How to write a common app essay

As an independent college admissions consultant, I read many application essays and see many common application essay mistakes. Drawing attention to weakness in an essay is generally not a good idea, unless you were able to overcome a weakness, and make it a strong suit.

Volunteer day at the local park, or two weeks of school building in Africa, will probably not impress the admissions committee. Few students have a perfect resume, which is apparent in the application. In short, use your essays to showcase a side of you not visible from other parts of the application.

If you are applying to a business program, the average starting salary of recent graduates should not be your stated motivation for seeking admission! If the application requires more than one essay, select distinct topics and subject areas so the admissions people get a broader, and more complete, picture of you.

The admissions people are looking for a window into your character, passion and reasoning. While few applicants are genuinely altruistic, most colleges are turned off by students who appear more focused on what the school can do for them, rather than how they can benefit from the education and at the same time be a contributing member of the campus community.

If you come across as a spoiled child, a stuck-up rich kid, lazy, sarcastic or a cynic, the admissions team might decide that you are not the right fit for their school. You risk using language improperly and may appear insecure or overly eager to impress.

Almost every school has its own identity and mission. Application essays almost always take longer than you anticipate. They are interested in your personal qualities such as leadership, confidence, ability to work in a team, strength of character, resilience, sense of humor, ability to get along with others and what you might add to the campus community.

Many applications, especially for some of the more competitive schools, are complex and require multiple essays and short answers. The Common Application, as well as many individual college applications and supplements, give students a choice of essay topics.

Not only is it difficult to stand out from the pack, but these experiences are often more about the experience than about you, or convey that money buys opportunity.

Use caution when showing off your extensive vocabulary.

Start with an outline and design your essay paragraph by paragraph. Start Early and Take Your Time. They may catch something important that you missed. Invest in a Strong Introduction. Invest the time necessary to do it right. Some of the best and most memorable essays are based on a simple conversation between people.

Some universities even have a slogan. Make sure you include enough background information about whatever topic you are writing about so that the reader can put it into context. Take comments and suggestions seriously — behind every good writer is usually at least one good editor! They see many essays of this type.

Errors can doom your otherwise excellent application. For example, one student wrote an excellent essay about a horrible first day of school, but forgot to include that he had just moved to town, from halfway around the world, and was struggling with English.

Resist the temptation to run off and start writing. Many prompts specify a desired number of words or a range. A good way to catch mistakes is to read your essay very slowly and out loud. Resist the temptation to be a sesquipedalian or come across as a pedantic fop!

Select the Best Topic and Subject.

An impressive essay generally contains a strong opening, well organized content, and a powerful closing. In fact, many on-line applications will not even accept more than the stated limit.

Experts will tell you that up-front planning of your essays is well worth the time invested. Then read the options carefully and decide which topic s provides the best opportunity to portray your self in a desirable manner.

Ask others to review your drafts and offer comments and suggestions. A well-planned essay may omit some key details in the opening forcing the reader to pay close attention to the rest of the story. Peruse the Entire Application.

Others have niche areas of study that they like to promote. Pay attention to what is important to the particular school and, when appropriate, consider including it in some manner in your essay.Among the more thanunique applicants who have submitted a Common App so far during the application cycle, 47 percent have chosen to write about their background, identity, interest, or talent - making it the most frequently selected prompt; 22 percent have chosen to write about an accomplishment, 17 percent about a lesson or.

How can you choose a Common App essay topic that will reveal the true you? How to Write Your Common Application Essay: Write them down, and then look your list over. The experiences that are most meaningful to you will make great themes for your essay.

19 Common Application Essay Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. If you are an athlete, for example, try not to write more than one essay about sports. Answer the Question.

Read the prompt carefully and pay particular attention to two part questions. For example, if you choose to “evaluate a significant experience, achievement or risk you have.

With the application cycle soon underway, the CollegeVine essay team wanted to share our best strategies on how to write the all-important and often-intimidating Common App essays.

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How to write a common app essay
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