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Educator Summer Dittmer has put together a series of videos, based on her experiences in helping students and adults learn how to improve their writing skills.
Your clubs, organizations, sports, community service, and other accomplishments reflect years of participation and dedication to fields outside the classroom. Let’s get started It’s time to pick your essay topic. But, after reading these enthralling stories about other people, I still know absolutely nothing about the student who wrote the essay. For example, “Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you ...” is the essay topic where I hear an awful lot about Grandma, and the “topic of your choice” prompt can go from interesting to ridiculous pretty quickly.
Even your good old SAT or ACT scores reflect the accumulation of vocabulary, mathematics, and reading comprehension talents acquired throughout your life. That being said, remember to choose an essay topic that helps keep the focus on you but is still flexible enough for you to incorporate your personality, your history, your individuality, and your impact on those around you.
Don’t crowd your essay near the top of the page, but balance it on the page and attend to soothing margins. Separate paragraphs in a consistent way, either by indenting each paragraph or by using block style, keeping all the words to the left margin but spacing extra between paragraphs. Did you separate dialogue correctly from the rest of your text? Check out our article on the most common mistakes in college essays for more tips to ensure your essay reads well. Ask them not to judge but simply read to see if they know what you are saying.
If there are a lot of mistakes in your essay, it can not be pretty. As much as you wish to shine, the shine will be lost if your sentences and thoughts do not string together logically. Reread your essay as though you have no idea what the writer is talking about. Are there transitions between different sections of the essay? “Tell me,” say to them, “exactly what you got from this.” If there is confusion, fix it.
Think about it: Most of the items you submit to the colleges or universities you’re applying to showcase talents that you have developed over a long period of time. At the same time, you shouldn’t downplay the importance of the essay either. This is your chance to paint a picture of who you are. Professionals on admissions committees have the daunting task of reading thousands of application essays per year, and it can get a bit tedious after a while.
Your high school transcript contains at least three years of grades, showing evidence of hard work in a variety of subjects. Keep in mind essays are a major separating factor in sorting the mediocre students from those who have gone (and most likely will continue to go) above and beyond. I can’t even tell you how many wonderful application essays I’ve read about students’ mothers, fathers, brothers, grandmothers, neighbors, and even the ice cream truck driver being the most influential person in their lives. After reading them, I want to call the students up and encourage their grandmothers to apply! Don’t get me wrong, I love the essay prompts for many colleges, but some essay questions don’t exactly push for creativity or thinking outside of the box.Students often ask, “How can I use a hypothetical question as a hook to begin my essay if I can’t even use YOU?” My answer is simple: you never want to use a hypothetical question in an essay either. Let’s apply this rule to a few examples: Students are so used to using I, my, we, you and your, that they have a hard time weeding them out of their papers.You also want to have an opinion, not step back like an unthinking geek. It is a good idea to make sure different audiences understand what you have tried to write.Write your essay as though you would be a great second date. You can make your essay beautiful by giving thought to a few things. Consider whether or not bold type face could make your essay easier to read. Test your essay with a friend, a teacher, a parent, even a younger reader.Because the college essay is not the same kind of essay that you write for your high school English teacher, it does not have to have the typical essay introduction, which provides a thesis statement.Just as you want to prepare the best answers to your college interview, here are seven tips for writing an engaging essay that will stand out from the rest!It’s like you are on a date with the admissions reader and you want to be asked out again.If you are on a date, you would naturally want to be smart, funny, nice, caring, unique, not boring.Using “I” or “we” makes the essay about you and your experiences, instead of research and concrete details.Before I give examples, let’s review the 1st person. When you use 2nd person point of view, you are directly addressing the reader, kind of like I am doing right now.