As a former admissions officer from Northwestern, I have read thousands of applications and I have also helped hundreds of students with their applications and their application essays. I’m going to give you my top college essay tips for the application process.
College Essay Tip Number One
Don’t write your life story. Choose two to three stories that really represent you well and focus on those stories, giving them as much detail as possible.
College Essay Tip Number Two
Don’t worry about the word count. Write as much as you can and again, in as much detail as you can, so that you flush out your story without the pressure of the word count. After you’ve gotten your story on paper and started fine-tuning, that’s the time to begin to focus on getting the word count right.
College Essay Tip Number Three
Don’t focus on the prompts at first. The prompts can really narrow your focus, and instead, you want to write the story that you want to write and ideally you’ll be able to find the prompt that fits your topic.
College Essay Tip Number Four
Love your topic. If you really hate writing this essay and you really feel like it’s drudgery and you don’t like what’s coming out, it’s probably not the right essay topic for you. If you hate writing it, whoever you’re writing it for is going to hate reading it.
College Essay Tip Number Five
Get honest feedback. Ideally, you’d find former admissions officers to review your application before you submit and ideally, they’d be from the school you’re applying to and they wouldn’t know you or your family.
So how do you do that? The company I work for, AdmissionsCheckup.com, has over 60 former admissions officers who can help you with your application and give you brutally honest feedback before you submit. A better application equals better odds of admission and better odds of a scholarship.
By Stephanie Klein Wassink
Stephanie Klein Wassink is the founder of AdmissionsCheckup.com and Winning Applications College Consulting. She frequently writes for blogs such as Money Magazine and The Huffington Post.