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College Application Essay Tips

Tip 1: Be Yourself!

When writing your college application essays, you have to keep in mind the admissions officer’s job. Every year, the admissions officer assigned to your region or to your last name has to come into their office and read through hundreds, if not thousands, of personal statements and essays. After a while, many of these essays start sounding the same, especially those that are prone to follow similar formulas. Your goal, as an applicant, is to stand out from the rest. But how do you do that?


It’s easy! The best thing that you can emphasize in your application essay is YOURSELF. Like Dr. Seuss wrote, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You!” That’s very true, in that no other applicant will be the same as you or will share the same experiences as you, and as an applicant, you have to use that to your advantage. What makes you unique? What are you passionate about? What things have happened to you that helped shape how you see yourself and the world around you? What makes you excited to wake up in the morning? These are the things you should draw upon when writing your essay. It’s the little things that truly help define who you are that will help you stick out among the rest.


In addition, when writing about personal experiences and passions, be sure to let your personality shine through. The admissions officer is not looking for just another applicant who writes without style or flair or individuality. The last thing a tired, bored, admissions officer wants to read is another essay about “How becoming class president was my greatest achievement”. The problem with many essays is that they feature common experiences, and highlight ordinary reactions. This leads to many essays reaching the admissions officer’s desk with the same or similar structures and stories. This is not to say that writing about a common experience is a bad thing. However, if you choose to go that route, make sure you’re not saying the same thing that someone else could write about. Maybe being class president WAS actually your greatest achievement, but instead of writing about how it helped teach you leadership behavior, really delve into why that position affected you, as an individual. Make your essay unique. Your life is interesting! It’s up to you to translate your experiences into an engaging story.


Most importantly, when writing your application essays, never pretend to be someone you’re not. The admissions officers are not looking for someone who portrays themselves as a perfect individual, because they know that is a lie. They’ll be able to see through the falsehoods in your essay if you try to develop and portray an alter-ego that does not represent who you are. Don’t worry about fitting the mold of the ideal college student. Instead, focus on how you can best depict who you really are through your own words. Today, you are You!