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Five tips to perfect your college admission essay

By Emily Moloney on December 26, 2012

Can you believe it is December already? College application deadlines are quickly approaching, which means that this is crunch time for high school seniors. As admission counselors, we often hear the question, “How can I make my application stand out among the rest?” One of the many ways you can make an impression in your application is through your college essay. It is here that applicants are able to provide admission counselors with a true understanding of what it is they will bring to the class dynamic or the campus community as a member of the student body.

Here is a list of do’s and don’ts to consider while writing your essay:

Do give yourself plenty of time. Writing is a process, and you should give your essay thoughtful consideration before you click submit. Allow yourself a few days, or even a week, to revisit, rethink, and revise your essay. It can be a long process of editing, but rest assured it will all be worth it in the end.

Do lend honesty and passion to your writing. This is the part of the application where we can truly understand your personality and what drives you. Honesty and sincerity shine through in essays, so write about a passion of yours, not just a topic that you think an admission counselor would like to read. Writing about something that only you can write about will ensure that your essay is unique. Also, remember to include how your experiences will help shape the time you will spend at college and how you hope to impact your future classmates.

Don’t stray. A well-written and well-organized piece about one topic is a much better representation of your skills than an essay leaving admission counselors wondering what you were trying to convey.

Don’t be redundant.  The essay is your chance to present something about yourself that we cannot find in any other part of your application. Avoid reiterating a list of your extracurricular activities or awards, but instead focus on one experience and the impact it has made on your life.

Don’t be sloppy. Do not rely solely on spell check to proofread your essay. Show it to family members, teachers, or your school counselor before sending it in. Spelling and grammatical errors are glaring to an admission counselor reading the essay for the first time. Taking this extra step really will help it shine.

We wish you all the best as you put the finishing touches on your applications. Remember, the Colgate regular decision deadline is January 15th, 2013 and you have until March 1, 2013 to change your application to Early Decision II. We look forward to reading your application!


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