A college admissions essay has always been one of the most important parts of a college application. Now, however, it’s more important than ever. Since COVID-19 had interrupted the academic year, college admissions had to change quite a lot. According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, more than 60% of colleges and universities in the US won’t require ACT or SAT scores from the applicants. That means that the application essay will gain even more importance.
So how can a student write an essay that will get them into college in 2020? Here are 5 tips for a successful admissions essay.
Just like with any other kind of writing, you need to do some serious brainstorming before starting your admissions essay. Many students waste their time by deciding which topic is better but in reality, there’s no universal answer to this question. The topic that works best for your friend might be the worst option for you. So at the very beginning, ask yourself some big questions. What makes you you? Is there any particular story, activity, or experience that made you who you are? That’s exactly what you should
Even if you climbed Mount Kilimanjaro or had a personal exhibition, just stating the fact that it happened doesn’t guarantee that your essay will be successful. It’s important that you describe how exactly it made you feel and why it mattered to you. You shouldn’t build your essay just on clichés and big phrases, but don’t downplay your feelings either. This year, when standardized tests and grades don’t play such a big role, admissions offices place more importance on your character than ever.
Rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite some more
That rule also works for any type of writing, but while most of the professional writers are aware of it, many students are not. If you have found your “big idea” and have got a rough outline of your essay, start writing as soon as you can. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect or even good! Just the fact that you can see it and read it and not just imagine it in your head makes a big difference. If you have a few ideas, write several essays, and then choose which one works best.
Avoid cliché topics
Your admission officer has probably read dozens of essays about sports injuries, immigration, or coronavirus, for example. No one doubts that it was a difficult and perhaps a defining experience for you, but these are the things many applicants get through. Therefore, it’s likely that your essay will become just “another one” and not “one of a kind”. You can still write about these topics, but make it special. Concentrate on just one moment or one aspect of the whole story. It’s better to present a topic from a new perspective, even if it’s a seemingly insignificant one than repeating big life truths for the hundredth time.
Focus on the beginning
Once the admission officer opens your essay, you have about three sentences to grab their attention. If they are tired and have already read dozens of essays in the last few hours, even less! That’s why you can’t underestimate the importance of a good beginning. While a strong ending is also very important, the reader might not even get to it if the essay is not interesting enough from the very beginning. So make sure you start your essay with a strong or even a strange statement and start unpacking it little by little.
Reach out for help
Writing an admissions essay is so much more than just typing up a 500-word text. Most of the students realize how important the essay is, so they feel extremely nervous when writing it. And it’s very difficult to write under such pressure. Some students might be gifted writers, so for them, an essay may seem like the best way to express themselves. But for others, writing can be a nightmare. That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out for help.
If you’re not sure what you should write about, talk to your family members or closest friends. They can help you realize what issues or events are particularly important to you. If you want to polish your essay, you can ask your school counselor or an English teacher for help. They have seen many essays and will definitely have some tips for you. Finally, if you don’t even know where to start, you can try working with essay writing companies. If you choose a trustworthy company, your essay will be taken care of by a professional writer who has written them before.