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What Makes a Good College Essay? 6 Tips to Help You Get Started

If you're not sure where to begin in writing a good college essay that will increase your chances of acceptance, here are some tips on how to get started.
posted on 8th January 2019
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If you're applying to college for the first time, chances are you have to write a college essay. You might feel too overwhelmed to even know where to begin. After all, your essay could make or break your entire application. If you're not sure where to begin in writing a good college essay that will increase your chances of acceptance, here are some tips on how to get started.

Brainstorm

The easiest thing to do in order to get started is to brainstorm. Write down the unique characteristics or traits that make you an amazing candidate. What do you enjoy doing and what do those activities say about you? Try to jot down whatever comes to mind. Don't be afraid to include traits that might be seen as weaknesses. You might not necessarily use them in your essay but it doesn't hurt to portray the whole picture.

Writing the First Draft

Getting something down on paper is sometimes the hardest part. You want it to be perfect, but the words just don't seem to be coming out right. When it comes to your first draft, don't worry about editing it as you go. Write what comes to your mind, even if it's just to put your ideas down on paper. You can change the structure or rearrange paragraphs or ideas later. You might make mistakes in your first draft but you can fix them later.

Make Sure Your Essay Has These 3 Parts

Your essay should have some structure. If you've just jotted your ideas down on paper, try to rearrange them into sections or paragraphs that make logical sense. Your essay should have three identifiable parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Each of these paragraphs serves a unique purpose within your essay. It's okay to tell a story, so long as it makes logical sense.

Be Specific but Concise

It's important not to be too broad in your essay. You will have an easier time focusing on a particular angle or experience. Everything you write should support the question you are answering or the stance you have taken. Detail is great, but don't ramble on. Try to include all the information that an outside reader would need to understand the situation. Be critical of each paragraph by asking yourself whether it supports the purpose of the essay or if it is superfluous.

Give It Your Own Angle

Too many college applicants get caught up trying to write everything in their essay. It's better to come up with one unique angle or idea that you will use throughout your essay. Try to come up with something creative that shows the admissions officers why you are a valuable addition to their campus community. It doesn't have to be a huge accomplishment, but rather something that sets you apart and defines you as an individual.

Honesty is the Best Policy

If you've written a first draft of your essay, read it over one more time and ask yourself: is this me? Is what you have written honestly and truly about you? Often, if you're bluffing or simply writing what you think the admissions officers want to hear, it's likely to shine through. Your narrative essay writing will be far more natural and convincing if you are actually honest. Keep that in mind when answering questions.

It's normal to have some anxiety over writing your college entrance essay. After all, it's a pretty important step in the application process. But if you're feeling overwhelmed, the tips listed above can help you to write a good essay. Start with small steps, like a brainstorming session, and you'll be less likely to feel as though it's too big of a task.

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