How to Write a Good College Application Essay When Writing Isn’t Your Strength

Flickr user Bruce Denis

If you’re not fully confident in your writing ability, the essay part of the college application can be daunting. However, just because you don’t think you’re a good writer it doesn’t mean you can’t craft a successful and interesting essay. Here are some things to keep in mind and do when it comes time to sit down and write.

Take Your Time

There is time to write your essay. It doesn’t need to be the first aspect of your applications that you tackle. That doesn’t mean you should slack off. Instead, take this time to brainstorm ideas. What is important to you that also fits the guidelines of the application? What are you confident you can talk about?

If you’re struggling to come up with anything, discuss your options with important people in your life. This could be a teacher, a coach, a friend, relatives, or someone else. They can help you go in the right direction.

Keep it Personal and Narrow

If you’re not a good writer, it can become easy to wander off the path. When you’re brainstorming ideas, keep your topic personal. What would set you apart from the rest of the applicants?

Colleges receive plenty of essays that talk about how great they are. Unless they’re specifically asking why you want to attend their school, try to steer clear and highlight your creativity, drive, or just what makes you unique instead.

In that same note, stick to your idea. You don’t want your essay to turn into a ramble. It should be clear and concise. Focus on one story, rather than several. You want to make this piece easy to follow and understand in the end.

Have Someone Review It

Before you send off your application, always have someone review your essay. Before anything else, tell them your college’s request and guidelines and then ask them to really discuss what they think. This should include their thoughts about the topic, but also ask them to talk about the flow of your essay, grammar, spelling, and the overall writing.

Your English teacher can be a great person to approach in this regard, but you may want to show it to a fellow student who is a good writer or excels in English. You can also talk to your high school counselor, parents, or anyone else you trust to give you an honest opinion of your essay along with constructive feedback.

Even when you’re a good writer, writing your college application essays can be stressful. After all, you want to ensure it’s unique, but well written. But it’s okay to ask for help each step of the way. Just don’t plagiarize. When you’re ready to send it off, double check that you’ve followed their guidelines. This includes word count and answering the question they asked, but each school is different. You’ll want to carefully review each college’s questions. You don’t want to be declined before you have your foot in the door.

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Hilary Cairns

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