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Tips for Writing a Strong a Strong College Admission Essay


There are distinct differences between excellent college admissions essays and mediocre college admissions essays. As an honors advisor, I read through thousands of essays and very few stood out. You want to capture an admission offer’s attention early and then lead them through a great essay to rise above the other submissions. Let’s explore 5 ways to write a strong college admissions essay.


1. Start Strong, End Strong
You win, or lose, that admissions officer’s attention within the first few sentences. First impressions count. You need to start with a great hook. I recommend setting a scene, and including sensory details. Showing, rather than telling. Don’t feel like you have to set your essay up – cut to the chase and get right down to business. Remember, those first few sentences will either grab or lose your reader’s attention. So give him/her reasons to want to continue reading!

2. Be Vivid and Specific in Your Essay
The middle of the essay should tell the story in vivid, specific detail. It should also connect the dots, explaining why you chose to apply to that particular school or scholarship. Remind your reader that what you learned in the story, or the attribute or quality the story exemplifies is what you will bring to that campus community. Here are some tips to remember for dynamite middles:

  • Use sensory details.
  • Write it like a story.
  • Don’t be “being”- avoid the passive verb “to be” in all of its various forms.


3. Be Yourself
One of the mistakes we frequently see is the tendency to want to be larger than life, to be someone else in the essay. The admissions officer is interested in you! Write your essays from your experiences and your point of view. You are interesting and you have a story to share. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be applying to this college!

4. Be Creative in Your Approach
An admissions officer usually has to read several thousand essays during the application process. As you can imagine, this wears them down. Adding a little creativity and flair to your essay will help it stand out. Creativity takes an essay from ordinary to extraordinary!

5. Edit Your Admission Essays
80%+ of the essays submitted with a college admissions application were lightly edited, or not edited at all. We help students through our essay editing service EssayLady to assure you that your first or second draft is not the one you submit with your application. When you  edit your admission essay, and have an outside party edit it again, you know you are submitting your best. Even if you don’t use Essay Lady, find someone with college admissions essay editing experience to help you polish the essay before submitting it to your dream college.

These 5 tips will help you write a strong college admissions essay to help you get into the college of your dreams!
Heather Tomasello