Flickr user Melissa Baldwin

Application essays are your chance to really let admission officers (or scholarship committees) get to know you. Your interests, your activities, your family trips: So long as the information concerns the essay topic, it’s fair game. This means that essays need to be able to convey you as well as possible. Here are a few tips to writing a strong essay, even if you’re not a strong writer.

Speak About Your Passions

Talking about something you are knowledgeable or passionate about gives your written voice strength. You are also going to have an easier time articulating what you mean when it’s something you want to write about.

Follow the Prompt

This is standard rule for all written assignments. If you make sure what you write answers the question being asked, or the prompt being given, you are going to leave a good impression. Even the best writers will get nowhere if they can’t demonstrate an understanding of the question.

Don’t Be Afraid to Show Emotion

While there should be some amount of formality in your application essays (not using too many contractions or slang, for example), they are not research papers or literary analyses. You can be humorous. You can be serious. Whatever tone you’re going for, don’t be afraid of it. It’s going to make it a more interesting read, and therefore something that sticks out.

You Can’t Get It Wrong if It’s the Truth

Many students go into application essays thinking that there is a “right” answer that the admissions people are looking for. Look at all the unique and interesting stories about the essays that got students into tough schools. Those essays came from honest places in those students.

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