Preparing a Winning College Essay

The college essay is one of the most important parts of the application process. It gives students a chance to show schools exactly who they are, beyond names and numbers on a piece of paper. A great essay sells your application to admissions officers. A counselor at a college preparatory high school in Orinda can help students prepare an essay that stands out. These tips will also help.

Keep It Brief

Even if a college application doesn’t specify an upper word limit for essays, admissions officers have thousands to read. That means that essays shouldn’t run for multiple pages and thousands of words. A good target is to keep the essay under 700 words. In addition to being mindful of the admission officer’s time, keeping a tight word count forces the writing to be precise and economical, which are good qualities in college-level work. Colleges don’t expect any application and essay to give a complete picture of a student, so resist the urge to crowd the essay with extraneous information.

Make It Lively

A good college essay is engaging and entertaining. It should be written from a first-person perspective and contain enough color and detail to make the story come alive. If the prompt encourages students to write about a controversial subject, avoid trying to stick to the middle ground. Take a reasoned stand and argue the point, instead of staying bland and neutral; remember that debate is an integral part of academics.

Rethink Humor

Humor does not always translate well in writing. This is especially true when it comes to college admissions essays. It’s best to avoid humor whenever possible. If including humor seems necessary, have a few people, including a college counselor, read it to make sure the intent is clear.

Orinda Academy is committed to preparing students with all learning styles for academic success. Our college prep school’s curriculum gives students the tools they need to stand out after high school. To learn more about our private school, including our admissions guidelines, please call (925) 478-4504.