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How can I develop a good college essay?

I am in 9th grade and I am 15 years old. I do not know what I want to major in yet.

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From: You
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Subject: Career question for you

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Alan’s Answer

Aruna, first of all, don't worry that you haven't decided on a career yet. Many students, even those who've already entered college, still aren't sure what they want the rest of their lives to look like. To that, you can start thinking about your interests, hobbies, skills, experiences and values, and what kinds of careers they might suggest to you.

As for writing an essay, there are set formats that you'll be taught, and if you're required to follow a particular one then you should. But good college admissions officers look for students who think outside the box, who are creative, and who reveal good qualities and skills in their writing. As a retired professor and a writer, I hate the idea of starting an essay by restating the question. I know that a lot of teachers do expect that, but I already know the question, I asked it, I don't want to know about who I am, I want to know about who the student is. So I would suggest starting with something that will catch the readers eye, something touching or intriguing or personal. Make sure to include experiences that you've had, qualities that you have, skills that you possess, and what might make you a valuable addition to their college community... without bragging or being insincere, of course. Express yourself in your style, but make sure that the essay is grammatically perfect and well organized, which means editing, reediting and giving it to someone else to look over. As serious as it is, try to have fun with it. Don't be afraid to show vulnerability and imperfection, as long as you don't invite pity. Show your heart, your dreams, your resilience, your potential. What do you want people to know about yourself?
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hi there, Aruna!

It's fantastic to see you're already considering your college essay as a 9th grader at 15. You're right on track, even if you're still unsure about your major. The college essay is your chance to let the admissions committee get to know you, your unique qualities, experiences, and dreams. Here's a friendly guide to help you craft a winning college essay:

1. Grasp the Prompt: Start by reading the essay prompt from your chosen college or university. Make sure you understand what they're asking for and any specific rules they've given.

2. Idea Generation: Allow yourself some time to brainstorm. Think about your experiences, achievements, obstacles, and ambitions. Consider what makes you stand out from the crowd. Reflect on any major events or people that have shaped your life. Write down all these thoughts without worrying about perfecting them yet.

3. Pick Your Topic: After brainstorming, select a topic that you feel strongly about and that fits the prompt. Choose a topic that lets you highlight your personality, values, and interests. Remember, the aim is to give insight into who you are.

4. Do Your Homework: Research your chosen topic to find relevant information and evidence to back up your points. This will make your essay more credible. Stick to trustworthy sources like books, academic articles, or reliable websites for accurate information.

5. Plan Your Essay: Organize your thoughts by creating an outline. This will guide your writing and ensure your essay flows smoothly from one point to the next. Break your essay down into an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

6. Craft an Engaging Introduction: Your introduction should hook the reader and clearly state your essay's main idea. Consider starting with a captivating anecdote, a thought-provoking question, or a relevant quote.

7. Build Solid Body Paragraphs: Each body paragraph should focus on a specific point that supports your main idea. Use evidence, examples, and personal stories to illustrate your points. Make sure each paragraph has a clear main sentence and flows well into the next.

8. Show, Don't Just Tell: Rather than just stating facts or qualities, try to show them through detailed descriptions and storytelling. Use sensory details and specific examples to make your experiences come alive for the reader.

9. Be Genuine: Stay true to yourself and write in your own voice. Avoid clichés or trying to impress with complicated language. Admissions officers value authenticity and want to understand the real you.

10. Polish Your Essay: After finishing your first draft, take time to revise and edit. Check for grammar and spelling mistakes, ensure your essay is clear and coherent, and refine your language. Consider getting feedback from teachers, mentors, or family members who can offer helpful insights.

Remember, crafting a great college essay takes time and effort. Start early, allow plenty of time for revisions, and don't hesitate to ask for help or advice.

Top 3 Trusted Reference Sources Used:

1. College Board (www.collegeboard.org)
2. The Princeton Review (www.princetonreview.com)
3. Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org)

If you're looking to write a book in 30 minutes, there's software that can help, but it comes at a cost.
On to the NEXT PROJECT!
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Kara’s Answer

You are still young yet and have plenty of time to figure out what you want to major in college. Think about it this way what goals do you have in your mind right now? Weight out the pros and cons of things that you are interested in. See what you can manifest on your path as it calls to you. The best advice I can give. I was your age once long ago and I didn't know at your age what I wanted to do in my future.
There are so many challenges and fear can come into effect here also. Just take one day at a time and just keep up a good attitude about your future and keep trying to do the best that you can and achieve your goals.
Blessed Be
Kara
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Noopur’s Answer

Ask others who have done this. People who are where you want to go. Maybe send them a draft of your essay. Ask them for feedback. If possible take support from teachers.
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Fernando’s Answer

Don't worry too much about not knowing what you want to major in. You've got plenty of time to think and find your groove. For college essays, if we're talking about admission essays, it's mostly about introducing yourself to the college of your choice along with laying out what your goals are. A good starting point for writing an essay is to plan out the beats or general ideas you wish to touch on. Afterwards organize them in a way that allows for one idea to flow into the other. When writing the essay be sure to not sell yourself short and highlight any high-school accomplishments that you're proud of.
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Patrecia (Trish)’s Answer

Aruna, here's my advice for you. Writing is a reflection of your feelings at the moment and your vision for the future. Even if your ultimate goal isn't crystal clear, you have a general idea of where you want to end up; you're just unsure of the path to get there. Be genuine. Discuss what you love doing right now, the activities that make you happy.

Admit that you're grappling with identifying your career aspirations or deciding on a college major. Remember, regardless of the degree you choose, you'll need to complete basic courses like Math, Science, English, and a few electives.

A positive aspect to highlight is your decision to pursue further education. This is a significant step forward. Include this in your writing. Concentrate on the positive aspects, and who knows, you might discover your true calling while penning down your thoughts. Remember, it's okay to make a choice and then realize it's not the right fit for you.

You also have other resources at your disposal. Consider taking a few career aptitude tests to gain some insights. This might be a helpful tool for you. Here's a link to one such test: https://brainmanager.io/career-test?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=career_test&msclkid=51e89efbfb941151c367fbc985fc1534&utm_term=career%20interest%20survey&utm_content=career%20test%20exact.
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Rian’s Answer

Hi Aruna,
As someone who is in 9th grade, I wouldn't worry too much about developing your college essay now. You will change a lot between now and 12th grade and you'll be a better person for it. For now, I would focus on doing things that are meaningful to you and explore things that you have a passion for. When the time comes, those will be the experiences that will be easiest to write about and will make you stand out.
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Aisha’s Answer

Hello Aruna,

Think of your college essay as a golden ticket, a unique chance to present the real you to the admissions teams who sift through countless applications every year. This is your moment to shine, to prove that you deserve a place in their institution.

A well-crafted, insightful essay that truly reflects your personality and values can significantly distinguish your application from the multitude of others. With many colleges no longer considering test scores, your essay could be an even more crucial deciding factor for the admissions officers.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind:

1. Stay true to yourself.
2. Hook the reader right from the get-go.
3. Delve into profound themes.
4. Show your story, don't just tell it.
5. Dare to be different.
6. Write keeping the reader in mind.
7. Don't hesitate to write multiple drafts.
8. Reading your essay aloud can be a great help.

Remember, your college essay is your chance to make a lasting impression. So make it count!
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