7 Guilt-Free Tips On How To Write a Common Application Essay

Common Application Essay
7 Guilt-Free Tips On How To Write a Common Application Essay

College is a fun part of life. Itís an indicator that you are all grown up and moving on to an entirely new chapter in your life. Definitely, it wonít be all fun and games, its serious business and will greatly contribute to your personal growth, both emotionally and career-wise.

Getting admitted to college has with time, become competitive. Youíll need to prove to the admission officers that you are worth the chance to get admitted to the college of your choice.

Apart from your exceptional grades and extra-curricular activities, your common application essay is a further guide into who you are and its one of the things the admission officers want to know about you. It might seem challenging at first, but when you actually get down to it, you will realize that it is not as complicated as you previously thought.

7 Keys to Writing a Common Application Essay

1. Read the Common App Instructions Carefully

This is the most crucial step in any piece of writing. Ensure that youíve read and understood the instructions fully. Not adhering to provided instructions could lead the reader to believe that you will not be able to follow the college programís instructions and he/ she will therefore not waste a chance on you. This will end up costing you your shot at the admission which is not worth it. Stick to the word and page limits provided.

2. Go Through the Question.

Now that youíve read and understood the instructions, itís time to go through the question. This step is also important because missing what the question is asking about could lead you to write something that is completely unrelated to what is required. Ensure that you keenly read the question as many times as needed. You can look up words that you donít understand on the internet in case there are any. Break down the question until it all makes sense to you to ensure you fully grasp the concept of what is required.

3. Time to Brainstorm

Understanding the question means you already have an idea of what you want to write about. Taking short notes will prove helpful at this stage. The question youíre provided with will act as a guide to the reader to understand who you are, so you will need to come up with a really good essay. List all the points you feel might be relevant to your essay. The points will be expanded later on when you get to the writing process. Remember to include only important ideas in your list to avoid unnecessary information. Once you have all the points listed down, itís time to come up with a rough draft.

4. Creating an Outline

Your points will act as a guide into what goes where. This is your master plan to coming up with your common application essay. Go through your points and decide what falls under the introduction, the body and conclusion. You can add new points and eliminate others if you feel that they do not fit into your plan. Decide how youíre going to begin your essay, whether through a question, dialogue, or through the use of humor. Using your points, you can come up with a rough draft of your common application essay. The draft is another guide into how you want your essay to turn out.

5. Consider the Audience

Your audience, in this case, is the admission officers. Consider that the reader has dealt with countless common application essays, many of which are from qualified applicants. Therefore writing a mediocre essay is out of the question. You do not want to bore, offend or waste the readerís time since this is your chance to communicate with the person(s) making the decision. Assure the reader that:

  1. You are ready to deal with the challenges as well as the benefits of the program.
  2. You understand what is expected of you in the program

    Also ensure that:

  3. You address any information that needs clarification
  4. You donít address the same point twice as it is a waste of the few words that you have
  5. You show the audience that you are considerate of them and their time by using clear and brief sentences.

6. Writing your Essay

Using your points, outline and rough draft, the writing process can now begin. By now you already have the plan for what will begin and what will end. Your introduction should be interesting and captivating. It should reveal to the reader what your essay is about. Start with something that will show the reader your unique personality. Avoid clichťs which the reader is probably used to since he/she has been through so many essays and is experienced. Instead, show your unique personality, and it will immediately draw some positive attention to your application.

Remember to be honest; the truth is always easier to write. Keep it short, brief and accurate. Remember the required word count and avoid over-explaining or repeating yourself since itís a waste of precious words. Use the correct grammar and punctuation. Try to get the reader to like your personality since youíll be fitting into a community with other students and youíll need to show that you can get along with other students. Be cautious when it comes to humor, you donít want to end up offending the reader. Not everyone will have the same sense of humor as you. Remember to show your smart side also. Try and show some emotion in your essay and also some passion and drive.

Your conclusion should recap the major points in your essay and should also be brief, accurate and short. Remember to thank the reader at the end for taking his/her time to go through your application.

7. Editing

Once youíre finished with your application essay, go through it and make sure any necessary corrections are made. Ensure that there are no grammatical faults and that all punctuation is placed where necessary. Remember to confirm that your essay answers the question asked and that it does not go off topic. Ensure that everything fits together and that it all makes sense.

Where possible get someone or a few qualified people go through your essay and correct you where they see necessary. This is important since you might have missed something that another person can be able to detect. Once youíre fully satisfied, you can hand in your application essay. It is a great achievement and something that should make you feel proud of yourself.

Just a recap:
  1. Read the instructions carefully
  2. Carefully go through the question
  3. Brainstorm
  4. Create an outline
  5. Consider the audience
  6. Get down to writing
  7. Edit your application essay