Point-By-Point Study Manual on How to Write an Admission Essay for College


Applying to colleges can be scary, and the worst part for most high school students is writing their college application essay. Most students aren’t confident in their writing skills, and needing to write an essay that will help determine if you get into your college of choice or not can fill anyone with anxiety. What are colleges looking for in application essays? What can you say that will make you stand out? Have no fear- this study manual will tell you everything you need to know.

  • Be Brief and Concise
  • The Common Application suggests a minimum of 250 words for your application essay but they don’t suggest a maximum. Try to keep your essay between 250 and 700 words. Anything longer than 700 words will make your essay seem unnecessarily long to the admissions officer reading it. They have a stack of papers to read everyday, and they don’t want to spend too much time on one paper. You will test their patience and bore them with anything too long.

  • Write About Something You Want to Talk About
  • Whether the college you’re applying to has a specific topic or question they want you to address in your essay, or whether it’s just a general paper about you or a controversial topic, find a way to write about something you care about. Don’t write about something you’re not interested in. So many students care about what the admissions board is going to think of them and end up writing what they think the college wants instead of what they want to write about. This makes for a boring paper that will make the admissions officer just as disinterested in reading your essay as you were writing it. Give them something different to read amongst their usual stack, and write about something personal or something you have an opinion on.

  • Grammar, Punctuation, Etc.
  • The content of your essay is important, but so are the other mechanics of good writing. Make sure your essay is organized, and make sure to spell everything correctly, punctuate where needed, capitalize anything that needs it, and etc. Edit your paper and try to have a teacher, counselor, or someone who works in the writing studio read your essay and help you edit it. They can tell you what works in your essay, what doesn’t, how you are coming off in your essay (hopefully likable), and where you misspelled things and need punctuation.

  • And most importantly, the best papers have 3 things:
    • Honesty. If you are writing an essay about yourself, don’t be shy and don’t overembellish your accomplishments. It will make your paper more genuine.
    • Heart. The best writing comes from the heart. If it means something to you, the person reading your paper will feel it.
    • Passion. Again, write about something you care about. Whether it’s an issue you have a strong opinion on, a loss or failure, or an accomplishment, write about it. It will make a strong paper.

These three things will make you an individual and will make your college admission essay memorable.

Posted by August 21st, 2014