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2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Creative approaches to writing a college essay?

I'm beginning to write my personal application essay and in doing so I've realized that while I have a strong, unique essay theme/topic, I am struggling to express this idea in a way that's unique (and I really don't want to sound like my essay was made with a basic formula that everyone uses--even if it's quality writing it might sound dry/redundant to the essay readers). Anybody have ideas for a creative approach that could help me stand out above other applicants? Also, to anyone who's reviewed other essays, I'm curious as to what constituted the difference between a good essay and an outstanding one (and what the best/most creative essays you've read were about.)

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@jasmin45a month ago

Thanks for this post Omaar bhai

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5 answers

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2 years ago

A good essay tells you more about the author and what they're like, what motivates them, what inspires them, etc. An outstanding essay shows you. Simple as that.

You've heard the adage, "Show, don't tell," right? It's exactly right. You've got to be good at storytelling if you want to write an essay that knocks your reader's socks off. Talk about the tiniest details and weave them into your narrative, and use your narrative to construct the base of your essay. Any topic, when written in an extraordinary way, can become an extraordinary essay.

Who are you, really? What do you stand for? What makes you tick? What lights up your world? Deep questions from an anonymous internet user, I know, but your answers to these reveal something about yourself, something the reader wants to know. But they don't want you to tell them; they want you to show them. You know?

TL;DR - think about who you are and what you're interested in, and then write a story about that in your own words that ultimately reveals something poignant and inspiring and beautiful that makes the Admissions Officer want to cry and run to the other AOs and shout, "This kid is amazing!" Or just tell your own narrative in your own voice. Same thing.

Oh - and about my favorite essay? I've reviewed a couple, most of which were decent (some of which should never see the light of day), but one was really, really good. Like, really, really, REALLY good. This person wrote about their love of cooking, which I guess is an ordinary topic. But they intertwined it with their mom's struggle with a mental health/health crisis (I forgot which, but I thiiink it was schizophrenia or bipolar) and my LORD it was gorgeous. The emotion! The simplicity! The description! The complexity! All these contradicting elements pulled together in a magical way that took my breath away. (If you're reading this, essayist, your essay was amazing and you're a talented writer!! <3<3<3)

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2 years ago[edited]

For me, essay writing is also quite a complicated and time-consuming process. And it doesn't matter the type of oaoer I have to write, the theme and so on, I always have some troubles. And the advice, which is based on my own experience, is to read similar papers. You can find some samples online; for example, I always read them on https://studyhippo.com/ , and it always helps me to complete my paper. Also, I recommend you read different literature, articles and so on because it's also good for skills development and improving your knowledge.

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2 years ago

My biggest piece of advice, which I think makes or breaks an essay, is to have an extremely intriguing hook and an ending that makes the reader not able to forget you. I personally like to start with a piece of dialogue that is sudden and maybe controversial to get the reader interested. Other ways you can do so could be through introducing a controversial topic, asking an interesting question, something interesting and unique about you or the topic, or even an anecdote. The goal is to have the reader hooked and wanting more right at the first sentence. When you write your ending, you want to do something similar by writing an ending that makes the reader remember you even after reading your essay. You could restate your introduction but add an important lesson that you learned that one would not expect, write a unique but meaningful metaphor, address the reader, restate your biggest point and/or a new point that doesn't require too much detail (you don't want to introduce a whole new topic that would require its own paragraph as you want to keep it short and simple) to make it your "cherry on top" or "la pièce de résistance", or even keep it simple and just leave an inspirational quote you made yourself as your last sentence.

For the part in between, just write an essay as you normally would but be sure to give it a personal touch and use very unique vocabulary. A way to check if it's unique is to read it and ask yourself, could this apply to anyone else? If your answer is yes, you need to make it more personal and unique.

Otherwise, I wish you luck with your essay!

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2 years ago

my biggest piece of advice is just to read other people’s writing. since u have a strong topic and just need help to express it, reading works by others (and not just like classic novels or whatever, this could be new articles, essays, op-ed’s, blog posts, etc.) will be invaluable in building ur writing skills and showing u new ways to write that u had never thought of before. so basically, i give u full permission to go down an internet rabbit hole on ur favorite topic and read way others have to say about it :)

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2 years ago

I'm not the best writer out there, and I'll be the first to admit that writing an essay is not my strongest suit. That being said, over the years I've developed a method that works for me when it comes to writing essays. When I'm given an essay assignment, the first thing I do is look for examples of similar papers online (one of them https://assignbuster.com/free-essays/). This helps me to get a better understanding of what is expected of me and also gives me a starting point from which to work. After that, I start brainstorming ideas and developing a rough outline of what I want to say. Once I have a general idea of the direction I want to go in, I start writing. And finally, once the essay is written, I go back and edit it, making sure that everything flows smoothly and that all the necessary points are covered. While this process may not work for everyone, it's what works for me and has helped me to produce quality essays time and time again.

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