How to write the Personal College Admission Essay
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By The Veritas Admissions Team

For this tutorial, we are going to investigate one particular essay written by a white, upper-middle-class, private-schooled, accomplished but not exceptional student athlete. The Question: How is she going to make herself stand out from all of the other applicants that fit a similar profile? That’s right with a great essay.

Introduction

Brainstorming

For this tutorial, we are going to investigate one particular essay written by a white, upper-middle-class, private-schooled, accomplished but not exceptional student athlete. The Question: How is she going to make herself stand out from all of the other applicants that fit a similar profile? That’s right with a great essay.

But, what to write about? She has a creative side as well as occasional contribution to the student newspaper but has never written anything like this before. Sports could be a good topic? She’s won big games and even been elected captain of two separate teams. But, that type of essay feels vague and too cliché for comfort.

There was also that time she traveled to South Africa with some classmates. She even kept a scrapbook of the trip. Oh, and there was that brief interruption—a death in the family—that made events even more emotional and transformative. But, she worries about sounding treacly or overly sentimental. What to do?

With some elements of a good essay within that travel tale—introspection, genuine emotion, vivid recall, and even a personal journal for inspiration—the best course of action is to start writing. You heard me, just write, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, short or long, just as long as it is words on the page (or screen). You should eventually expect (and maybe even force yourself) to cut or change 80% of your rough draft anyway. It’s not just about writing; it’s about considering, re-thinking, revising, and re-writing again and again. The more you contemplate those words and ideas, the more truthful you will be to your essay and to yourself.

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« Back to Tips and ArticlesBy The Veritas Team | Mar 16, 2009