Tips on Editing Your College Admissions Essay
There are two ways to approach writing a college admissions essay: finding a unique subject, or finding a unique angle on a familiar subject. In addition to displaying your writing abilities, a college admissions essay helps round out your character to an admissions committee. It reveals – or is intended to reveal – who you are. Try not to be intimidated when a college gives you the freedom to choose any topic. Once you have a list of possible topics, trust that a unique angle – in other words, your honest perspective – can make almost any subject interesting, even if it’s something the college has heard about many times before.
First, ask yourself if you’ve had any outstanding experiences – a moment in time, a vacation spent volunteering, sports camp, or a semester abroad. “Outstanding” doesn’t have to mean exotic. It can be an experience that meant something to you – whether it made you sad, made you grateful, or challenged you in a particular area. Maybe it was the three months you spent on crutches sporting a giant plastic boot. Or maybe it was the week you helped your parents make all the traditional Thanksgiving foods from scratch.
If your outstanding experience took place over a significant span of time, consider narrowing in on a particular moment that is especially representative. A single moment or anecdote can jump-start your essay, leading into a broader admissions essay theme.
Stories are fascinating. I will always recommend working a narrative element into your college admissions essay, whether it’s starting out with a story, working some background and some analysis into the middle, and finishing the essay with how the story ended.
Ensure that your admissions essay appears polished by 1) giving it a title and 2) making absolutely sure that there are no grammatical errors or misspellings. Enlist an editor you trust to read it over before you submit it.
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