Admission committees weigh your grades and standardized test scores, but college admissions essays allow you to show more than these numbers.
Most college applications require some kind of essay or personal statement as part of your overall application packet. Even though many students loathe the idea of writing another essay, this task presents a unique opportunity that can help you get into your dream school. Your personal statement makes you human, which could be the difference between getting waitlisted or bragging to your friends about your acceptance letter.
Tips For Making Your College Essays Unforgettable
You are a unique person with your own background, personality, and experience. Your personal statement is a chance to tell a part of your distinct tale. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your college essays stand out from the crowd.
Stick To Something That Matters To You
Many students get stuck thinking that they need to write about specific topics, even if those areas aren’t as meaningful to them. You don’t have to write about a life-changing experience, start a charity, or hike the Grand Canyon to have an impactful story.
Stick to something that matters to you: a person in your life, an experience you had, a book you read, etc.
Stay Away From Overused Themes
One of the most common themes students like to use is called the Mother Theresa essays. This is when a student does some volunteer work, goes on a mission trip, or does something else to see a different way of life. In these essays, students talk about how this experience made them want to become a doctor, teacher, or another profession that will save the world.
You may have had a fantastic experience that opened your eyes to your future, but writing about how you essentially want to be Mother Theresa is done over and over again. You can certainly write about your volunteer experience, but focus your essay on you.
Reflection is Key
It’s one thing to recount the details of a meaningful experience. It’s another to reflect on how that experience impacted you. Admissions teams aren’t interested in hearing a mere play-by-play of how you started a recycling program at your school. To stand out, talk about what happened internally as you worked to make your dream come alive and the results after it was completed.
Write and Rewrite
Even students who score high on their class assignments can’t phone in their college essays. Start early and expect to revise and rewrite several times. Don’t be afraid to ask for help to get your ideas flowing or for an extra set of eyes to help edit your final product.
Put yourself in the role of an admissions advisor: is your essay interesting? Does the statement flow in a logical way? Does it reveal something about yourself that isn’t apparent in your transcript? Did you answer the questions or prompts provided?
You might go through several versions before you find the essay that works best for you. It will take some work, but you can do it.