How to Write a Succinct Essay for Your College and Scholarship Applications

Student writing a succinct essay

Flickr user Orin Zebest

When it comes to your college and scholarship applications, you most likely will have to write several essays before turning them in. Some will have topic suggestions you’ll need to adhere too and many of them will have word requirements and limits. But even if they don’t, it’s important to remember that the admission departments will have to read hundreds of essays. Writing a succinct essay can keep the reader interested and even help your admission chances. Here are ways to keep your writing clear and within the requirements.

Essay Scholarship For College Students

Plan Your Succinct Essay

The best way to keep your essay succinct is to plan your essay out ahead of time. You don’t want to just wing it. Writing without a plan makes it easy to get off track and start rambling.

However, brainstorming to start with and having a clear idea what you’re going to cover can help ensure you stay on topic. You can also cut out parts of your essay that don’t quite fit during this stage without wasting time on writing it.

Stick to Requirements

Now that you have a plan in mind, keep it in front of you while writing out your essay. You can absolutely stray off it a little bit here and there if you need to. Think of your plan as more of a guideline as you’ll find some aspects you wanted to include don’t work or you may want to add further information about another subject within the essay. However, having that plan ahead of time can help ensure you’re following a single train of thought.

The requirements are also important. If they request only 500 words, you don’t want to write 1,000. Although a 1,000 word essay can seem impressive, it is not enjoyable to the admissions department. In fact, it may get your application automatically declined. It’s best to keep to the word limit as well as topic if there is one requested.

Have Someone Read Your Work

It’s always a good idea to have someone read over your work, especially your scholarship or college application essays. Make sure you let them know what the essay should be about, the school or organization’s requirements, and that you were aiming to have your writing be succinct.

You may want to show your essay to your teacher, a peer, guidance counselor, or someone else you trust to give you honest advice and helpful critiques. Take their advice and take another look at your essay. See if there is anything you need to cut or isn’t quite necessary. It could help your essay be more succinct.

Writing your essay is an important and vital aspect of many scholarship and college applications. It’s vital that you make a good impression. Rambling or writing without a clear picture could hurt your admission chances. However, having a plan ahead of time, sticking with it, following each essay’s requirements, and having someone proofread and edit your work can help ensure you’re keeping your essay succinct, on track, and even enjoyable to read.

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Hilary Cairns

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