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3 Tips for Writing the Best College Admission Essay Possible

Writing your college admission essays can be overwhelming, but you can simplify the process and do your best work by remembering these three key tips.

When it comes to writing a great college admission essay, it can be tough to sum up your life in a way that will impress others. Some college applications ask you to write about a significant event that changed your life and how you dealt with it. But it's hard to put all that into an essay; you want to grab the admission officers' attention without being too dramatic. The key to writing a standout college admission essay is to not stress too much about writing about a major event—instead, just write from your heart. I know that sounds like a major cliché, but I’m here to tell you it's true! Here are three main tips I recommend to help you write an effective college admission essay.

1. Start early

One of the main reasons students stress about writing an amazing college admission essay is because they wait until the last minute. Can you believe that? Unfortunately, I can. I hate to admit it, but I have procrastinated a few times on articles and essays. But I always find it would’ve been better to plan and write my work in advance—I wouldn't have been so stressed! I recommend writing a due date for your college essays on a calendar that is clearly visible to you. If you’re a really bad procrastinator, trick yourself into thinking the essay is due earlier and write it down on a closer date. The best advice is to just start early—and to submit your whole application early so you don't have to deal with looming deadlines. You will be calm and done with it, which is a great feeling!

Related: Now Is the Time to Start Your College Essay

2. Tell a story

You might think it's obvious, but you don't want your college essays to sound robotic. Admission officers want you to tell a descriptive story that draws them in. For example, "I was 10 years old at the time, and I was super excited." No—that’s boring. Tell a story instead: "I was just 10 years old at the time, but I was beyond excited and I could not wait. It was a gloomy day, but I didn't care." It doesn't have to be so dramatic—just tell a story as yourself, not like a robot. Paint a picture and make sure it doesn't sound as if it's just another school assignment you were forced to write that you're not interested in. Your college essay is your story, so do it justice.

3. Show your real personality

Showing your true self beyond grades, test scores, and other numbers is the reason you are writing this essay. So be yourself. Your essay doesn't have to feature big, flowery words and phrases that you think sound smart but don't even know the meaning of. For example, "The day was rich and tender. I was questioning what I was doing in that serene place at that compelling time of this generation." That's a lot of words, making it hard to read. I’m not saying you can't be poetic, but don't try to be something you're not. For example, "The day was perfectly exquisite, but I was thinking to myself, why today?" That sounds so much better. Put your own personality and words into your work. It doesn't have to sound so academic to impress the adults who are reading it.

Related: What NOT to Do in Your College Application Essay

I hope you find these tips helpful! I haven't written my college essays yet, but I know this will give me a good starting point. Just remember these three key tips: Start early, tell a story, and be yourself! College essays are nerve-wracking, but if you have a plan in place, you're sure to ace them. I am rooting for you!

Find admission essay examples, tips for specific Common App questions, and much more with Our Best Advice for Writing Your College Application Essays.

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About Maddy A-C

Maddy A-C is a high school student residing in California. She enjoys spending quality time with her loved ones at the beach. Additionally, she has undertaken a few college courses and consistently excels in writing assignments. Writing is one of her passions, which stems from her love of reading; you can always find her with a book in hand. Maddy has only worked with CollegeXpress so far, but she is eager to find out what the future holds.


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