Your personal essay is one of the many components of your college application, but what you write in your essay reveals a side of you that your test scores and transcripts don’t—your unique personality. Use your personal essay as a platform to showcase yourself and your writing skills.
These tips will help you craft a compelling personal essay that will catch the attention of the admissions staff.
Start Your Personal Essay Early
Starting early gives you plenty of time to brainstorm a theme, create a draft and develop a compelling story. You can mull over ideas and add or delete from the original draft. If you don’t like the way it is shaping up, you still have enough time to start all over again. This is far better than submitting a mediocre essay simply because you have run out of time.
Saying something like “Backpacking around the world helped me grow and develop” is very vague. Simply recounting an event or experience does not tell the reader how it impacted you. It’s more important to describe what you learned and how the experience affected you and changed you.
Keep it Relevant
Your essay should be relevant to the program you are applying for. If you are applying to a science program, talking about your appreciation for the arts is irrelevant and will do nothing to boost your application. Stay focused on showcasing only those skills, aptitude and goals that relate to the program you hope to get accepted into.
Only Submit Your Own Work
You may be tempted to hire a professional writer to write a top notch personal essay that ticks all the boxes or use one of the many sample essays that you find online. Many students have tried these tactics but the truth is, they never work.
Admissions officers have been read through hundreds of essays every cycle and they know when they are reading an essay that is plagiarized or written by a professional. Dishonesty will get your application rejected faster than a poorly written essay. Take time to write your own essay and only submit your own work.
All Done? Keep It Aside For a While and Then Read It Aloud
After a while writing and tweaking the essay, your brain will become immune to any existing flaws and errors. Once you are satisfied with the way your essay has turned out, keep it aside for a while and don’t even think about it. After a week or so take it out again and read it aloud to a family member or to a teacher. Reading aloud helps you not just to catch those overlooked errors but also to gauge the flow and tone of the essay.
If you stumble when reading a sentence, chances are there is something wrong. Is the grammar wrong? Does it sound like you are repeating that you said earlier? Does the sentence sound redundant? Make a note and re-work your essay till you are satisfied when reading it aloud.
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