College Essay Format with Style Guide and Tips
We regularly check in with admissions officers from small liberal arts colleges, elite universities and state institutions. We’ve found that regardless of size, status or essay prompt, they all offer similar tips on all college essays:
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You’ll find all sorts of advice online about writing admissions essays; much of it inaccurate or confusing. As you near the end of your college application process and put the finishing touches on your essays, be careful whose advice you follow, and make sure you know your sources.
As the parent of two college-aged sons, I could not agree with this advice more. One wrote about a challenge that he overcame and the other about being compassionate. Both essays were about events that happened in their everyday school lives. Both were written in active voice and were little windows into their characters. Neither used the words challenge or compassionate. I am convinced that it was the strength and sincerity of their essays that opened the doors at the top schools that said “Yes” to my sons. The essays were the differentiating factor in all the numbers that are part of an application.
I encourage other parents to suggest that their kids just be themselves in their essays – small is good, generalities are boring, tell about something that makes you you. Oh, and read The Gatekeepers – – it offers the best insights into the college admissions process of any of the dozens of books I read on the topic.
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While there is no magic formula for the perfect admission essay, there are a few things prospective college students should know. Here are my Top Ten tips:
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Every year, Wow Writing Workshop’s college application essay experts review many stories just like this one. We send these stories back to our students with tips to help them answer the question, and also stand out in the crowd.
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Kim Lifton is president of . You can read Kim’s blogs and get useful writing tips by signing up for . Wow is also on and. Check their to sign up for webinars and workshops on college admissions essays. Remember this: The college essay subject is YOU; the topic is secondary.
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“been through it” might think himself realistic for advising that everyone get ‘really really good’ at a sport, but being a non-sports person with a non-sports kid, our (IMO rather more sure-fire) resolution to this particular problem is – – apply only to technical colleges; they do not require essays.
Basic Prompts and Tips on College Essay Writing
Most college admission officers agree that a student’s character is the most difficult thing to measure on the application. College essays are the place for students to reveal their personal stories in an authentic, engaging and sincere way . In addition to what has already been mentioned, it’s important to read the essay prompts carefully and understand the intent of the question.