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College Admissions Essays

Written By: Greg

Writing college admissions essays can be a stressful process for students and parents.  As competition for entrance into top universities has risen to extreme levels, applicants are charged with the arduous task of creating a persuasive, memorable, intriguing, and concise literary masterpiece… usually in 400 words or less.  Although a sure-fired, guaranteed to gain entrance method does not exist,  consider these five key factors which will greatly improve your odds .


High GPA’s, long lists of extra-curricular activities, and strong test scores can be found anywhere.  Fill your essay full of these facts and you will appear to be no different from the thousands of other hopefuls vying for entrance.  Your personality, feelings, and unique experiences must shine through clearly and quickly if you want to make an impression on an admissions officer.  Do not be afraid to interject humor into your personal statement, as long as it fits within your character.

Avoid Wordiness and Repetition

Using extraneous words is a fatal flaw resulting in insignificant content and a lack of effectiveness.  Typically, this is an error committed when students are trying too hard to impress the reader.  Unfortunately, this is a sign of an immature writer that ends with the application piled on to the files marked “denied”.  Equally catastrophic is the overuse of words such as “I” which usually indicates poor proofreading and a lack of basic writing competence.

Use Strong Verbs

The most common verbs in the English language are the different forms of the word “is” (is, was, am, are, were) and although you will need to use these verbs throughout your essay, overuse indicates a lack of style and initiative.  The last perception you want to present to an admissions officer is laziness, and your verbs must capture and maintain the reader’s attention.  The temptation lies in the employment of excess adjectives and adverbs rather than the strength of verbs and you will lose credibility with the experienced reader.

Conclude With an Impact

To survive the battle, your essay must form an impact in the mind of the reader.  An admissions committee may review thousands and thousands of personal statements, and what you articulate last is critical.  Interject emotion into your final few sentences rather than summarizing your essay.  With limited space for words, a summary will be nothing more than a wasted opportunity for you to make a final positive impression.  Conclude with a strong statement about yourself, your goals, or your desire.  Do not use phrases such as In conclusion or Finally.

Revise and Rewrite

Attempting to skate by on draft number one is the cardinal sin of composition writing.  The first draft presents the opportunity for you to simply get your thoughts and words into written form where they can then be molded, edited, and transformed into perfection.  Not even the most experienced of writers would dare to submit the first draft of a manuscript.  The best practice often involves time to move away from the piece and then go back to it once your brain has had time to remove itself from the writing process.  Ask a seasoned writer to review your work and expect that it may take four or five revisions before your essay is worthy to submit.

Solicit the Help of a Professional

You are looking at investing thousands of dollars and 4+ years of your life based upon the results of your admissions essay.  Now is not the time to cut corners.  A professional review will cost about $50 and makes perfect sense.  A copywriter such as myself not only proofreads your essay for grammatical errors, but also contributes suggestions and changes which improve clarity, imagery, and effectiveness.  The end result?  Peace of mind knowing that your personal statement is the best it can be!

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