How to Write a College Admission Essay for American University
This article will not be a list of what the structure of an essay includes. It will not be about how to write a title or how many characters should be in the text. Instead, we propose to dive into a more profound, rather psychological, writing process.
After all, the hardest part of writing an admissions essay is figuring out what to tell about yourself and how to present it.
So, how to turn a white paper into a fascinating self-presentation, and how to make yourself write something at all? At the end of the article, we will give some practical recommendations to help you avoid embarrassing mistakes, including spelling and grammar.
Prepared the expert writers from Eduboard.com, this article will become your guide in creating a strong essay.
How to choose an essay topic?
The first and sometimes the most difficult step in the essay-writing process is deciding what to write about. Experts believe that students should narrow the focus and write about a specific experience, hobby, or interest that reveals something personal, such as how they think, what they value, or what their strengths are.
The essay can be about something other than the applicant’s most important accomplishment – a common misconception. The most important thing for the admissions committee is that the essay should be considered and make it possible to understand the applicant as a person. Thus, no matter what topic students choose, they will end up writing about themselves. Whatever essay topic you choose is just a frame to use.
If applicants have trouble brainstorming potential topics, they can enlist the help of friends or family members and ask the following questions: “What do you think makes me different” or “What is my highlight?”. Here are some questions to help with choosing an essay topic:
- “What makes your family different from other families?”
- “Does your family celebrate cultural holidays? Are any of them of great significance to you?”
- “Do you have a unique family tradition?”
- “What do you want to be? What did you do during school to accomplish that?”
First – we write, then – we edit
You can’t write and edit at the same time – they are different processes. The first task is to get the words on the page. There’s nothing more dragging than a white sheet of paper. If you don’t know how to approach writing, start anywhere! Jot down your first thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Let them be unrelated, mixed up, or even not logical, the main thing at this stage is that they appear on the sheet.
Do not try to structure the text and bring each sentence to perfection. Just write. Only when it seems to you that there is nothing more to say, go to editing: swap words, cross out whole blocks of text, rewrite your thoughts, and do not spare to delete unnecessary things.
The best essays are not the longest
It’s best to immediately accept the idea that your essay is one of thousands sent by other applicants. This volume of letters is reviewed by several people from the admissions office. On average, there are 20 letters per hour for each member of the committee.
Simple math suggests that no more than 3-5 minutes are spent reviewing each motivation letter. It follows: you have very little time to make yourself known and “hook” with your letter. This is not a reason to panic, but a reason to reflect.
Reading your essay can be cursory, so it is important that any fragment of text grabbing the reader’s attention is clear, engaging, and literate.
These are key indicators of good writing. 650 words is the maximum acceptable length, not the target. Don’t overstay your welcome and save other people’s time, they will appreciate it.
Don’t be too heavy
The tone of your essay should be light, easy to understand. A little humor and self-irony won’t hurt either. An overly formal text, more like a document than an essay, is boring and doesn’t resonate. Yes, your task is to tell about your academic and creative achievements, to present your personality, but it is much more interesting to read about it in simple words.
Imagine that you are having a casual conversation with a buddy and telling about what happened to you yesterday. Don’t list your qualities, but tell your personal story, describe a funny situation and how you got out of it in a simple and friendly but respectful and tactful way.
Any actions you describe in the text will characterize you better than dry facts, which you already provide in abundance when filling out the application form.
No one likes boring stories-including the admissions committee. You need to do your best to make your essay not seem monotonous and mediocre. It should hold the attention of the university committee until the very end.
Use descriptive writing to bring your words alive from the pages and help the reviewers touch, taste, see, and feel your story and understand why it is special.
Going to a U.S. college or university is a positive and optimistic step toward the future, and your essay should reflect the same attitude. Do not try to impress the admissions committee with your caustic or sarcastic view of the world. Remember, optimism is the key to the human heart.
Avoid these mistakes
When applying to universities in the United States, you write essays in English, so it is important that your written English is literate. Here are some tips on how to avoid seemingly small, but quite common and annoying mistakes in the text:
- High school – spelled in two words and no other way.
- English – capitalized, you should memorize it, learn it and never write it differently.
- Whether it be – you should not start sentences with this turn.
Before sending your essay to the university
Reread the essay several times, preferably out loud. Then put it aside and reread it again the next morning. A text written without errors, not only shows your literacy but also characterizes the personality.
After all, to achieve quality material, you need to work out the details and double-check your work. This is already an indicator of your diligence, responsibility, diligence, and ability to bring the beginning to the end.
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