The application package would seem hefty for everyone who is getting ready to enter a higher education school. One of the most challenging tasks for a majority of applicants is writing a college experience essay or entrance essay. They feel that they are expected to write in a particular manner that means more advanced language, structure and other formalities. But more than ever applicants fell apprehensive about the efficiency of their papers which go through a strict selective expertize.
Everyone wants that his or her essay to be chosen among the heaps of other application essays.
That is why it is extremely important to learn every single thing about this type of papers, understand its goals and structure and get armed with effective writing strategies. This article will reveal all peculiarities and secrets about admission essays and teach you to write like a pro.
All you need is to organize yourself and follow our instructions step by step. By organizing, we mean effective time management, persistence, attentiveness to details, an early start but above all we place your utter desire to win the writing battle. If you hanker for studying in the college of your dream, you will overcome all the obstacles easily. And these essay writing tips will bring you a step forward to your goal. Let’s get started from learning what a college admission paper is and why it should be focused on your personal experience.
A college entrance paper is an essay usually written by a prompt that covers such important details about your background, personality, interests, experiences (mainly college experience) and your career goals.
Let’s go deeper to the common application requirements and some individual prompts that higher schools issue for new students.
A common application is a unified admission form which makes it easy to understand what to include in your admission paper. If you use the common app, you will have to choose one of the prompts and respond to it with 250 –700 words.
Here is the list of widespread prompts confirmed by most colleges:
- Most often people learn life lessons by overcoming the obstacles they are encountering throughout their life. The knowledge and experience you get from such lessons can be fundamental to your further success. Recall a situation when you faced some challenges, failure or a mishap and tell how it affected you and what you have learned from it.
- Many students believe that they should speak about their background, interests, talents and activities. A good idea will be to mention something that is truly meaningful to you. If you feel that some information is so valuable to you that your portrait will look incomplete without these facts, please share your story.
- Tell about the problem you had and describe how you managed to solve it. No matter how big or serious it was. You may tell about some intellectual challenge, interpersonal problem, research issues, or a social dilemma - anything that significantly influenced your personal views and made you stronger. Describe how you decided to solve it, who else helped you and how successful your the solution was.
- Reflect on the situation when you felt critical to some belief. What prompted you to think sceptically about that idea? What answers did you finally get? Were they satisfying?
- Think of the event, achievement or accomplishment that has contributed to your personal development. Discuss how it affected your attitudes and beliefs.
- Tell about the idea that you find so interesting and engaging that it makes you overwhelmed. Why are you so passionate about it? What do you do to learn more about it?
- Write an essay on any other topic that attracts you. You are allowed to use other application prompts. You are free to describe everything that in your opinion can best reveal to the admission committee your individuality and strivings.
What does your experience essay show?
Your SAT score, records and a list of after-school activities will not tell about yourself better as your experience essay can. When writing about some significant events, lessons and concepts you are revealing yourself as a personality.
Experience essays are a perfect opportunity to tell about:
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- Hobbies and favourites
- Principles and beliefs
- Adventures and the people you admire
- Successes and failures
- Endeavors and aspirations
By your essay, admission officers can see if you are able to:
- Think critically
- Retrospect and reflect on the situation
- Overcome difficulties
- Write to the point
- Draw conclusions
- Express yourself with clarity
- Write according to prescribed rules
- Follow the prompt
- Learn from experience
- Grow mentally
- Interact with people
- Set and achieve goals
- Organize yourself
- Accumulate knowledge
Looking at this checklist, you can touch any topic provided that it will exhibit your aptitudes and skills. Here are some tips to show your abilities in the right light:
When covering this topic, make sure you do not repeat the information from your resume. You have to tell something new. Think, for instance, your resume has a list of awards that you have received all through your life but you want to refer to some achievement in your essay again. To do this, you should not focus on the result but tell why it was significant to you. For example, you have won a regional bee spelling contest. Explain what prompted you to participate in the contest and what you were doing to approach your goals. Reflect how this victory influenced your further studies, how it improved your self-esteem and whether you continued developing your writing skills or not.
It is a good idea for your essay to talk about the problems you faced and how you solved them or how you overcame some difficulties like health problems, the death of close people, a rift, divorce of your parents, moving to another school, bullying and lots of other things. The idea is to show how you managed this or that case and what you have learned afterwards. However, you should remember that your essay is not the place for making excuses for poor academic scores or miscarried plans.
- Unique events
College admission officers love to read about some exciting experiences. They would be pleased to know if you lived abroad, visited some extraordinary place, participated in the archeological expedition, got acquainted with a famous person, had an exotic pet, etc. But it is not enough just to state the fact. You have to show how this unusual situation affected your life. For example, if you once met a celebrity and could talk to him or her, you may tell whether your expectations about this person were true or not. And next, you have to highlight what you have gained after the meeting, like from that moment you do not get embarrassed any more talking to strangers or you have decided to learn more about etiquette rules. Do not get overwhelmed if your experience does not relate to your future studies. It does not have to. What matters more is that you have enriched your outlook and filled your mind with new knowledge.
- Career path
If you are intending to take up a certain field of study, you should explain what has influenced your choice and what steps you have made to take this career path. Describe your attempts to try this or that activity and tell if your efforts confirmed your decision. Every qualification requires specific skills which you can acquire while learning a set of disciplines. For instance, your desire to become a travel agent inspired you to apply for a guide position during your summer holidays. Or let’s imagine that you want to enter a Hotel Administration college and therefore you made up your mind to work part-time at a local inn. In the essay, you have to indicate your duties and experiences while serving the hotel residents.
- Childhood experience
Students who are good story-tellers can penetrate into their earliest years and recall on how their childhood impressions, events or people have shaped their character. We often forget that the most important lessons happen at the very beginning of our lives. The thing is we are not always able to evaluate their significance. And it is wonderful if you can remember such an experience and analyze it being almost an adult person.
Strategies to survive writing process
One of the biggest mistakes of many applicants is that they stuff their essay with a lot of things which do not let the admission officer select your best qualities. Your entrance paper is not a biography, reminiscences about the school life and a list of your activities and hobbies. You are not expected to include every other event in the paper even if it seems very important to you.
If you want your essay to stand out, the following strategies will help you focus on the meaningful things when presenting yourself to your college admission body:
- Strategy1. Show how you can contribute to both academic and extra-curricular life of the college. You can do it by telling that you are interested in some scientific work. You can tell that you will be happy to join some student society. For example, you were a member of your school aerobics team and in your college, you can continue your sports career.
- Strategy2. Highlight your organizational skills. The college looks for people able to manage the others and hold different events.
- Strategy3. Show not tell. Your task to illustrate your abilities rather than discuss them. If you are good at something, show how you personally, your surrounding people or schools will benefit from that.
- Strategy4. Focus on working experience
If you had a chance to work somewhere, it is a great idea to tell about it in your essay. This is because work makes people mature and more experienced in various fields. Almost every work experience improves a number of skills like technical competency, communication and problem-solving skills, time management, flexibility and others. Moreover, while working you develop such qualities as responsibility, punctuality, determination, loyalty and honesty.
- Strategy5. Show your enthusiasm for studies. To persuade the college that you are a worthy student who is going to do his best in class, you should first learn more about the college goals. Before you apply, please carry out your own research about the college. Look through the college website for the better understanding of its policies and teaching staff. Contact graduate students who can give some advice on what things would be appropriate in your essay. Finally, you may visit your college and see everything with your eyes.
What makes a bad entrance essay?
Now you will get precious knowledge of what bad entrance essays are so that to be able to avoid these mistakes in your own writing.
Here are the problems that feature a poorly written college experience essay:
- Too personal writing
It is crucial not to cross the boundary of privacy when talking about your life experiences. If you want to be sure that you have not stepped into the private zone, use this method: imagine you are having a conversation with a stranger in a transport. If there is something you cannot discuss with him, may also sound inappropriate to your college admission officer.
- Revealing immoral actions
It is recommended that the applicants should be honest when talking about who they are. However, it is not good if the selection committee will read about some illegal or unethical things about you. Bad experiences have nothing to do with dishonourable acts. Therefore, you must avoid mentioning such things as committing crimes, taking drugs or alcohol, sexual experiences and so on. Moreover, do not make your story too fictional even if it is true. Try not to mention such pathological flaws like narcissism, kleptomania, shopping addiction, etc.
- Too confident manner
It is pretty fine that you believe in yourself, however, no one loves a haughty person boasting of his accomplishments. Do not praise yourself as there are other people who can estimate your merits. For example, your volunteering practices deserve respect but this fact does not make you a hero.
- Too boring, vague and clichéd
Remember that your readers are looking for a vivid, smart and eventful story. They hate monotonous papers that describe key activities (already mentioned in your resume), essays that illustrate sad formative events. As it was said above, you should not describe your feelings and emotions but show how you have dealt with the situation.
College admission officers are sick and tired of the essays that completely focused on sport, privileged positions compared to poorer people, community service and so on. Students have a tendency to copy the ready-made essays which look like twins and repeat the same ideas and that is why their essays are full of offbeat examples.
Overuse of metaphors or comparing oneself with the animal or everyday objects. Frequently, the reader will simply do not understand what you mean – and this is a waste of your essay space. So write as clearly as you can.
A famous quote in the introduction. We have nothing against this method but remember that an admission essay is a paper where you play the music. Quotations are good somewhere inside the essay but not in the first line.
- Poor editing
Revising the essay for typos, grammar, and punctuation and format errors is a long meticulous process which you should never skip. This is the part of writing which requires the outside assistance. It will be great if you find several people who will proofread your essay. However, the best idea is to entrust your final draft to the experts. Thus, your essay will be free of all sorts of mistakes plus be edited according to your level, the paper style and subject.
What do successful papers look like?
The beauty of your entrance paper is that you revise it more than once. Two or three essay drafts are Ok for an applicant who strives for splendid and flawless writing. This section is devoted to the aspects that make your essay unique, attractive and pleasant to read.
The features of marvellous admission essays are:
This type of papers gives you more freedom as to the topic, structure and style. However, avoid such formats as a verse, play or other poetic forms.
- Chronology of the paper
You are writing an essay that shows how you have changed and improved due to a set of significances in your life so a chronological approach is the best choice for this paper.
- An engaging first sentence
This is a perfect chance to hook your readers once they have read the first line of your essay. If you want to write a compelling personal statement, make it a bit funny or strange, hypothetical or direct, memorable and clear.
- Condensed paragraphs
You will not be able to cover all important experiences you’ve got. So select two or four crucial things you think will be more interesting for your readers. Also, try to avoid a detailed description. Speak to the point.
- Great ending
Your last paragraph should be short and honest without being too fancy.
Extra professional help
We strongly advise you to reach out for extra assistance if you feel unconfident about the content of your paper. Another opinion will help you see if you are going the right way. You can seek help from parents, senior students, and school teachers.
However, you should know that no one is able to revise papers better than professional writers. There are hundreds of writing companies that sell all sorts of academic or business papers. But get assured that you are asking to write or revise your essay from a trustworthy wiring service, especially if you are going to order papers online. The best solution is to read the customers’ testimonials and check how long the writers have been proving their essay writing support. The longer, the better. The more positive comments, the better.
For a note, many students get hooked on cheap papers provided by writing agencies. However, low priced essays are not always high-quality ones. You should understand that every respectful specialist has taken much effort, money and time to become a skilful and reputed author and is not going to write for peanuts.
High price or reasonable price for the essay is often a guarantee that your paper will be free of plagiarism, up to the level, well-designed and crafted according to required standards. In one word, you will get a brilliant high-quality paper.
Our writing service has a magnificent experience in providing admission essays to everyone who is in need. Even if you have several days until the deadline, we will manage to prepare a first-class college entrance essay which will find the key to the heart of the admission committee. Waiting for your request!
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