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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.

Top Test Prep offers college admissions counseling, including help with your college admissions essays.

Contact Top Test Prep to get help with your college admissions essays and college admissions counseling by calling (800) 501-7737.

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