Unlike an academic transcript, the college essay provides students with the opportunity to stand out from the crowd by highlighting their unique strengths and personal characteristics. Admissions officers are looking for the the most well rounded class, so even if a student is lacking in one area, a strong essay can really make a compelling case for admissions officer to consider an application. The essay is your best chance to make a first impression and you want to make it count.
While students generally begin writing their personal statement during the summer before senior year, it is recommended to begin thinking about this essay as early as freshman year. As you put together a plan and set goals you should be constantly keeping this statement in the back of your mind and looking for ways to build meaningful impact into the story as it evolves. In addition, becoming comfortable with identifying your writing voice and style will support you with crafting a more succinct and polished essay once the time comes.
How to Pick a Topic
The hardest part of the process is figuring out what to write about. If you have carefully spent time preparing for this narrative then it will come much more naturally as you build the storyline over time. Colleges provide several essay prompts that students must choose from. It is best to focus on a specific experience or passion that reveals more about your personal character, strengths and values. While it is not a requirement for essays to discuss accomplishments or achievements, having examples of these ready will provide students with the accolades necessary to discuss, thus making the brainstorming process easier.
Creating an Outline and Getting Feedback
Once you have identified the appropriate topic, creating an outline will help you to organize your thoughts and ideas. Since it is suggested to keep the essay brief and succinct, this will help you to highlight the key points as well as omit extraneous information that is unnecessary. It is recommended that students spend time researching how to write an effective hook for their essay that will grab the readers attention. When students have completed their first draft, they should ask family members and trusted advisors to review and provide feedback. It is important to ensure that the author remains the student and the voice of the student is not lost by over-involvement of the editors.
Submitting Your Essay
No college application is complete without the college essay. Once you have concluded your review process and consider your essay to be final it is ready to be submitted. The essay is enclosed along with the formal submission of each application.