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Making a Strong College Essay: Important Tips

Writing college essays can be very scary and most high schoolers’ dread it with all their might. It’s
natural to psyche yourself out over this; it could be days before you stop staring at your computer and actually start putting something down at least. Yes, we get that.

Then again, you must know that You Can Do This and this is the one thing that you have total control over. Better start immediately, because writing, editing and proofreading one can take days on end to get it right, successfully.

So even if you did gather the courage and got something down on paper or your computer, here are some important tips to consider for making your essay stronger.

  • Pick the story: Here is your chance to communicate something that gives your evaluators a glimpse of who you really are – not your scores, not your projects – this story needs to have a twist where you faced a challenge and how you overcame it with perseverance, practice or something else that is related to your area of interest. Whatever it is, it needs to have a happy ending; with, how that particular incident or experience helped you become better, helped you grow.
  • Leave out the obvious: Writing about your pet or your vacation may not really tell anyone if you are a person with character; besides, it would be like being a part of the pack. Stand out! Write something unique that immediately peaks the interest of your readers.
  • Trying too hard: Yes you want to make it different, so why not throw in a few jokes in there. It could work, but it will surely backfire if you try too hard to be funny, especially if you are a serious person by nature. Be yourself. Let it flow naturally, don’t try too hard or it’ll show.
  • Make it vivid: Most students tend to create essays that are generic, but remember, these essays can be very boring. Add details, make it vivid, so it’s interesting to witness the story unfold till the end.
  • Opening: Work twice as hard to make our introduction, especially creative so it immediately grabs the reader’s attention, after all, they have to plow through hundreds of them in a day. Mix it up!
  • Keep it shorter: No more than 500 words. Most times, less is more. Add a title; it’s not mandatory, but if it’s short and puts your wits on display, then do it.
  • Don’t totally rely on adult-helpers: Often times a parent, an older sibling or a trusted English teacher is looked up to, for guidance on essays. But then the essay begins to sound like the tone of a 40-year-old or someone older even, not a teenager. Evaluators can always sense it if the essay is written by you or not, so tread carefully there.

It’s easy to rewrite something off the internet, but an essay that truly stands out is one that is written after a lot of introspection and more often than not, evaluators can sense it, too.

About the Author:

Nicole Stansley is a content manager and writer for educational projects (i.e. She writes for students and graduates striving to help them with questions of productivity, motivation, career choices, healthy lifestyle.


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