To most people, fall is just back-to-school season. To high school seniors, it’s “let’s try to figure my future out now, even though I’m only 18 and have no life experience” season. This is the time of year when seniors all over the world are getting stressed out over the same particular thing: college applications. The truth is college applications are pretty simple, though it is a tedious process — the truly hard part is writing a good essay. However, there are some essay and application tips that might help you convince schools that you have relevant insight to add to their university.
Understand the question that’s being asked. Even if your essay is great, that doesn’t mean anything unless you actually answer the question. Don’t talk about your passion for badminton if they asked you about a time you saw inequality.
Don’t just list your achievements. There is nothing engaging in an essay that lists what colleges already know about you from your application. If you feel that colleges need to know something about you, then show them, don’t just tell.
Does this matter? Always ask yourself that question when writing your essay. There is usually a word limit so it can be bad to add unnecessary information.
Don’t repeat yourself. Most colleges give you a word limit, so don’t waste it on the same details. Remember, don’t repeat yourself. Don’t use an adjective twice in the same sentence, as this makes the writing redundant. Also, don’t repeat yourself. You should be diverse in what you saying and how your saying it. It is super annoying when people repeat themselves in any piece of writing. Wasn’t it?
It’s okay to brag, but not so much that it seems you are “showing off” (geez, we know you’re great at badminton). It is really not the time to be modest. The college already knows that you like their school from you applying there. They are trying to decide if you are someone who they want, so make sure that they know that you are someone they need.
Do your research. When you apply to a college, you need them to know if it’s the right fit for you. If you mention some of their programs or clubs, then they will be more convinced that you’ll succeed at their school. If you are talking about your dedication to badminton, then mention their badminton club that you would like to join if you go to that university.
Be engaging. Everyone is trying to stand out, so if you write a dull essay you will most likely be passed over. Ironically, if you’re a little uncomfortable talking about it, it should probably go in your essay. Don’t mention anything too revealing like, “the stink bomb incident,” but be unique.
Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. It is important that colleges want you, but they should want you for the type of student you are — not for someone you are pretending to be. If they don’t accept you, then it’s probably not the right school for you anyway. Be yourself, but maybe ease up on the whole badminton thing.
At the end of the day, don’t stress over college too much — everyone is in the same boat, just trying to find out what works for us. Senior year is a weird time, full of goodbyes and welcoming the new to our lives. All we can do is try the best we can.
Bonus Tip: Always have someone else spell check your essays for you. Rose LaForest looked over this five times and there were still errors.