Ever wonder what the college admissions board is thinking when they read essay after essay? How can you make a good impression and get admitted to your dream college? Here’s everything you need to know.
1. Who are you? GPAs and accomplishments are just words on a page. Your essay is the one chance you have to be unique and memorable. Tell a story about yourself that will demonstrate to the admission staff your positive qualities. Spend the most time preparing the first and final paragraphs. They should be your best material and contain a central thesis statement which the rest of the paper will address more fully.
2. Can you write? The admissions board will want to see if you were properly prepared in secondary school to be qualified for their program. It is important to have strong transitions and good flow between sentences and paragraphs. Your ideas need to be well-organized and relevant. Of course, it is essential to use correct grammar. It is most common for people to make mistakes with possessive apostrophes, quotation marks, run-on sentences, and hyphenated words.
3. Careless errors are the number one red flag. The board will ask themselves- are you focused and competent? Take your time preparing your essay and be thorough. Proofread again and again to ensure that every word, phrase and punctuation mark is correct. Most often people make mistakes with commas and with words that are spelled right, but are the wrong word for the context (for example- affect vs. effect). After you have proofread it yourself several times, then put it aside and look at it again later with fresh eyes, or ask a skilled friend to help edit.
4. Are you ready to face a demanding curriculum? College will be a marathon of reading assignments, papers, exams, labs and group projects. Show that you have the discipline it takes to follow the rules and meet the demands by sticking to the proposed page limit or word limit. Double-check that you have done all formatting and spacing as suggested. Be sure you have actually answered the question with your essay and kept to the point.
5. Will you succeed in college? Use your words to bring to life your past successes and what is great about you. Think about a few characteristics that enable you to be an achiever and have helped you accomplish past goals. Stay positive. There’s no need to mention negative qualities about yourself, unless it would help to clarify reasons for a low GPA or limited extracurricular activities or incompletes. If you have to discuss flaws in your previous academic performance, then explain steps you will take to not repeat these failures.
This article was written by Amy Clark from Paper Proofreader, a website that specializes in providing help for college application essays.