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How do you write a good college application essay?

I am a junior in high school right now, and I am going to be preparing to apply for colleges and universities starting this summer. Writing has never been my strong suit, and I'm worried that my essay may bring down my academic achievements. What do colleges usually look for in an application essay? Is there a specific topic you need to write them about? #college #college-admissions #college-bound #writing #college-recruiting

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Subject: Career question for you

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Stephanie’s Answer

Be original and authentic!


From what I've found surveying lots of friends and colleagues that went to schools ranging from small liberal arts schools, to state schools, to ivy league schools, the exact content doesn't matter as much as ensuring that the essay is :
~original and unique
~authentic, honest, and maybe endearing
~emphasizes your ability to: problem solve, or show compassion, or overcome adversity, or bring people together, or demonstrate leadership, etc


Admissions counselors read so many essays each year with many of the same themes...people talking about their biggest academic or athletic achievement, a difficult situation they overcame, etc. These can make great essays but even a simple story about stepping outside of your comfort zone or having a unique experience or talent can catch the eye of the reader if it's well-written and different enough. Being authentic also makes you more relatable. It just takes one admissions officer to feel like they connect with you to make the difference between the acceptance and rejection pile. Good luck and happy writing!

Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice! It sounds like I should focus more on my personal characteristics and leadership qualities rather than my academic achievements in my essay, and I'll definitely do that. Albert P.
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Susan E.’s Answer

Most every college is looking for some form of writing from you, especially if you apply for a Master's Degree program. If you feel that your writing might be a hindrance, try taking some basic writing courses or attend workshops on academic writing. You should also think about finding a writing tutor to help you out.

Thank you comment icon Hi Susan, thanks for your advice! I think I will look into some essay writing workshops that my school offers to help me with my essay. Albert P.
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Ken’s Answer

Hi!


I do not recently have direct experience with this topic, but here are some good tips that I would like to pass along: I am sure that these tips will apply no matter what college to which you are applying.
https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-essay-tips-for-getting-into-harvard-business-school
http://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/dear-applicants-the-college-essay


Let me know if and how this might help. Keep me posted. I would like to follow your progress.

Thank you comment icon Thanks for the links! I will talk to my school's college and career counselor and talk to college recruiters that come to my school. Albert P.
Thank you comment icon The most important contacts may be the graduates you can talk through the alumni departments as they have had first hand experience and can give an unbiased report. Do no overlook them. Ken Simmons
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Simeon’s Answer

For college essays, I'd recommend including stories that are unique to you and make sure they are correct grammatically. Remember to read over it and see if it's something you would find interesting to read. The recruiters are human too and reading a stack of these essays back to back. Anything you can do to make your essay more readable would go a long ways toward getting your application more attention.
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