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How To Write A Better College Essay

How To Write A Better College Essay

As college admissions become more and more difficult and applicants become more and more qualified, the college essay gains clout as a vital part of the application process. An outstanding personal essay, no matter how long, is sometimes the deciding factor for a prospective student. But it’s not enough to show proficiency with the written word — at least not anymore. Today’s personal essays revolve around the sense of personality and style gleaned from each sentence, and it’s your responsibility to harness those elements. The following tips will get you on your way to the acceptance pile.


The most important part of a college essay is the actual topic, so you need plenty of time to mull over the choices. You’ll want something interesting, but not cliché, significant but not trite. Consider the following questions during your brainstorming process:

1. What distinguishes you from others in your age group? Any special skills, talents, interests or attributes?

2. Have you engaged yourself in a fierce struggle for something? Did you succeed or fail? What have you learned?


Since the college essay is usually short to begin with, concluding with a summary paragraph is fairly redundant. Instead, use this paragraph to create a stunning last impression. How does your topic fit into a larger issue? What have you learned from the experience about which you’ve written? Are there any poignant quotes that illuminate your ideas? You don’t need to create a tidy, television-style wrap-up, but you do need to end strongly; this is your last chance to make a vivid impression.

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