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Write your admissions essay

Write your admissions essay

Whether you're working on an essay for college admission or a scholarship application, or just want to improve your writing skills, the tips below can be a big help.

  • Read the directions carefully. Make sure you understand the application or assignment completely.
  • Spend some time brainstorming. Think of topics that highlight your strengths, creativity, struggles you've overcome, or an issue you're passionate about.
  • Have a plan. Outline some notes for yourself including the message you want your essay to get across.
  • Brainstorm for ideas! List all your attributes/dreams and barriers that you might have overcome or are addressing now.
  • Write a rough draft. It doesn't have to be perfect or even good, but it's the best place to start.
  • Write a better draft. Include anything you missed and remove anything that doesn't help make your point.
  • Don't be afraid to start over. If the topic isn't working or it's just not going in the right direction, feel free to start from scratch.
  • Ask for help. Your high school English teacher, a friend who consistently writes 'A' papers, or a tutor can all be great sources of help.
  • Use spell check and proofread carefully; however, don't simply rely on your computer grammar or spell check. Whatever you do, don't submit an essay with a grammatical error or typo. Double and triple check your work, and ask someone you trust to review it with fresh eyes.
  • Save your essay. You may be able to rework it and use it for other scholarships or admissions applications.
  • Be careful. Don't write an essay that's generic; it needs to describe you and give the reader a chance to KNOW you personally. Your goal is to stand out from the rest of the applicants by reflecting on experiences and providing your unique perspective. Sell yourself.
  • Is your essay tailored toward the mission of the institution/business you're applying to? This will determine if you're an ideal candidate.
  • Give examples. Be specific. You don't need to repeat what's already on your resume.
  • Long words and obscure vocabulary aren't necessary, as they may come across as fake and showy. Big words do NOT make a good essay. Advanced vocabulary is fine only if it comes naturally to you.