How to Write a Perfect College Admission Essay

author By Mary Boies
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Most colleges will require you to submit an essay as part of the admission process. It comes in handy when the grades and other qualifications do not offer means to sieve the best candidates.

A college essay, also popular as an admission essay, is critical to seal or break your academic aspirations. Whether you graduate high school with excellent grades or graduate from your undergraduate and seek to expand your studies to a master's level, you must write an admission essay.

The admissions committees receive thousands of admission essays and personal statements, which means yours should stand out. It is your chance to set yourself apart from everyone else when the recommendation letters, test scores, and extracurricular activities mean nothing because all of you have them right.

If you understand the bells and whistles of writing an essay, writing an outstanding college essay should be a walk in the park. Although it might sound like a tough task, your academic success entirely depends; it is manageable if you know what to do in it. 

Only a strong college admission essay will serve as a currency to get you to your dream college, university, and sometimes graduate programs.

In this detailed guide, our admission essay experts/consultants take you through the top tips to help you craft a vivid admission essay that every admissions officer wants to read and one that will go viral like the famous Costco essay. 

Related Reading: Strategies for preparing for the ACT.

Why do Students Write College Essays

A winning college application essay is the lifeblood of your application. As such, it must capture your genuine personality, ambitions, strengths and weaknesses, aspirations, performance in extra-curricular activities, and any other aspect beyond your academic performance.

College admission officers use admission essays to eliminate different candidates, especially if there are few slots. The officers also use college essays to test whether your background, qualities, and performance align with the vision of the college or university to which you are applying.

In this respect, you should succinctly share your life experiences, failures, adversities, triumphs, influences, and principles to enable the admissions committee to create a vivid picture of yourself by just reading the essay.

Most admission essays range between 300 and 650 words, and to shrink your encounters and life story in such a scope means you can comprehend and learn anything.

The admission officers also use the admission essays to understand those who will most likely cope with college or university-level writing. A well-written college application essay announces your readiness to undergo college/university education.

Here are some tips and tricks to start your college application essay.

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What do Admission Boards/Committees focus on?

Imagine having to read more than 3 million essays that land on various admission desks in universities across the United States: it is tedious. We are talking about applications both by native students and international students. To narrow the count of those getting accepted into the school of higher learning, most universities look for two pertinent aspects when submitting your college application.

  1. The university admission officers focus on your academic resume, which entails your GPA, ACT or SAT scores, and coursework. This evidence shows you are ready for college and meet the minimum threshold for any aspiring candidate. As you include the academic records, upload your extracurricular activities, work experiences, volunteering, and recommendations as necessary.
  2. The second focus is on the evidence of your resilience, maturity level, character, commitment, leadership skills, problem-solving capacity, awareness, respect, critical thinking, and responsibility/trustworthiness: just about anything far from academics that sets you apart from the mammoth of applicants. In short, the admission board wants to know your personality and striking personal attributes.

Most of the online university application requirements will give you a hint of what your chosen institution needs in the essay. In truth, your admission essay should be able to bring out:

Having these four facts in your statement, directly or indirectly, will most likely raise the chances of acceptance.

Tips and Tricks on how to Write a College Essay

You are boldly wrong if you think that the college admission committee does not read essays. Every college essay is eventually read, but the most outstanding essays can be read and scrutinized more than once. It is painful to trash an essay.

College essays and personal statements are similar. Both are essays where you write about yourself to a college you must attend. College essays allow you to communicate with the committee about what you are beyond your school transcripts. Here are 14 great tips for writing a college essay.

1. Read the college admission essay prompt

As you apply to different colleges or universities, you will note that each has an application essay prompt. Understanding the essay prompt helps you to plan your essay well.

Read and re-read the essay questions and begin thinking of what aspects of your life answer the questions. When reading the prompt, make short notes and brainstorm.

Every university has unique prompts that change depending on what the admission officers seek. For instance, since the pandemic had wreaked havoc in 2020, most admission essays in the future are likely to focus on how students coped with the pandemic and how the same can contribute to their efforts and success in their college or university of choice.

Do not rush through the process of reading and internalizing the prompt. Instead, take your time, as it will be the foundation of your college application.

As you read, make notes on what comes to mind as you read. When done, enter the brainstorming phase, where you sort ideas to include in your application essay.

Related Article: How to read effectively for essays and research papers. 

2. Brainstorm on what to write

As you read the prompt or after a short break, whet your appetite for creativity by creating ideas. One way is to reflect on your life, social interaction, spirituality, beliefs, challenges, and wins. Write every idea and sort them into a great outline later. Choose the best ideas to include and discard those not fitting into the application essay context.

As you brainstorm, list your life expectations, ambitions, and experiences. If there are people who have influenced your life choices and moves, list them as long as they relate to what is being asked in the prompt.

Do not forget to highlight your talents, skills, personal interests, achievements, and encounters.

3. Read other Essays to Inspire your Writing

One great thing about renowned authors and essayists is their zeal and commitment to reading widely. After brainstorming, reading other essays to inspire you to write yours is imperative.

Many examples of application essays for high school, undergraduate, college, and university or graduate schools online exist. Skimming through these samples can boost your creativity and offer you a perspective to approach your college admission essay.

If anything, reading the sample essays rejected by different colleges can also help you avoid pitfalls that the failed students fell into. Look for a common pattern for the best college admission essay samples as you read.

A great example is the Costco essay. If you get as creative as the essay models' level, you will probably write an entry essay that finally gets you accepted.

4. Choose and stick to one topic

A college essay is not a rainbow coloring competition. While there is so much to write, the essay prompt can guide and restrict the extent of the information you give.

In this respect, as a prospective student, write about your motivations, aspirations, and how the college will make you meet them.

At this point, you declare or decide the story about yourself that will convince your target audience: the admission officers. A strong college application essay narrows the focus to the most critical aspects that tick the checkboxes in the prompt.

Have a great hook that signals the start of your story and a great conclusion that ends it but leaves your reader on a journey to discovering who you are.

As you look at the list of topics, select the one with the sweetest and most convincing story, then boil it down to bare bones. A special element in a story makes it stand out : find and run with it in your essay.

Remember, writing will become easier when you have the notes as you expand the ideas built in the early stages.

5. Never use a Thesaurus: Do Not Complicate!

Avoid using the thesaurus when writing your admission essays. We insist that simplicity always charms its way even when complexity can't squeeze its fingers.

Do not use big vocabulary or try to impress the admission officer.

In the same way, avoid using colloquial expressions, which can be decoded to mean different things.

Most seasoned admission officers will spot an admission essay written based on a thesaurus at first glance and hate it immediately.

An alternative choice of words that befit the context can save you embarrassment and increase your chances of acceptance.

6. Create an outline - Sketch it Out before Writing

An outline for a college essay does not resemble a standard essay. Instead, it highlights some of the aspects to include in the paper.

Given the word count, it helps organize the points to include in different paragraphs.

The outline is the essay structure that will help you add flesh to the essay to make it adorable.

Remember the Costco Essay? It stood out because the student used a great outline and aced the essay.

7. Write the Essay Draft as if it's a feature story

Now that you have chosen the story to tell the admission officers, you must write the college essay with the precision it deserves. This is where the rubber meets the road. Now that you have a clear picture of what the essay will be like, it is imperative to write it without delay. Here are some tips:

An excellent example of an opening hook could be:

If it were not education, I wonder how civilization baton would pass down different generations. Would we ever reach such heights of advancement?

An example of a theme hook can look like this:

Art has always calmed my mini demons, twisted my thoughts, and calmed my soul. It is the fire that constantly melts my creativity since when I knew how to put it on paper.

Here is an excellent example of an ending hook:

Although everything seemed impossible and dark for me, overcoming my adversities and finding refuge in my resilience has made me stand out. I am a versatile individual whose independent thinking, creativity, imagination, and understanding have won many friends, even in the strangest of places. I have so far learned that if the heart, body, and soul are committed to attaining something, the universe rewards us with success. I am limitless, I can only grow to as much as my imagination holds, and this is what will make me unique and an important missing link for the institution's diversity and growth in the mindset of my peers.

8. Write it as though it is an autobiography

An autobiography is a biography of yourself written by yourself. When writing an autobiography, you focus on things many people do not know about you.

If you take this approach when writing your admission essay, the chances are that it will be 100% unique.

In this case, you will dive deep into your history, aspirations, and how you view yourself as part of the college or university you seek admission.

9. NEVER Lie but be Creative

We embellish and elaborate on our experiences in our CVs; the same happens when writing personal statements. However, do not lie when writing your personal statement, as it could land you in trouble. One way is through being consistent from the introduction to the conclusion.

Although admission essay writing is a form of creative writing, resist the urge to get overly creative by being crafty. Avoid exaggerating your encounters or experience.

Even as you creatively present ideas, let every account on your admission essay truly reflect who you are.

When writing this vital essay about yourself, you could maintain honesty by acknowledging your weaknesses and misjudgments, which ultimately creates authenticity.

Remain true to your identity, and you will win the heart of the admissions committee.

10. Write on your computer and not the Template

Do not write directly into the template provided as you write your essay. Mainly, these templates are restrictive in word and character count. This means that when an essay is 300 words, they cut the rest of the words and leaves your application incomplete.

However, a word processor or Google Doc also gives you the word count, which can serve the same purpose. You will estimate the number of words and copy and paste them to the template.

Although the temptation of writing directly into the application box is irresistible, word documents and Google Docs allow you to use the spellcheck and word count features.

Moreover, if you have integrated Grammarly into your word document, you will edit and proofread the school admission essay and paste it later.

11. Use Analogies and Examples

Using examples or analogies from your life experiences is prudent as you narrate your life.

Note all the significant events in your life that have contributed to your beliefs, principles, and resilience.

Explain how you overcame obstacles, your leadership positions, and stories of your challenges.

For instance, if you are an immigrant to the U.S., write about the adversities you faced and how you overcame them.

A good example would be learning English, overcoming culture shock, and acculturation. When you use vivid examples, you will ultimately create a flowing story that aligns with the prompt.

12. Do not Let Anyone Write Your Essay

An essay about yourself can never exhaustively be written by someone else. It is a unique reflection essay about your true person, achievements, challenges, and everything else required and fit the prompt's description.

As such, a friend could write it for you, but you can only do better by improving what they've written. In the same way, students order admission essays online to get inspired by professional formatting and approach. In the end, your own words count and sound better than what someone else has done.

Getting caught paying someone else to write your admission essay has repercussions such as automatic disqualification. The only thing you can do is to order such essays, plan your essay, and write the best essay using the format and insights from the samples.

The chances of getting identical college applications are higher with the internet age. If you want a uniquely written college application essay, read these essays or order custom samples, but further trim them to have your tone and feel. Heeding this call will earn you a spot at your preferred university.

13. Read the Essay Aloud to Yourself

Take a break from writing when you have put up a great piece. Calm down and even forget about the essay. The essence here is to forget the challenges faced by writing and dawn a professional being: you become another ňúliterary' different person and then read the essay aloud to yourself. As you read, ask yourself:

No matter how perfectly you think you've written your essay, take a break- let it sit, then rewrite it, but this time is careful. The purpose of re-writing the admission essay is to be sure that you are unbiased and that you will take an objective stance that can help you spot an error.

14. Have someone else read your Essay

After reading your essay to yourself, it is also imperative to have someone else read it. A second and third eye: an editor or proofreader could see something that your biased eyes and ears could have missed. Most of the students who use our editing and proofreading services feel silly for simple omissions and errors.

Ask the person for honest opinions on grammar, punctuation, transition and flow, readability, and relevance.

Fortunately, such a fresh perspective and constructive feedback can help you seal loopholes that can otherwise deny you the chance to attend the best or your dream college.  Use these to make your college application essay stand out from the 99%, guaranteeing you a chance into the college of your dreams.

Here are some quick proofreading and editing tips:

15. Avoid Including the Prompt as Part of the Essay

Even though you are given prompts to guide your college essay writing process, they should never be part of the word count.

If you are pasting the contents of your admission essay into the application box, try to limit your word count to the specified word count. DO NOT use the prompt as your heading unless instructed to do so in the instructions.

16. Use Standard Formatting

The text boxes are preformatted when making online college or university admission applications. In this respect, there is not so much you can do with the formatting other than pasting the work, and that is it.

However, avoid using fancy fonts when creating a college application essay on a Word processor. Instead, use basic fonts such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman font 12. The content should be your number one priority and not the appearance. Also, avoid using emojis, and hashtags, and underlining the work when composing an admission essay. Keep it plain and simple.

When pasting the admission essay content into the online content box, make sure that you countercheck to ensure that the formatting is maintained. Ensure the paragraphs are also intact.

17. Follow the submission instructions

If you are to submit your essay as a separate document, ensure that your paper has:

18. Use the Correct File Format when Submitting

Every college has a unique set of submission guidelines that guide how you format your college essay application. If you are asked for specific credentials such as ID number or passport size photograph, include the same in your application.

When it finally comes to submitting the paper, again, follow the instructions. Some colleges prefer PDF formats while other Word documents, so you need to be keen on the format you choose.

Risks and Pitfalls when Ordering College Entry Essays Online

Ordering a customized admission essay from websites that write essays is a preferable alternative to most people.

However, most aspiring candidates do not know that not all websites have what it takes to craft an excellent sample college essay.

At its worst, you might end up with a series of sentences in the name of an admission essay. Do not be a news item because you ordered your essay from a website that does not value privacy and confidentiality.

You can avoid some pitfalls by ordering your college admission essay at EssayManiacs.

1. Incompetent Admission Essay Writers

Anybody can pose as a great admission essay writer online until they can work on your essay.

We have reviewed and edited personal statements, diversity statements, and statements of purposes written by incompetent writers elsewhere. 

Our admission writing service employs competent writers whose livelihood depends on writing and who do it passionately.

2. Scam college admission essay services

You have heard stories where students buy admission essays online and are blackmailed into paying more.

Many websites scam students despite charging higher for poor-quality work. Illegitimate online writing websites have been flagged in the news, and some have made students pay a higher price.

Our graduate admission essay service is legitimate, reliable, and 100% confidential. You get what you pay for!

3. Rogue support teams

Have you ever been stuck with questions only for a rogue support agent to rudely intervenes without or with little help? We feel the pain. Many students who trusted cheap essay writing services have lamented their encounters with these hell-sent little demons.

Unlike many writing services, EssayManisc's support team offers a 100% positive customer experience. We value and appreciate every client. Do not outsource your admission essay writing to a website with rogue support agents.

Some agents will email you directly after stealing your details only to fleece money out of you. Luckily, we have a mandatory NDA binding to our writers, support, and writer management teams.

4. Costly sample college essay fees

There is no joy in having to pay more for something that can be affordable. Some websites, especially those that have stayed long in the market, tend to charge clients more.

Even though premium packages such as selecting a top 10 writer, using a preferred writer, progressive delivery, getting a plagiarism report, and getting lists of sources used cost more, the cost should not override your budget.

At EssayManiacs, we have an affordable and sound pricing policy that factors into your situation as a student. Our pricing is student-friendly, and we also have discounts and referral earnings that can be used to reduce costs further.

5. Underdone College Essays

We do not like taking advantage of you when you trust us to write your college papers online. Our charges are on par with the high-quality products you get. In our experience, students lament over underdone college essays that sometimes cost them slots in college.

We advise you to use the papers as model papers to write your papers from scratch. Alternatively, work with the writer, so the final draft has much of your input. In the latter case, you will edit and own the paper.

Do not fall prey to the websites that promise to write plagiarism-free admission essays but end up writing trash. Yes, we said it because we see it every day!

Avoid poor-quality college admission essays by hiring our essay experts to walk the journey of applying to college with you.

Parting Shot!

We have taken you through 18 steps to writing a perfect college admission essay. We are confident that you will write a strong college admission essay that will earn you a coveted spot in the College or University of your dreams.

When the grades level the curve, the admission essays perturb the curve, making the weak fall and the strong survive through admission. This guide has trained you to write the greatest college essays as a Spartan.

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You must determine the best route: writing it yourself or getting customized samples from EssayManiacs experts.

Beyond helping you get into school, we have experts who will craft college admission essay examples to earn you scholarships, grants, funding, and other financial aid. Hire an essay writer to help you with the "do my college essay" request. 

We are glad you invested your time in learning to craft memorable school essays, which has paid you rich dividends. Refer your friends to our services, and let's keep growing.

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