How to Write a College Essay
Play this Episode by Clicking Below
Writing the College Essay with Confidence - Episode 050
Writing the college entrance essay is your one shot to display your awesomeness to the world. But it isn’t so easy. You might assume that you’re sure about what you want to include- but when you put pen to paper, reality sweeps you away and you’re stuck with no words and a blank sheet of paper.
As a high school kid, I remember being waitlisted for college, and the only way I redeemed myself was through that second essay. I knew that my grades wouldn’t get me through, but acing that essay would. And it did!
Writing the college entrance essay is more than writing about your experiences in high school. The reader wishes to evaluate your writing skills, your ability to put forth arguments, your capacity to come up with fresh perspectives, and more importantly, how you convey those very ideas in a concise manner. After all, you have to fit some of the most crucial chapters of your life into a mere 600 words.
Use the college essay as a learning opportunity and get in touch with your feelings! There’s no need to be a thespian and add more drama than required. You must self-reflect and showcase this reflection in your essay. Mentioning your achievements in high school is good, but you need to draw a picture of your growth in attempting to gain these achievements.
Find YOUR Voice
When you begin writing the college entrance essay, you need to find your own voice and present your most authentic self. Ultimately, I figured that grades and co-curricular achievements are spectacular, but not enough.
College committees go through millions of applications and the last thing they want to see is another kid rambling on about their achievements in high school.
You need to show them something different and make them understand why you deserve to be in their college just as much as anyone else. It’s hard to find your own voice and get carried away by the impostor syndrome, but you need to keep looking!
The Spooky Perfectionism Ghost
This is perhaps the most common trap that kids fall into. You read your essay over and over and find a new mistake or a couple of new ideas, And then you have to bring it down to the word limit again, which becomes a never ending process! It’s never going to be perfect, and every time you read it, you will find things to change.
But don’t let perfectionism haunt you and possibly even delay your progress. You may be making redundant changes and get so caught up that you miss the deadline!
What’s worse is that continually second-guessing yourself is not a very positive feeling. The real reason that you keep delaying the submission is, however, the fear of failure. It isn’t just about whether or not your essay is good enough, but also bigger things like what if it’s actually up to the mark and you do get through. Then, you will have to live up to the college’s expectations, and that can be very daunting.
It is okay to feel this way and many kids do. But you can’t let this fear of failure get to you. You have to conquer your doubts and know that everything you’ve written in the college essay about yourself is completely true!
If you still feel a little blue thinking about expectations from college, then sit down and talk it out with your school counselor. Try to get over your perfectionism and fear of failure by expressing yourself.
Now For Some Tips!
Write the first draft. The flow and language can be changed later, but first get down whatever comes to your mind, and from that pile, you can find something to use.
Remember that you’re writing for application screeners, so make sure your tone doesn’t sound too self-centered and instead is relatable and interesting. However, they are asking you a critical question, and answering that is your obligation, so don’t stray away from it.
Finally, hand a red pen to someone you really trust and can hear criticism from without being offended. Once you give them that essay, they should be brutally honest. Such constructive criticism is exactly what you need for your essay to become better.
Nervous about your spelling and grammar? Use my favorite FREE tool Grammarly! Easily check your spelling as you go, or cut and paste into their review tool. We aren’t talking about your grandmother’s spellchecker! Grammarly goes beyond catching your tiny spelling error. Get feedback on your sentence structure, grammar and more! Click here to sign up for free!
Finally, read a book named ‘Conquering the College Admission Essay in 10 Steps’ by Alan Gelb. I wish I had it when I wrote my college essay. The book has a bunch of dos and don’ts along with tidbits that can help you with your essay immensely. Gelb says that you need to dig deeper and showcase who you are as a person.
Don’t stress out too much and have fun with your essay. If you finish your first draft on time, you will have enough time to polish it up for the final submission. Make sure you use your authentic voice and be true to yourself. Show the world why you’re AWESOME!
*Some links in this article are affiliate links and may provide compensation*
Listen to the full episode of School Counselor Gone Rogue for additional tips and insight. You can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Googleplay, or Iheartradio or visit http://www.schoolcounselorgonerogue.com each week for the full episode (though let’s be honest, subscribing is so much easier!)
You can also sign up for the wait list for The Organized School Year at teampasch.com/theorganizedschoolyear. It’s an intensive workshop to help your child create and implement an organization system that meets their needs.
How to write the college entrance essay
Overcoming writer's block when writing the college essay
Finding your authentic voice when writing
Why I love the book
Free tools for essay writing
Marni Pasch| Host of School Counselor Gone Rogue| Academic Coach | Team Pasch Academic Coaching
I work with students in grades 6th and higher, who struggle with academic confidence and motivation. I help them survive school with less stress by helping them create concrete goals, tackle procrastination and learn creative study techniques. I empower students to take charge of their education and reach their goals. I do this through individual or group coaching so students achieve success in life, school, career readiness and their social endeavors. I provided in person academic coaching in Orlando, FL, but work with students across the country through Zoom!