- Common App Essay Questions
- What is a Supplement
- UC Personal Insight Questions
- Coalition Application Questions
- Tips on the College Essay
Additional Articles to Build Your Personal Statement:
- Getting Personal: Writing College Essays for the Common Application
- Top Ten Tips for Writing a College Essay
- Dos and Don'ts in Writing College Application Essays
- Supplemental Tips: Personalize Each Application
- Sample College Essays
- More Sample College Essays
In addition to the high school record, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and teacher/counselor recommendations the college essay is an important piece of the college application and will provide the basis upon which the college makes its admission decision. The essay a college in learning more about each individual student and brings depth to the application. A well-written essay can reveal important information about personal attitudes/qualities, feelings, imagination and creativity. Think of the essay as a written interview and a chance to personalize your application. A thoughtful, well-written essay can affect the final decision in a positive way.
*Core qualities that make a strong college essay are:
- tell stories that belong only to you
- write in the first person about YOU not someone else
- start with a hook or a story
- focus on your core qualities that are not revealed in the rest of your application
- share positive messages and powerful outcomes * make yourself come alive throughout this process * write about yourself as passionately and powerfully as possible
- use 1/3, 2/3 method: if starting with a life or family challenge, move quickly into who the student is now
- reflect on their growth and development, including accomplishments and service
- assist the reader to get into your story/experience and understand through your words your journey (initiative, leadership) and how your accomplishment and experiences will assist you to go beyond
Don’t wait until the last minute and write whatever comes to mind! Write the first draft, make it as rough as you need, then set it aside for a few days. Reread it with a fresh perspective and make the necessary changes. Consider organization, style, grammar, spelling and tone. Once you have rewritten your first draft, you may want feedback from people you know and trust: your parents, counselor, a trusted friend, or a teacher. Your teacher can be particularly helpful because he/she knows the level of work you are capable of producing. It may also be easier for you to accept constructive criticism from your teacher as well.
Your college essay gives you two to five minutes to grab the attention of your reader. It gives the student the opportunity to find the extraordinary in their ordinary activities, yet it has to be something that is not on their transcript but something that they are proud of. You will need weeks, not days, to write an effective essay. This is not a manufacture essay, but one that conveys truth, unique stories and demonstrate your writing skills. BE CAREFUL - colleges can sense an "enhanced" essay. Your college essay is your personal statement, your speech where you present an image of who you are. So make sure your statement shows the reader, not just tell the reader.
*from NACAC Communicating Their Stories: Strategies to Help Students Write Powerful College Application Essays
Many institutions require a supplemental form in addition to the submission of the Common Application essay. A supplemental form seeks additional information from a student (this can be an additional essay or general questions) that is specific to the institution.
It is important for students not to recycle their supplemental essays, but to make them very specific. Students should explore and investigate an instiution's clubs, programs, classes and campus life. The supplemental essay should reveal to the college representatives why the student and the instiution are a great match.
Supplemental forms can be found on institutions's website.
- Do's and Don'ts of the College Essay aka Personal Statement
- Limited amount of information
- Hardship story
- I have to have a hardship story
- My essay, the resume
- The college representative will not read my essay
- I am a great writer, I do not need anyone's feedback
- I can have someone else write my essay
- I have to use big words
- I am so funny, they will laugh throughout my essay
- I will never write the "optional essay" or "additional comment."
- I can use additional comments to expand my original essay
- Just two drafts is fine
- The campus specific essays are not that important
- My essay is so amazing, it will compensate for my grades
They are extremely important. It is a way for the college to understand how intimately you know their campus and if you are a good fit. Pretend it is a marriage proposal where you explain what specifically makes you great and what makes the campus great and how you will be great together. DO YOUR RESEARCH!