Ms. Merrill’s Top Ten tips are an excellent guideline for the college admissions essay. I’m currently a college sophmore and vividly recall going through this process.
One additional tip I would add is keep it lite. I think college admissions panels are tired of reading about how you spent your summer wielding a hammer for Habitat for Humanity or ladling soup in a homeless shelter.
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Write as much as is possible in an hour, focusing only on content. Work on clarity and style at another time, since it may be difficult to edit and rework sentences during the creative process. At some other time, read the essay aloud, avoid redundancies and unclear wording. Rework sentences and leave out any thing that does not relate to the main idea and final attitude. Expressing one idea clearly is more effective than a flood of words and ideas. Imagine you are in an interview, what question do you the interviewer would ask you? What would you to talk about? Your work at an animal shelter? The beta testing you did for a new video game? The campout you went on with your best friends? Write about it! The college essay is the best way to tell the admissions board the interesting things about you. You know yourself best. Real-life examples are interesting to the reader. If you can’t think of a subject to write about, write about one of the activities in the activities list you will include with your application. Be sure that you are telling the activity is important to you, you stayed committed, and you spent so much time participating. For the long essay (500 words or more) be sure to choose one topic only. If possible, make that topic something which will relate to your intended college major or future career interests. You’re in control of this interview. Avoid listing small details that distract. Consider how you would feel if you were telling a story and the listener kept asking you questions about small details. You would get frustrated because you would feel he was missing the point of your anecdote. In the same way, too many small details only distract the reader from your point. Keep the examples moving towards your main idea. If you are relating a sad or tragic personal experience, use less than 100 words to describe it. For a short essay, keep the description in the second-fifth of the essay. Focus on the positive outcome or lessons learned. Remember, this essay represents to the college. Don’t give the mistaken impression that you are a "broken person". A college may hesitate to admit a student with emotional problems. So, if your examples relate negative experiences, keep them short and near the beginning of your essay so you have the space and time to write how you were eventually able to overcome these experiences. Highlight the positive outcome to leave the reader with a sense of your ability to triumph over hard times. Below are things to do. Below are things to avoid
How to Write an Essay for University Admission - AAB College
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