What's the Best Advice for Writing a College Essay?

There's a lot of advice on how to write the college application essay, but you need to be careful who you listen to. Find out the best (and worst) tips here!

Kim LiftonKim Lifton
President
Wow Writing Workshop
There’s a lot of advice out there when it comes to writing the college essay. We’ve read and heard it all—and if you’re a high school junior or senior planning your own essay writing process, you’ve probably heard it too! But you should be careful about what you believe:  

  • Some folks share templates for writing standout college essays. (Email templates can be useful, but essay templates don’t work!)
  • Others promise that if you answer a bunch of specific questions, you’ll be guaranteed great essays. (Nope—you should never use an essay writing service.)
  • There are countless books on the market filled with sample college essays that apparently got students just like you admitted into the nation’s most selective schools. (This type of claim is out of context; even the most amazing essay never got a student into college on its own!)
  • Some people might tell you there are only a few types of college admission essays; if you master those, you’ll be golden. (Come on…really?)

Trust me—there’s only one type of college essay admission officers want to read. And that’s your story written in your own words and in your own voice.

If you’ve downloaded Wow Writing Workshop’s free tip sheets, watched our student webinars, or read our book for students, you know we understand a lot about the college essay and like to share our knowledge with parents and students. We operate on three principles that can make writing any essay a whole lot easier: process, plan, and schedule. Is it fancy? Not really. But it works—every time. As you start thinking about your own college essay, remember:  

  • Follow a process.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Keep to a schedule. 

And beware of the gimmicks and promises surrounding the college admission essay. We hope you’ll ignore them, because there really are no shortcuts. 

Want to learn more? Download a free copy of Kim’s e-book: How to Write an Effective College Application Essay: The Inside Scoop for Students.

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