Skills to help with the college application process.
Is the phrase “now accepting applications for people to write my common app essay for me” echoing in your head, just stuck inside?
College is a fun part of life! It’s an indicator that you are all grown up and moving on to an entirely new chapter in your life. It won’t be all fun and games, its serious business, and will significantly contribute to your personal growth, both emotionally and career-wise. Getting admitted to college has, with time, become competitive. You’ll need to prove to the admission officers that you are worth the chance to get admitted to the college of your choice. Apart from your exceptional grades and extra-curricular activities, your common application essay is a further guide into who you are, and it is one of the things admission officers want to know about you. It might seem challenging at first, but when you get down to it, you will realize that it’s not complex, as previously thought.
Common application essay writing tips
1. Read the instructions carefully
This is the most crucial step in any piece of writing. Ensure that you’ve read and understood the instructions thoroughly. Not adhering to provided guidelines could lead the reader to believe that you will not be able to follow the college program’s instructions, and he/ she will, therefore, not waste a chance on you. This will end up costing you your shot at the admission, which is not worth it. Stick to the word and page limits provided.
2. Go through the question phase first
Now that you’ve read and understood the instructions, it’s time to go through the question. This step is also essential because missing what the question is asking about could lead you to write something entirely unrelated to what is required. Ensure that you keenly read the question as many times as needed. You can look up words that you don’t understand on the internet in case there are any. Break down the problem until it all makes sense to you to ensure you fully grasp the concept of what is required.
3. Time to brainstorm (consult & brainstorm)
Understanding the question means you already have an idea of what you want to write about. Taking short notes will prove helpful at this stage. The question you’re provided with will act as a guide to the reader to understand who you are, so you will need to come up with an excellent essay. List all the points you feel might be relevant to your essay. The points will be expanded later on when you get to the writing process. Remember to include only important ideas in your list to avoid unnecessary information. Once you have all the points listed down, it’s time to come up with a rough draft.
4. Create an outline
Write ideas down, then connect and organize them, and then develop them.
Your points will act as a guide into what goes where. This is your master plan for coming up with your common application essay. Go through your points and decide what falls under the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. You can add new points and eliminate others if you feel that they do not fit into your plan. Decide how you’re going to begin your essay, whether through a question, dialogue, or through the use of humor. Using your points, you can come up with a rough draft of your common application essay. The draft is another guide to how you want your essay to turn out.
5. Consider the audience
Your audience, in this case, is the admission officers. Consider that the reader has dealt with countless common application essays, many of which are from qualified applicants. Therefore writing a mediocre essay is out of the question. You do not want to bore, offend, or waste the reader’s time since this is your chance to communicate with the person(s) making the decision. Assure the reader that:
• You are ready to deal with the challenges as well as the benefits of the program,
• You know what is expected of you in the program
Also ensure that:
• You address any information that needs clarification
• You don’t address the same point twice as it is a waste of the few words that you have
• You show the audience that you are considerate of them and their time by using clear and brief sentences.
6. Writing your essay (after this, it's all polishing and proofreading)
Using your points, outline, and rough draft, the writing process can now begin. By now, you already have the plan for what will start and what will end. Your introduction should be interesting and captivating. It should reveal to the reader what your essay is about. Start with something that will show the reader your unique personality. Avoid clichés which the reader is probably used to since he/she has been through so many essays and is experienced. Instead, show your unique personality, and it will immediately draw some positive attention to your application.
Remember to be honest; the truth is always easier to write. Keep it short, brief, and accurate. Remember the required word count and avoid over-explaining or repeating yourself since it’s a waste of precious words. Use the correct grammar and punctuation. Try to get the reader to like your personality since you’ll be fitting into a community with other students, and you’ll need to show that you can get along with other students. Be cautious when it comes to humor; you don’t want to end up offending the reader. Not everyone will have the same sense of humor as you. Remember to show your bright side also. Try and show some emotion in your essay and even some passion and drive.
Your conclusion should recap the major points in your essay and should also be brief, accurate, and short. Remember to thank the reader at the end for taking his/her time to go through your application.
There are varied approaches to writing; you can decide which one does suit you best:
• People opt to start to write in chronological order without any plan. You think eventually when you need to divide the chapters, you'll have to create some kind of outline, but you'll leave that for the editing phase.
• You can opt to create the concept and characters first. This helps you to know little details and situations that’ll happen to them. Then you can create the initial plan cut edges, glue arms, and legs to it, and voilà you have a plot!
• You could start with an idea, ‘a’ “what if.” The beginning and middle OR the beginning and end come to me over the course of a day or less. Then, you write down as much of the story in as full detail as you have, as soon as possible. If no time to type, you can opt to make notes. After, you flesh out the rest.
• Some people are usually inspired by something in real life, and then they percolate on it for a while before they start writing. They usually don't write down their outline, but they certainly know where they’re going before they start writing.
• Some create a solid outline, and then expand it to a skeleton (like a 1-5-12 page outline) with details. Then they decide on a voice and start filling up the spaces between essay plot points. When they’re ready to craft the prose, they mold it to the outline. Then it’s add-edit, add-edit, ad Infinitum.
• A section of people gets an idea, and if it develops in their head and doesn’t expire or fade, then they start writing it down and see where it goes. After a couple of drafts, they usually find they’re having the full essay and work towards polishing it off after that.
7. Proof-reading and editing
Once you’re finished with your application essay, go through it, and make sure any necessary corrections are made. Ensure that there are no grammatical faults and that all punctuation is placed where necessary. Remember to confirm that your essay answers the question asked and that it does not go off-topic. Ensure that everything fits together and that it all makes sense.
Where possible, get someone or a few qualified people go through your essay and correct you where they see necessary. This is important since you might have missed something that another person can be able to detect. Once you’re fully satisfied, you can hand in your application essay. It is a great achievement and something that should make you feel proud of yourself.
Just a recap of the points:
1. Read the instructions carefully
2. Carefully go through the question
4. Create an outline
5. Consider the audience
6. Get down to writing
7. Edit your application essay