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How do you decide what to write about in college essays?

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3 answers

Vasu’s Answer

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What colleges are looking for in college essays is what makes you different form others. they are trying to see an aspect of your personality that cannot be shown through your scores and resume. It is important to describe something that shows who you are and this can be by describing a passion you have and explaining the significance of it in a unique and interesting way. This mainly works if you choose your own topic in the common app rather than choosing from the pre-made topics. After writing the essay, you should email an English teacher ans ask if he or she could review your essay and comment on areas to improve. This greatly helps with correcting grammar and managing the flow of your ideas if you obtained a viewpoint from someone besides you.

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Joseph’s Answer

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Hello Michelle,

Quick, effective tips:

  • Answer the question / prompt directly (usually provided in the application - super important!)
  • Talk about a topic you care about
  • Show them your personality
  • Write freely then go back and discover what you want to say and create an outline (see below)
  • Add to your overall application - avoid as much as possible being redundant, such as covering the same information that was shared elsewhere - the essay is precious space, use it well!
  • Start early
  • Edit and proofread
  • Have fun and use it as an opportunity to self-discover
  • Be honest!

You can think about the essay as a way to share more about yourself qualitatively, while more quantitively elsewhere in your application (GPA, SAT scores, etc). You're not just writing to an admissions committee, you're writing to humans who have families, hobbies, successes, personal challenges, and feelings.

But first you're writing to yourself. What do you want to say to yourself? What do you want to discover? What is one thing that matters to you? What was not covered elsewhere in your application that you would like to now share? What has been one of your greatest life challenges? What do you consider to be one of your greatest successes? What are you most passionate about?

Write eight to ten different endings to each of these questions, just write and don't judge what you are writing down (this is sentence completion).

Do this for a week, and then go back and see if there are any patterns or words/topics that come up regularly.

Next write for fifteen to twenty minutes (or more) on those that you want to explore.

Do these... and you'll have a good start!

Cordially,

Joe

www.thegoodstudent.org

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John’s Answer

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Use personal experiences and how they relate to the school/major/profession you're pursuing. Also, make sure you have a peer and school counselor review your essays.

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