TIPS FOR WRITING AN APPLICATION ESSAY.
Selecting your essay focus and voice.
Writing a logical and compelling essay.
Improving your essay.
Quick "Do's and Don'ts" for writing application essays.
Organize your thoughts. Plan your writing.
Brainstorming: Write for 10 minutes without stopping.
Self -evaluation or self-analysis:
who am I and what do I
Quick survey: How do others see me? Who do they think
I am? Ask family and friends.
Lists: What do I think? Make lists of
your ideas or thoughts
about the question asked.
The content of your essay is comprised of the material you
select to best represent who you are and why you should be considered
for admission. Obviously, the content should pertain to the kind
of question being asked and the challenge is finding events or
experiences that best address those questions. Here are some ideas
to help bring alive your content and to energize your style of
Refer to familiar events or occasions that are
important to you or tell about you and your life.
Use your voice--the personal voice--to relate your story.
Don't resort to the 3rd person voice and drone on with factual
Ask questions to arouse the audience's curiosity. Pose the
questions in your introduction and then use the body of the essay
to fill in the answers.
Try using a narrative or story-telling
approach. This method of presenting content allows your voice
to be heard and to lead the reader directly into the subject
Provide plenty of facts and details to help fill in the reader
about your thoughts and feelings. Be selective and choose only
those details that will grab the reader's attention. (Be careful--
too many details can result in boredom and confusion for your
Consider using quotations from your favorite literary works.
Quotes can be an excellent way to illustrate your points or to
lead the reader toward the main point of your essay. Be extra
careful to use only quotes that are truly representative of the
main points you want to make. Overuse of quotes will result in
confusion for your audience.
Hook your reader. Use a compelling thesis
Body of essay:
Present your supporting material for
the thesis statement. Use well thought out details.
Topic sentences for each paragraph:
Make sure you set out
the main idea for each paragraph.
Move smoothly from one thought
or idea to another.
Tie everything up. (Without rehashing what
you've already written about). Your concluding statement should refer back to
your thesis statement at the beginning of your essay. A good conclusion should
tie together your essay and provide your audience with a sense of completion or
closure. The conclusion is your last chance to ensure that Admissions Officers
won't forget you.
Take the time to proofread your essay
to ensure it is mistake free. Check all of your sentences
for spelling, punctuation, grammar and correct usage of words
and phrases. Admissions Officers assume that if you don't bother
to check for basic mistakes in your work you can't be very interested
in their college.
Read your essay aloud. Does it make sense? Listen to your voice:
do you sound humorous, passionate or reflective? Does your essay
have the tone you wanted or is it trite and boring?
others read your essay. Give your essay to a friend, counselor,
teacher or administrator whose judgment you trust. Ask them to
check your grammar, spelling and punctuation. In addition, ask
comment on whether the essay reveals the "real
up your essay. Do a 1st draft and
a 2nd draft (and more if needed).
start your essays early. Consider writing drafts
in the summer before your senior year.
Do show what you mean rather than telling it. Give
examples and illustrate your topic to bring your essay to life!
Do write in your own voice or style. Don't imitate
other authors and their styles. Your essay should reflect your
own "personal" approach to the topic at hand.
Do write about something you know about and feel comfortable
Do have someone else proofread
your essay for you.
Do write more than one draft
of your essay.
Do put down your essay for 24 hours and then read it again!
Look for triteness, dullness, logic, etc.
Do read your essay out loud to yourself. You may hear
Do reveal the "essence of you"
in your writing. Show who you are and how you think.
Don't use unfamiliar words
or phrases you wouldn't normally use.
or write to impress your audience.
Don't shortchange the technical part of the essay. Pay
attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure.
Don't go into too much detail.
Avoid rambling on. Just say what you have to say and conclude.
have others write your essay for you. It is dishonest and unfair to
Don't be predictable