Writing Effective Admissions Essays

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You may be avoiding starting your college applications or research assignments because you don't like writing. However, because effective writing will play a significant role in the admissions process, it is important that you tackle the task head on. Allow yourself plenty of time. Remember, writing out your thoughts can help you develop them. Writing isn't just a matter of neatly expressing ideas you've already had. You're also likely to think of things in new ways during the writing process.

An important thing to remember is that your college admissions essay will only be one part of your full application — there are many other factors that admissions officers will consider to determine whether you will be successful at their school. Your essay will complement the other components of your application.

One of the purposes of the essay is for the college to learn more about you as a person through the way you express yourself in writing. For that reason, a personal story about your own experiences might be a good way to frame or support your main point. Another reason that schools request essays is that they help admissions officers to evaluate your organizational and critical thinking skills. For that reason, you should make sure your ideas follow logically.

Most applications that request an essay offer you at least two options for topics you may write about. Choose the topic that you have more interest in, and try to prepare an essay that shows your uniqueness and individualism. Although it is important to show your knowledge, try to write in a way that is clear, focused, and in your own voice. If you include too many "SAT words," complex sentences, and abstract language, you may actually hurt your chances.

Many college admissions officers find that the essay gives them a chance to see the "student behind the application," particularly if the school does not require an admissions interview. Concentrate on showing the reader "the real you," and your essay might generate enough interest for selection, or at least further consideration.