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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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How to write a great college essay?

I'm starting to think about my college application essays, and I want to make sure mine stands out from the rest. Do you have any tips, tricks, or resources I could use to write a really great essay that'll grab admission officers' attention?

6 months ago

Writing a great college essay requires a combination of authenticity, creativity, and thoughtful introspection. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you craft an essay that will stand out:

1. Start early: Begin thinking about your essay topics a few months in advance. This gives you time to brainstorm, explore different angles, and revise as needed.

2. Reflect on your experiences: Your essay should ideally showcase your unique qualities, insights, or experiences. Spend some time reflecting on the moments that have shaped your life, and identify the themes, lessons, or patterns that have emerged from those experiences.

3. Choose a unique topic: Choose a topic that genuinely interests you and highlights an aspect of your life or personality that isn't covered elsewhere in your application. Avoid cliché topics like overcoming a sports injury or writing about a service trip abroad (you can find a more extensive list of such topics on CollegeVine's blog: https://blog.collegevine.com/cliche-college-essay-topics). Instead, focus on an event or experience that is personal and reveals something deeper about who you are.

4. Be authentic: The best essays come from honest personal experiences and authentic emotions. Don't try to write what you think the admissions officers want to hear or attempt to force a certain image of yourself onto the page. Instead, be genuine and true to your own voice, as that is what will best show what sets you apart from any other applicant.

5. Engage your reader: Use an interesting opening line or a vivid anecdote to grab your reader's attention. Make sure that your essay is easy to read, well-organized, and flows smoothly. Consider using literary devices like metaphors, similes, and vivid descriptions to make your writing more engaging, although these higher level details are also something you can add later on - with a first draft, just focus on getting your ideas down.

6. Be concise and focused: While you may have a lot to say, make sure that your essay is focused on one main point or theme. Use clear and concise language, and avoid using unnecessary or overly complicated words. Remember, you typically have a word limit, so make every word count.

7. Show, don't tell: Use specific examples to illustrate your points and let your experiences speak for themselves. Instead of simply stating that you're a compassionate person, describe an experience where you demonstrated compassion.

8. Revise and seek feedback: Once you have a draft, revise it multiple times and seek feedback from teachers, family members, or friends. Be open to constructive criticism and be prepared to make changes as needed.

9. Proofread: Finally, make sure to carefully proofread your essay to ensure that it is free of errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

For resources, CollegeVine offers free essay guides on how to tackle your personal statement (https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-write-the-common-application-essays/), and on the prompts for individual schools (here is the one for Harvard: https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-write-the-harvard-university-essays/), as well as both a free peer essay review service and paid reviews from expert college admissions advisors, if you want to get a more objective set of eyes on your essay from someone who doesn't already know you.

Good luck, and happy writing!

6 months ago

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