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Tips on Completing the College Application Personal Statement

The summer is an ideal time to get a head start on college application personal statements. Tips for writing a strong essay follow.

(1) Be Personal and Display Growth

Essay writers want to know about an interesting experience in your life, but they need to know what you did with that experience to change your life for the better. You must demonstrate how this experience affected you, what you gained, and how it helped you to mature. Show passion in your writing.

(2) Good Writing is Clear and Succinct

Don’t use difficult or unusual words and don’t be wordy or flowery. Moreover, longer is not better. Readers have many essays to read so don’t burden them with a lengthy essay when a five paragraph essay will work better.

(3) Watch Your Grammar (The Colleges Will)

Write in an active strong voice, not the passive voice. “I found the wet, dripping dog” vs “The dog was found.” Avoid unnecessary adverbs and adjectives and focus on clarity.

(4) Avoid Generalities and Be Specific

For example, if you are writing about a trip, do not give your itinerary. Focus on an interesting detail instead. The more specific you are, the more likely it is to be interesting and meaningful to the reader.

(5) Be Careful of Humor

Most attempts at humor fail because people think they are funny and rarely are.

(6) Topics to Avoid Writing About

Your religious beliefs unless applying to a religious college and your political beliefs. This doesn’t include working for a candidate. Also avoid writing about how great you are or anything that would make a reader embarrassed. In addition, don’t write about anything which reveals you to be a poor student or assert that the only reason you want to go to college is to make a lot of money.

(7) Have a Strong Writer Proof Read Your Essay

Don’t write your admissions essay in isolation. Have a strong writer such as a private counselor read it over for content, style, and grammar.

Remember that your essay must demonstrate that you can write and that you are a mature and interesting person that they would enjoy having at their school. It’s time to start brainstorming on that essay!

David Dickson is a college admissions counselor at Top Test Prep which offers tutoring and test preparation with admissions experts who help you gain admission to your top schools. Call (800) 501-7737 to learn more about college counseling programs for students.

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