College Application Essay: How to Begin Writing It
First thing’s first, you can’t possibly get accepted into a good college unless you start with a compelling and engaging introduction. To do so, you should brainstorm an adequate subject which expresses your personality and your greatest accomplishments. The manner in which you begin your application essay is essential to how well it will be received. So, you’d better take your time and focus during this phase. As you start the writing process, the two most useful pieces of advice from admission committee members are to show who you are and to make your point clear.
The Brainstorming Process
Brainstorming is of great importance. This goes for any type of essay. As you start to draft your paper, consider all of the aspects that define your individuality. Think about your passions, pastimes or concerns. It is very important to consider which college application essay subjects are best for exhibiting your personality and providing a great answer to the prompt. Find out precisely what the requirements of the prompt are. In most cases, the prompt is very complex and open to interpretation. Take enough time to meditate upon it and analyze it.
After making sure that you are aware of the precise question of the prompt, list out all of the possible topics you could approach in response to it. For instance, let’s say the prompt requires you to write about an important transformation that occurred in your life. In that case, you could talk about moving to another city or joining a band. Afterward, write for approximately ten minutes without pausing. This way, you’ll make sure that you’re able to write down all of your ideas. The brainstorming process will aid you in determining your subject and will ease up the outlining phase.
Structure Your Writing
When dealing with a college application essay, flow is crucial. This is why you need to structure your writing in a manner which doesn’t divert attention from your thoughts. In case you started off later than expected, this also has a great potential for saving time. Devise a draft of all of the ideas you wish to express in your paper. Draw inspiration from other essays. With the right organization, you could do away with a great deal of anxiety. Take a look at the following college application essay recommendations, and it will be much easier for you to get started:
- Use description instead of narration: If you’ve taken a look at some essay examples, you’ve probably noticed that the most successful papers use description rather than provide a straightforward narration of occurrences. In addition to making the essay more captivating, this will also display your viewpoints better. Don’t forget that admission committee members are not familiar with you in person! This can be both favorable and unfavorable: favorable because you have a shot at making an awesome first impression and unfavorable if you don’t know how to sell yourself right.
- Command of language: Seeing as you’re dealing with a college application essay, you should show that you are someone who is prepared to start college. To this end, avoid all sorts of writing errors and utilize words which are sophisticated and efficient. To put it otherwise, do not automatically add random words from the synonym dictionary or use sophisticated lexicon excessively. To augment your writing, utilize fancy terms. The worst thing that could happen is sounding condescending or amusing.
- Be concise: Convey your ideas in as few words as you can. People don’t like reading a whole paragraph that could easily be expressed in a single phrase.
- Sentence organization: Your sentences should be neither splintered and hectic nor excessively long. In other words, to enhance efficaciousness and flow, your sentences should be of different sizes.
- Peer revisions: While it would be a good idea to have someone revise your paper for language and morphology mistakes, you should avoid asking too many people to look over your essay, as you may end up feeling puzzled. You should also revise the essay by yourself. A great tactic is to look at other essays and compare them to your own. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should reproduce their structure, but no one says you can’t use it as inspiration.
- Analyze the prompt: As indicated earlier, an essential aspect to consider during the prewriting stage is analyzing the prompt. Read the following college application prompts and take a look at the manner in which we dissect them:
- Discuss a person who has inspired you: If you’re required to talk about an individual who has exerted an impact on your life, don’t talk about famous historical figures. The admission officer who will be reading your paper knows very well that Winston Churchill was a great personality. Instead, you ought to concentrate on your own perspective. Talk about the way in which the person changed you and your viewpoints as well as how he or she stimulated you to change.
- Why do you wish to attend this college? – This supplement question is often amazingly difficult to respond to. Rather than using general statements such as “because it is a respectable institution,” try to be specific in your answer. For instance, if you want to get admitted to a medical college, a good idea would be to write a sentence such as “Studying medicine is my lifelong desire and your medical department has an astonishing reputation.” Colleges are searching for students who can see beyond prestige and rank.
- Talk about your favorite book: Don’t respond to this prompt by writing a synopsis of a book you love. The perfect way to go about it is to discuss the way in which the book influenced you and why you relate to it. Mention the reason for which the book defines you. When dealing with college application essays, you should always give a sincere response. Do not opt for a book simply because it’s a classic one. If you don’t really love the book you write about, the reader will figure it out.
- Present an important extracurricular activity: This prompt offers you the chance to discuss a moment in which you learned something meaningful. Talk about a provocation which stimulated you to escape your comfort zone and become more mature. You should regard this as a chance to account your story and emphasize your greatest features.
College Application Essay Formatting Requirements
When it comes the format of your paper, comply with the following guidelines:
- Use the Times New Roman font with 12-point letter size
- Use double spacing
- Margins must have the size of 1”
- Add an indent to each paragraph
- Last name and the page number appear at top left corner of the page
- As a general rule, college application essays have a relatively short length (400-600 words)
Ways to Approach the Common Application
The Common Application enables you to apply to more or less 700 different colleges. Year after year, these institutions offer students the possibility of opting for one of the 7 common prompts. Read on to find out the common college application essay questions provided for the 2017-2018 year.
- Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. [No change]
- The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? [Revised]
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? [Revised]
- Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. [No change]
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. [Revised]
- Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? [New]
- Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. [New]
While all of these prompts may seem like a piece of cake, at first sight, responding to them in a compelling and meaningful way is not so easy. Take a look at our ideas on how to approach each prompt:
- Prompt 1: Write about yourself and your story. Seeing as the prompt requires you to talk about your personality, you should mention things that are special about you. Don’t talk about matters like high school achievements. Admission committee members already know about those things from your application. Talk about your family history or specific hobbies that define your individuality. Make sure you are imaginative and truthful.
- Prompt 2: Facing obstacles. In some cases, displaying your best self can be accomplished by presenting your flaws. Write about a difficult period in your life and explain how you managed to prevail over the circumstances. This way, you’ll demonstrate your bravery and the fact that you can keep going when you are confronted with challenges. Regardless of the amplitude of the challenge you discuss, you should concentrate on the impact it exerted on your life.
- Prompt 3: Ideas and convictions. A modification of viewpoint could represent a very intense account. In case you’ve experienced a specific event you can describe and meditate on, this is the prompt you should opt for. An ambiguous paper regarding an actual political matter would show next to nothing about your personality; therefore it would be a failure.
- Prompt 4: An answer to an issue. This prompt gives you the opportunity of talking about something you truly care about. Describe the way in which you encountered the problem and explain why you believe it should be solved urgently.
- Prompt 5: Maturity and insight. This might be one of the hardest prompts on the list. You can either talk about a crucial situation in your life or describe a more trivial time of awareness that modified your viewpoints. Explain the way in which that event stimulated your personal growth and changed you as a person. You should also mention what you learned from that moment.
- Prompt 6: Keen interest. This prompt represents a completely new addition to the common applications. It offers you the possibility of talking about things that are important to you. Colleges are on the lookout for students who are concerned about the environment and like to engage in specific activities. Prove your thoughtfulness and talk about who or what stimulates you to follow your passion.
- Prompt 7: Full liberty of answer! For this alternative, there aren’t any specific guidelines. You should choose this topic if you’ve been influenced by one of the papers you’ve written as part of other assignments, or if you have a specific question that you wish to find answers to. Keep in mind that you need to highlight your significance! Your essay should include responses to how and why questions.
A Successful Scholarship Application Essay
Scholarship essays are somewhat different from typical college application essays. Nevertheless, you should stick to the same guidelines. Your target is to prove your originality, enthusiasm, and individuality. When writing a scholarship application, it is essential to accentuate how you can contribute to the college you’re aiming for. Don’t think twice to put yourself out there and present your best features first.
Typical Varieties of College Application Essays
The Common Application doesn’t constitute the sole platform for this type of essays. A lot of institutions demand their own style. Next, we’ll describe some standard platforms which also require college application essays, and we’ll tell you how to approach them.
FSU College Application
While the Florida State University doesn’t ask for an application essay, it’s advisable to send them one. Your paper should feature less than 650 words. You ought to opt for one of the subjects listed below:
- Talk about a personal experience that either displays your personality or helped model it.
- Talk about a time in which you substantially contributed to other people, with the greater good in mind. Describe the provocations and recompenses of making that contribution.
- Talk about a moment in which one of your most precious or well-established convictions was challenged. Mention the way in which you answered. Discuss the way in which the challenge modified your beliefs.
Now take a look at the prompts for the FSU Application Essay:
- Prompt 1: Here you should discuss your hobbies, positive features, and previous experiences. Talk about all aspects that define your personality. Concentrate on a particular quality you wish to underline.
- Prompt 2: Generosity represents a great personality feature. Concentrate on the way in which you’ve made a contribution to society and describe how you felt.
- Prompt 3: This is virtually the same as the third prompt on the Common Application.
UC College Application
The University of California institution requires you to opt for 4 out of 8 essay questions. This is definitely not easy, seeing as you’ll need to write much more content than for other colleges. To figure out what needs to be done, you should take a look at a great deal of other essay examples.
Talk about an instance of your management experience where you’ve exerted a positive impact on other people, aided them in settling conflicts or played a part in group endeavors in the course of time.
Each individual has a significant part. Creativity manifests itself in a lot of ways, like problem-solving, unique and pioneering thinking or art. Talk about the way in which you demonstrate your creativity.
- Talk about your best talent or ability and the way in which you’ve cultivated and proven that talent in the course of time.
- Talk about how you’ve profited from an important learning opportunity or struggled to prevail over a learning impediment you’ve confronted with.
- Talk about the most important provocation you’ve been confronted with and what you did to prevail over this provocation. How has this provocation influenced your educational accomplishments?
- Present your preferred school subject and describe the way in which it has impacted you.
- Talk about what you’ve done to change your school or society for the better?
- Describe the feature that makes you stand out from the other applicants who wish to get accepted into the University of California.
Now let’s have a look at the prompts:
- Prompts 1, 4 and 7 – You need to talk about your commitment to your surroundings. Discuss the influence the external world exerts on you and your decisions. Describe the way in which you dealt with obstacles.
- Prompts 2 and 6 – Talk about yourself and your individuality. Present the aspects that define your personality. Reflect on your convictions and features and describe the way in which they shape your character.
- Prompts 3, 4 and 8 – Discuss your accomplishments. Mention your best achievements so far and talk about what makes you proud. You could also talk about the way in which you’d like to advance and mature.
NHS College Application
The National Honor Society is an establishment that places a high value on management skills, service, personality, and education. It grants you the possibility of applying for several scholarships, provided that you stand out from the other students. After your nomination, you are required to forward an essay. To be successful, you need to consider several aspects. Sell yourself right! Your target is to be perceived as an exemplary applicant who appreciates knowledge and orderliness. Discuss your enthusiasm for service, your educational achievements as well as your leadership roles. Mention the aspects for which you are a powerful applicant. Provided that you give the right responses, you’re bound to get accepted into the NHS.
Rutgers College Application
To apply for RU, you need to hand in an essay. You can opt for one of the five prompts. Present an instance of your management experience in which you exerted a good impact on other people, aided in settling conflicts or made a valuable contribution to group endeavors. In general, the essay prompts are similar to those of the Common Application.
- Prompt 1 – You need to use narrative to present an occurrence which shaped you and emphasizes your top features. Focus on the impact it exerts on you. The magnitude of the event is not of importance.
- Prompt 2 – Talk about the way in which you influence the world around you and the people in it. This prompt is a great choice for service individuals.
- Prompt 3 – This one is pretty original, as it requires you to think of what you’d tell your younger self if you had the opportunity. You shouldn’t talk about remorse here. Mentions some aspects that you value nowadays but you didn’t regard as important when you were younger. This prompt is an excellent way to highlight personal development.
- Prompt 4 – Here you have a complete liberty of response. Make sure you are creative enough!
UCF College Application
While the University of Central Florida doesn’t see the essay part as mandatory, it’s advisable to turn in a paper. Your essay must include between 500 and 7000 words. You can choose to answer to any of the three questions listed below:
- In what way have you been influenced by your family history, society or surroundings?
- What is the reason for which you decided to apply to UCF?
- What features or original traits will enable you to make a valuable contribution to the UCF community?
Now let’s talk about the UCF prompts.
- Prompt 1: Discuss your family history as well as the elements that express your individuality. Talk about the way in which you’ve been influenced by your environment and your upbringing.
- Prompt 2: Give a sincere response. Talk about why you want to attend UFC and how you can contribute to it. Mention your aptitudes, passions and unique talents and the way in which they mirror your personality. Highlight your top features.
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