How to Write a College Application Essay

One of the most important parts of a college application is the essay alongside your GPA and SAT scores. It is your chance to highlight yourself and prove to admission offers who you really are. However, writing one can be a tedious task, especially for those who do not regularly write a lot. In this article, we will help you understand how to write a college application essay.

Why Your College Application Essay is Important

While it is true that a college application essay is not the most significant part of your college application, it can certainly make or break your chances of being admitted. A great essay could compensate for your lackluster grades or scores. On the contrary, if your essay is full of errors and looks half-baked, it may end up overshadowing the achievements that you already have.

A college application essay is like your cover letter when you are applying. It is here where you show the personality behind the grades, test scores, and recommendations. It is in this article where you can prove that you have what it takes to succeed in college.

How to Write a College Application Essay

To help you in your applications, we have identified five tips to help you with preparing your college application essay. Follow our guide comprehensively and be ready to impress the college admission officers.

1. Choose A Topic That Focuses on You

If the college or university provides an essay topic, you may not have much choice in terms of what you write about. If you do however get to choose a topic, you want to write about a topic that will highlight you. Focus on aspects that you may not have covered in other parts of your application such as your grades. You may focus on your achievements in school. You may also write about a personal story or anecdote. Be creative with your topic because if it’s too generic it may not stand out from all of the other applications.

There are actually a lot of prompts regarding your personality that you can consider regardless of the university or the college which you are planning to apply in. Here are some ideas:

  • Discuss an interest or a skill that you think would be indispensable in your application. Without this identity, your essay might not feel personal. Expound your expertise here.
  • You may want to talk about one of your accomplishments in high school, which marked your identity as a good citizen of your community, your school, or your peers. It may be a formal or an informal event, but having you as the main character of the story would surely make a difference.
  • Bring up a problem which you might have faced in high school. Explain in your essay how you may have solved this problem. Discuss the steps that you have taken to solve the problem. Do not forget to explain why you think that it is significant to you.
  • Relate an anecdote which you think have contributed to your personal growth into adulthood. Maturity is critical here, so you might want to dwell on how the particular event has changed the way you view things

If none of these strike your fancy you can find more ideas here.

2. Write to Express, Not to Impress

While it is true that the main goal of your essay is to impress the admission officers, that should not be the sole cause of your essay. Instead, you write to show and express who you really are instead of telling what they want to see from you. Express your innermost desires and reasons. From here, develop your ideas into more complex situations so that they will get to know you better.

Since you want to express yourself, do not rely on cliches or overused phrases. These would only mean that you want to impress your readers instead of reflecting through your words your personality. Write in your own voice. Be genuine.

3. Create an Outline

The next thing which you should do is to create an outline of what you would write about. Like any activity or output, your essay should start with a plan. Similar to writing an article, your essay should begin with an outline. In this outline, you will have to break down the composition into several parts or sections.

Shape your college application essay, similar to writing a story. It should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. In these sections, you should see to it that the transitions are coherent. You should also ensure that they are easy to read.

4. Be Specific with What You Write

One of the worst things that you should avoid when you write your college application essay is being vague. This is very distracting, as it blurs out the chances of letting the admission officers know who you are. Instead, make your essay specific. Make it visual.

Use words that allow them to conjure images about who you really are. Focus on a particular aspect of yourself which the reader could learn more about who you indeed are. Just from reading your essay, they should already have a good grasp of who you are. If you become vague and generic, they will only be more confused with your intentions of writing the essay.

5. Proofread Your College Application Essay

After writing your essay, don’t forget to proofread it! By reviewing your essay, you may find errors that you might not have noticed before. Re-read your essay out loud if you can. Use Microsoft Word’s built-in grammar checker or try Grammarly. And if you want, you could ask your English teacher or even your parents to review your essay. They might also find more mistakes in your essay that you missed. Don’t be afraid to seek professional guidance!


Now that you know how to write a college application essay, it is now high time to make one yourself. Follow our guide to make it easier for you. Write to express yourself and who you are, but do not forget to be genuine in showing your personality. With the right approach, you could write the perfect college application, which would surely impress the admission officers.

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