through your essay. Even if you are adding humor to your essay, try not making it all about jokes.
Add Something Different
You already know that college essays are just a part of the application. The counsellors already have a bunch of other stuff with them. If you are just writing about the things that they know about you then it is of no good to them. Do not spend time writing about your academics since all that knowledge is already with them. Try to be as much unique as you possibly can be while writing the essay. Evaluate yourself and see what’s worth being a part of the essay on Reddit. What can be better than putting you into a little self questioning?
Try taking Other People’s Inputs
If you feel stuck and you have nowhere better to go then run to your closest people. Your friends, family, and teachers know enough about you to get you started. They will point out your strengths and weaknesses which you can eventually write about in your essay.
Also, they can remind you of some stories that ended up teaching you something. You can collect as much information as you want but the main task is to mould that information to your advantage. Also, remember that you only want inputs or ideas from the people you know. Never ask them to write your college essay since in the end, no one knows you better than yourself. Furthermore, nothing can spoil your first impression more than the fact that you asked someone for a favor that you needed to give yourself.
Edit, Edit, Edit Till You Get The Final Draft
In the above tips, we asked you to be completely yourself while writing the college essay. But minor grammatical errors are not at all attractive. You need to keep checking and editing your essay to ensure you properly communicate with your reader. While reading your essay, the readers must feel like he is having an actual conversation with you. The way you write about yourself says a lot and needs to be done right. No one likes reading long boring essays filled with factual information.
You need to have good written communication skills to assure your essay stands out in a bunch of college essays. If you are confused whether or not the essay is doing its work right then have a friend who can read it out for you. He will help you in marking the errors that you can eventually correct. Also, no matter how delayed you submitted your college assignments, never leave this to be done at the last moment. Make sure you do it a few days earlier to have a look from the fresh eyes and know what needs to be added and deleted. There is no way you can edit it once you send it out. Therefore, take enough time to write, evaluate, and correct your essay.
What Sets You Apart From The Crowd?
Most reputed colleges are willing to take in talented crowds in their campus. You can be excellent in studies but other crucial areas are evaluated before making the final decision. All that you need to do is sit and get into a little questioning. If you have stories regarding a problem that you recently encountered and chose a completely innovative way to get out of it then this is something to write about. Problem-solving skills play an important role in your overall persona. You can add as many qualities as you like in your essay.
For example, you can write that you never give up. But do you have a particular situation that occurred to you and you fought till the end? The point is to show them that you are not just bragging about yourself but time and again, showing you have these qualities. Try to back up facts about yourself with stories and you are good to go. Never try to sound smarter and be yourself while writing your college essay. Your counselors want to know the real you. Do not add things that might make your essay a part of the bunch of essays that are read and forgotten in an instant.
Give Enough Importance To College Essay Guidelines
We know that you are thrilled to write the stories running in your head. But it is of utmost importance to read the guidelines carefully. There is a reason they are given there and it is essential to give attention to them. If you ignore those guidelines then it puts a bad first impression that you might even ignore the further college guidelines or instructions given by the teacher. Therefore, before you start writing, make sure you read the instructions properly.
Before starting with your first draft, make sure you make a proper outline. An outline will prevent you from stopping in between while writing the essay. If you start randomly and see where it goes, there are chances of being stuck and short of words. Start by thorough thinking and make notes of all the points you feel are important enough to be added to your personal essay.
Catch The Attention From The Very Beginning
A boring introduction prevents readers from reading further. If the beginning is catchy then you can assure they will be interested in reading further. Make sure you hook them to your writing in the beginning and you are good to go. The introduction is the part that you need to edit the most to ensure you write the best possible introduction that you can. Try reflecting on your personality through an experience that you encountered in your life. Anyone can write about the traits that make them different but a few can tell how and why. Even if you don’t begin it with a story, make sure you help them in getting a clear idea of who you are as a person from the very start.
Avoid Sticking To The Pattern
As soon as college essays come into the picture, students spend time seeing examples online. They somehow mold the same examples and present them in front of counselors. If you think the cliched pattern will help you stand out then you might be wrong. Most of the students does this and thereby, end up missing their chance of proving they are different. Before you try to do the same, understand that they are reading essays for years and it wouldn’t take them long to figure out you used the internet as your major source of inspiration. Do you really think the internet knows who you are better than you do?
How Do You See The World AKA Your POV?
Counselors are willing to see the world through your eyes and it’s your responsibility to guide them through that. Try to show them how you view things and what makes you different. If you think that your angle of viewing things does not matter then you might be wrong. Try giving as many examples as you can to support your angle of viewing things.
Take Help In Proofreading Your Essay
Once you have shown your best angle in the essay and came up with a final draft, it’s time to proofread your essay. You might have done that as well but you need fresh eyes and perspective to make it worth sending. Try to take help of a friend or family member who can proofread your work. Also, ensure it is someone who hasn’t read the rough drafts. They will help you in understanding whether or not the essay speaks for you. If you are still unsure, take help from a few different people or popular proofreading services. In the end, you need to show the best of you in the personal essay.
The Final Verdict
There are all the tips you need to get started and craft an extraordinary college essay that will help you in securing a seat. Due to this, you might feel overwhelmed and stressed at the same time. Do not let the stress ruin your beautiful opportunity of getting in. A calm mind will help you in coming up with great ideas and stories that are worthy of being added in the personal essay.
Once you have the prompt, it’s time to get into a thinking session and come up with ideas. More than writing the essay, you need to focus on the thinking part. This is where you get started and eventually move forward to bring out the best in you. Do not try to complete it in one go. If you feel like you are short of ideas then stop right there. Take some rest and begin again. Writing is an art and you cannot force yourself in writing the best piece. The point here is to show them your perspective in a clear manner. Avoid irrelevant facts about yourself and you are good to go.