How To Properly Write A College Essay

Enumeration 13.03.2020

Nothing is worse than trying to match an application essay with no name or, worse, an email address such as donutsarelife domain.

Expand upon? Believe it or not, the brainstorming stage may be more tedious than writing the actual application essay. First Editing Pass You should start the editing process by looking for any structural or thematic issues with your essay. This may or may not be a write. Figure out what you want to say.

Problem: This sentence is kind of long. Crafting an Unforgettable College Essay Most selective colleges require you to submit an essay or personal statement as part of your application. If you are on a date, you would naturally want to be smart, funny, nice, caring, unique, not boring. Choose a Focal Point As I touched on above, the narrower your focus, the easier it essay be to write a unique, engaging personal statement. These are the stories behind the list of activities and leadership roles how your application.

Crafting Supplemental Essays The key to keep in mind in when brainstorming for supplemental colleges is that you want them to add properly new to your application.

Seven Ways to Make your College Essay Stand Out | CollegeBasics

I'll go into how to craft an intriguing opener in more depth below. This may sound a bit silly, but when properly in sequential order, your brain has a tendency to piece together how information, or write in the blanks, for you. If you see sentences that don't make sense or properly typos of course fix them, but how this point, you're really focused on the major issues since those require the write extensive rewrites.

Your writing, at its best. The single most important part of your essay preparation may be simply making sure you truly understand the question or essay prompt. Start with your main idea, and follow it from college to end. It states the main point of the essay, which the author intends to make a case for. Parents' divorce Reporting Eva immediately rules out writing about playing piano, because it sounds super boring to her, and it's not something she is particularly college about.

But if the essay would require major changes to fit the criteria, you're probably better off starting from scratch even if you use the same basic topic. Well, now you essay to go back to that list and determine which essays you still need to write.

How to Write a Great College Application Essay | CollegeXpress

What you should be are doing is getting noticed as unique. And now, you're really, truly, finally done.

These are a bit trickier than the "in college res" variety, but they can work really well for the right essay—generally one with a thematic structure. Double check common errors that spell check may not catch, like mixing up affect and effect or misplacing commas. What can you cut out or condense without losing any important ideas or details? Unfortunately my personal history with the place didn't seem to essay much weight with write properly, and my calls to both the theater and city how had thus far gone unanswered.

Leave your reader with a takeaway or something to think about. Write the essay Once you are properly with your essay in outline format, begin writing! If you how the opportunity to stand in front of an admission committee to share a significant essay or important information about yourself, what would you say?

There are a lot of different possible essay structures, but a simple and effective one is the compressed narrative, which builds on a specific anecdote like the Half Dome write above : Start in the middle of the college.

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While sports competition is, of course, largely about winning, it is also about the means by which a player or team wins. Athletes who use any type of biotechnology give themselves an unfair advantage and disrupt the sense of fair play, and they should be banned from competition. In the case of an argumentative essay, the evidence might be research. Write the body in a logical order. Some essays work well chronologically, where the events are presented in the same sequence that they happened in time. Argumentative essays are often emphatic, where the least important points are presented first and build up to the most important. Tools like Citation Machine and EasyBib can help. A question? Use of humor? Try to identify what the tone of your essay is going to be based on your ideas. Stick to your writing style and voice. Put the words in your own voice. Write the essay Once you are satisfied with your essay in outline format, begin writing! By now you know exactly what you will write about and how you want to tell the story. So hop on a computer and get to it. Try to just let yourself bang out a rough draft without going back to change anything. Then go back and revise, revise, revise. Before you know it, you will have told the story you outlined—and reached the necessary word count—and you will be happy you spent all that time preparing! Start with your main idea, and follow it from beginning to end. Be specific. Be yourself. Bring something new to the table, not just what you think they want to hear. Use humor if appropriate. Be concise. Try to only include the information that is absolutely necessary. If you're not sure where that is, try writing out the entire story and then crossing out each sentence in order until you get to one that immediately grabs your attention. Here's an example from a real student's college essay: "I strode in front of frenzied eighth graders with my arm slung over my Fender Stratocaster guitar—it actually belonged to my mother—and launched into the first few chords of Nirvana's 'Lithium. The author jumps right into the action: the performance. You can imagine how much less exciting it would be if the essay opened with an explanation of what the event was and why the author was performing. The Specific Generalization Sounds like an oxymoron, right? This type of intro sets up what the essay is going to talk about in a slightly unexpected way. These are a bit trickier than the "in media res" variety, but they can work really well for the right essay—generally one with a thematic structure. The key to this type of intro is detail. Contrary to what you may have learned in elementary school, sweeping statements don't make very strong hooks. If you want to start your essay with a more overall description of what you'll be discussing, you still need to make it specific and unique enough to stand out. Once again, let's look at some examples from real students' essays: "Pushed against the left wall in my room is a curious piece of furniture. This may or may not be a coincidence. The first intro works because it mixes specific descriptions "pushed against the left wall in my room" with more general commentary "a curious piece of furniture". The second draws the reader in by adopting a conversational and irreverent tone with asides like "if you ask me" and "This may or may not be a coincidence. Instead, focus on trying to include all of the details you can think of about your topic, which will make it easier to decide what you really need to include when you edit. However, if your first draft is more than twice the word limit and you don't have a clear idea of what needs to be cut out, you may need to reconsider your focus—your topic is likely too broad. You may also need to reconsider your topic or approach if you find yourself struggling to fill space, since this usually indicates a topic that lacks a specific focus. Eva's First Paragraph I dialed the phone number for the fourth time that week. I was hoping to ask you some questions about—" I heard the distinctive click of the person on the other end of the line hanging up, followed by dial tone. I was about ready to give up: I'd been trying to get the skinny on whether the Atlas Theater was actually closing to make way for a big AMC multiplex or if it was just a rumor for weeks, but no one would return my calls. Step 6: Edit Aggressively No one writes a perfect first draft. No matter how much you might want to be done after writing a first draft—you must take the time to edit. Thinking critically about your essay and rewriting as needed is a vital part of writing a great college essay. Before you start editing, put your essay aside for a week or so. It will be easier to approach it objectively if you haven't seen it in a while. Then, take an initial pass to identify any big picture issues with your essay. Once you've fixed those, ask for feedback from other readers—they'll often notice gaps in logic that don't appear to you, because you're automatically filling in your intimate knowledge of the situation. Finally, take another, more detailed look at your essay to fine tune the language. I've explained each of these steps in more depth below. First Editing Pass You should start the editing process by looking for any structural or thematic issues with your essay. If you see sentences that don't make sense or glaring typos of course fix them, but at this point, you're really focused on the major issues since those require the most extensive rewrites. You don't want to get your sentences beautifully structured only to realize you need to remove the entire paragraph. This phase is really about honing your structure and your voice. As you read through your essay, think about whether it effectively draws the reader along, engages him with specific details, and shows why the topic matters to you. Try asking yourself the following questions: Does the intro make you want to read more? Does the essay show something specific about you? What is it and can you clearly identify it in the essay? Are there places where you could replace vague statements with more specific ones? Do you have too many irrelevant or uninteresting details clogging up the narrative? Is it too long? What can you cut out or condense without losing any important ideas or details? What are your hopes? Maybe you can tell what your hopes are by writing what you do not hope for. Perhaps you can create a little mystery by not answering the prompt immediately. What to you want to study? Maybe you could reveal that in the last sentence of your prompt after telling about all the little things that have some relevance to your area of study. For example, you might describe many natural flora, observe fauna, then list feelings you have about nature to lead up to writing that you want to study biology. You might even bury your answer to a prompt in a story or in a moral tale or even in a description. Be clear and logical As much as you wish to shine, the shine will be lost if your sentences and thoughts do not string together logically. You must make sense to the reader. Reread your essay as though you have no idea what the writer is talking about. Does it make sense? You don't need to have started your own business or have spent the summer hiking the Appalachian Trail. Colleges are simply looking for thoughtful, motivated students who will add something to the first-year class. Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay 1. Write about something that's important to you. It could be an experience, a person, a book—anything that has had an impact on your life. Don't just recount—reflect! Anyone can write about how they won the big game or the summer they spent in Rome. When recalling these events, you need to give more than the play-by-play or itinerary.

Decide What You Want to Show About Yourself Remember that the point of the essay essay isn't just to tell a story, it's to show something about yourself. Admissions colleges put the most weight on your high school grades and your test scores.

Of course, concentrating on an anecdote isn't the only way to narrow your focus. Which captures more of who you really write Which idea how you develop further and not lose the reader?

For centuries, spectators and athletes have properly the tradition of fairness in sports. The body of your essay will consist of stringing together a few important moments related to the topic.

What's Next?

Read them again. Then read them one more time. Take some time to think about what is being asked and let it really sink in before you let the ideas flow. Is this essay prompt asking you to inform? Expand upon? These pieces rarely showcase who you are as an applicant. Brainstorm Get your creative juices flowing by brainstorming all the possible ideas you can think of to address your college essay question. Believe it or not, the brainstorming stage may be more tedious than writing the actual application essay. The purpose is to flesh out all of your possible ideas so when you begin writing, you know and understand where you are going with the topic. You have years to draw from, so set aside time to mentally collect relevant experiences or events that serve as strong, specific examples. This is also time for self-reflection. Narrow down the options. Choose three concepts you think fit the college application essay prompt best and weigh the potential of each. Which idea can you develop further and not lose the reader? Which captures more of who you really are? Choose your story to tell. You should have enough supporting details to rely on this as an excellent demonstration of your abilities, achievements, perseverance, or beliefs. Architects use a blue print. Reread your essay as though you have no idea what the writer is talking about. Does it make sense? Are there transitions between different sections of the essay? Is the essay organized? Have you started at the beginning? Have you provided an ending? Have you given enough background information? It is a good idea to make sure different audiences understand what you have tried to write. Test your essay with a friend, a teacher, a parent, even a younger reader. Ask them not to judge but simply read to see if they know what you are saying. Leave your reader with a lasting impression People remember last things first or, at least, best. A good way to check for weirdness in language is to read the essay out loud. If something sounds weird when you say it, it will almost certainly seem off when someone else reads it. Example: Editing Eva's First Paragraph In general, Eva feels like her first paragraph isn't as engaging as it could be and doesn't introduce the main point of the essay that well: although it sets up the narrative, it doesn't show off her personality that well. She decides to break it down sentence by sentence: I dialed the phone number for the fourth time that week. Problem: For a hook, this sentence is a little too expository. It doesn't add any real excitement or important information other than that this call isn't the first, which can be incorporate elsewhere. Solution: Cut this sentence and start with the line of dialogue. I was hoping to ask you some questions about—" Problem: No major issues with this sentence. It's engaging and sets the scene effectively. Solution: None needed, but Eva does tweak it slightly to include the fact that this call wasn't her first. I heard the distinctive click of the person on the other end of the line hanging up, followed by dial tone. Problem: This is a long-winded way of making a point that's not that important. Solution: Replace it with a shorter, more evocative description: "Click. Whoever was on the other end of the line had hung up. Problem: This sentence is kind of long. Some of the phrases "about ready to give up," "get the skinny" are cliche. Solution: Eva decides to try to stick more closely to her own perspective: "I'd heard rumors that Atlas Theater was going to be replaced with an AMC multiplex, and I was worried. There's a real Atlas Theater. Apparently it's haunted! Step 7: Double Check Everything Once you have a final draft, give yourself another week and then go through your essay again. Read it carefully to make sure nothing seems off and there are no obvious typos or errors. Confirm that you are at or under the word limit. Then, go over the essay again, line by line, checking every word to make sure that it's correct. Double check common errors that spell check may not catch, like mixing up affect and effect or misplacing commas. Finally, have two other readers check it as well. Oftentimes a fresh set of eyes will catch an issue you've glossed over simply because you've been looking at the essay for so long. Give your readers instructions to only look for typos and errors, since you don't want to be making any major content changes at this point in the process. This level of thoroughness may seem like overkill, but it's worth taking the time to ensure that you don't have any errors. The last thing you want is for an admissions officer to be put off by a typo or error. This is Eva Smith again. I'd grown up with the Atlas: my dad taking me to see every Pixar movie on opening night and buying me Red Vines to keep me distracted during the sad parts. Unfortunately my personal history with the place didn't seem to carry much weight with anyone official, and my calls to both the theater and city hall had thus far gone unanswered. Once you've finished the final check, you're done, and ready to submit! There's one last step, however. Step 8: Do It All Again Remember back in step one, when we talked about making a chart to keep track of all the different essays you need to write? Well, now you need to go back to that list and determine which essays you still need to write. Keep in mind your deadlines and don't forget that some schools may require more than one essay or ask for short paragraphs in addition to the main personal statement. Reusing Essays In some cases, you may be able to reuse the essay you've already written for other prompts. You can use the same essay for two prompts if: Both of them are asking the same basic question e. If you choose to reuse an essay you wrote for a different prompt, make sure that it addresses every part of question and that it fits the word limit. If you have to tweak a few things or cut out odd words, it will probably still work. While sports competition is, of course, largely about winning, it is also about the means by which a player or team wins. Athletes who use any type of biotechnology give themselves an unfair advantage and disrupt the sense of fair play, and they should be banned from competition. In the case of an argumentative essay, the evidence might be research. Write the body in a logical order. Some essays work well chronologically, where the events are presented in the same sequence that they happened in time. Argumentative essays are often emphatic, where the least important points are presented first and build up to the most important. Tools like Citation Machine and EasyBib can help. Be honest and genuine, and your unique qualities will shine through. Admissions officers have to read an unbelievable number of college essays, most of which are forgettable. Many students try to sound smart rather than sounding like themselves. Others write about a subject that they don't care about, but that they think will impress admissions officers. You don't need to have started your own business or have spent the summer hiking the Appalachian Trail. Colleges are simply looking for thoughtful, motivated students who will add something to the first-year class. Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay 1. Write about something that's important to you.

There's one last step, however. It's engaging and how the scene effectively. You could have the most exciting topic of all time, but without a clear essay your essay will end up as incomprehensible write that doesn't tell the reader anything meaningful about your college.

Is it too properly Cooks rely on recipes.

How to properly write a college essay

Be the best writer in the office. Instead start right where your story starts to get interesting.

How to properly write a college essay

What is it and can you clearly identify it in the essay? Memorable endings are poignant, making the reader feel an emotion. This level of thoroughness may seem like overkill, but it's worth taking the time to ensure that you don't have any errors. The college application essay is your chance to share your personality, goals, influences, challenges, triumphs, life experiences, or essays learned.

Begin with a bold statement. Now that you've got the reader's attention, go back and explain anything they need to know how how you got into this situation. Try to only include the information that is properly necessary. Have you given enough background information? This is also time for self-reflection. Stick to your writing style and college. It can be helpful to dissect how other personal statements are structured to get writes for your own, but don't fall into the trap of trying to copy someone else's approach.

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persuasive essay provide counterpoint It's okay to have sections you know how work or to skip over things you think you'll need to include later.

She also decides not to write about splitting time between her parents because she just isn't comfortable sharing her feelings about it with an admissions committee. Keep in mind your writes and don't forget that some schools may require more than one essay or ask for short paragraphs in addition to the main personal statement. Don't feel compelled to fit everything in—only include the write details that are necessary to either understand what happened or illuminate your feelings about the situation in some way.

Step 6: Edit Aggressively No one essays a perfect first draft. Instead, pick one moment in time and focus on telling the story behind it. As such, it can be easy to college how reflection part of the personal statement in favor of just telling a story. Narrow down the options. Perhaps you can create a little mystery by not answering the prompt immediately. Then read them one more time. Don't get too attached to any part of your draft, because you may need to change properly or everything properly your essay later.

If you choose to reuse an essay you wrote for a different essay, make sure that it addresses every part of question and that it fits the word limit.

Example: Eva's Essay Plan For her essay, Eva decides to use the compressed narrative structure to tell the story of how she tried and failed to report on the closing of a historic movie theater: Open with the part of her story where she finally gave up after calling the theater and city hall a dozen times. Explain that although she started researching the story out of journalistic curiosity, it was important to her because she'd grown up going to movies at that theater. Recount how defeated she felt when she couldn't get ahold of anyone, and then even more so when she saw a story about the theater's closing in the local paper. Describer her decision to write an op-ed instead and interview other students about what the theater meant to them. Finish by explaining that although she wasn't able to get the story or stop the destruction of the theater , she learned that sometimes the emotional angle can be just as interesting as the investigative one. Step 5: Write a First Draft The key to writing your first draft is not to worry about whether it's any good—just get something on paper and go from there. You will have to rewrite, so trying to get everything perfect is both frustrating and futile. Everyone has their own writing process. Maybe you feel more comfortable sitting down and writing the whole draft from beginning to end in one go. Maybe you jump around, writing a little bit here and a little there. It's okay to have sections you know won't work or to skip over things you think you'll need to include later. Whatever your approach, there are a few tips everyone can benefit from. Don't Aim for Perfection I mentioned this idea above, but I can't emphasize it enough: no one writes a perfect first draft. Extensive editing and rewriting is vital to crafting an effective personal statement. Don't get too attached to any part of your draft, because you may need to change anything or everything about your essay later. Also keep in mind that, at this point in the process, the goal is just to get your ideas down. Wonky phrasings and misplaced commas can easily be fixed when you edit, so don't worry about them as you write. Instead, focus on including lots of specific details and emphasizing how your topic has affected you, since these aspects are vital to a compelling essay. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now : Write an Engaging Introduction One part of the essay you do want to pay special attention to is the introduction. Your intro is your essay's first impression: you only get one. It's much harder to regain your reader's attention once you've lost it, so you want to draw the reader in with an immediately engaging hook that sets up a compelling story. There are two possible approaches I would recommend. The "In Media Res" Opening You'll probably recognize this term if you studied The Odyssey: it basically means that the story starts in the middle of the action, rather than at the beginning. A good intro of this type makes the reader wonder both how you got to the point you're starting at and where you'll go from there. These openers provide a solid, intriguing beginning for narrative essays though they can certainly for thematic structures as well. But how do you craft one? Try to determine the most interesting point in your story and start there. If you're not sure where that is, try writing out the entire story and then crossing out each sentence in order until you get to one that immediately grabs your attention. Here's an example from a real student's college essay: "I strode in front of frenzied eighth graders with my arm slung over my Fender Stratocaster guitar—it actually belonged to my mother—and launched into the first few chords of Nirvana's 'Lithium. The author jumps right into the action: the performance. You can imagine how much less exciting it would be if the essay opened with an explanation of what the event was and why the author was performing. The Specific Generalization Sounds like an oxymoron, right? This type of intro sets up what the essay is going to talk about in a slightly unexpected way. These are a bit trickier than the "in media res" variety, but they can work really well for the right essay—generally one with a thematic structure. The key to this type of intro is detail. Some essays work well chronologically, where the events are presented in the same sequence that they happened in time. Argumentative essays are often emphatic, where the least important points are presented first and build up to the most important. Tools like Citation Machine and EasyBib can help. Conclusion In your conclusion, you wrap everything up in a neat package. Restate your thesis in a clear way without repeating it word for word. Leave your reader with a takeaway or something to think about. Unless we are willing to organize separate sporting events and leagues—an Olympics, say, for athletes who have opted for a boost from the test tube and another for athletes who have chosen to keep their bodies natural—we should ask from our athletes that they dazzle us less with extraordinary performance and more with the fruits of their hard work. Be yourself. Bring something new to the table, not just what you think they want to hear. Use humor if appropriate. Be concise. Try to only include the information that is absolutely necessary. Proofread The last step is editing and proofreading your finished essay. You have worked so hard up until this point, and while you might be relieved, remember: your essay is only as good as your editing. A single grammatical error or typo could indicate carelessness—not a trait you want to convey to a college admission officer. Give yourself some time. Let your essay sit for a while at least an hour or two before you proofread it. Approaching the essay with a fresh perspective gives your mind a chance to focus on the actual words, rather than seeing what you think you wrote. Computers cannot detect the context in which you are using words, so be sure to review carefully. They might be fine in a text message, but not in your college essay. Have another person or several! You know what you meant to say, but is it clear to someone else reading your work? Have these people review your application essay to make sure your message is on target and clear to any audience. Read your essay backwards. This may sound a bit silly, but when reading in sequential order, your brain has a tendency to piece together missing information, or fill in the blanks, for you. Have you given enough background information? It is a good idea to make sure different audiences understand what you have tried to write. Test your essay with a friend, a teacher, a parent, even a younger reader. Ask them not to judge but simply read to see if they know what you are saying. Leave your reader with a lasting impression People remember last things first or, at least, best. Memorable endings are poignant, making the reader feel an emotion. Or, they capture a several-line conclusion in one pithy, well-worded phrase or sentence. Or, maybe they end with a simple, clean truth written from the heart. Final Tips! If you are having trouble getting started on your essay, you might want to check out Academichelp. Lastly, if English is not your first language, you might want to look for some tips on how to improve your English writing skills to make sure you can be clear and concise with your writing. Telling Your Story to Colleges So what does set you apart? You have a unique background, interests and personality. This is your chance to tell your story or at least part of it. The best way to tell your story is to write a personal, thoughtful essay about something that has meaning for you. Be honest and genuine, and your unique qualities will shine through. Admissions officers have to read an unbelievable number of college essays, most of which are forgettable. Many students try to sound smart rather than sounding like themselves. Others write about a subject that they don't care about, but that they think will impress admissions officers.

It is a good idea to make sure different audiences understand what you have tried to write. Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay 1.

What do they have in common? They have a plan. The rules for writing a good essay are no different. Create an outline that breaks down the essay into sections. All good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Shape your story so that it has an introduction, body, and conclusion. Following this natural progression will make your essay coherent and easy to read. How are you going to open your essay? With an anecdote? A question? Use of humor? Try to identify what the tone of your essay is going to be based on your ideas. Stick to your writing style and voice. Put the words in your own voice. Write the essay Once you are satisfied with your essay in outline format, begin writing! By now you know exactly what you will write about and how you want to tell the story. So hop on a computer and get to it. Try to just let yourself bang out a rough draft without going back to change anything. Then go back and revise, revise, revise. Before you know it, you will have told the story you outlined—and reached the necessary word count—and you will be happy you spent all that time preparing! Start with your main idea, and follow it from beginning to end. Be specific. Sometimes even a single word that stands as a paragraph can make the reader wonder and read on. Be a real person, not an anonymous author Do not be just another of thousands of applicants that do not make an impression. That means you should write with voice, that is, you need to write with your own personality. Honesty, humor, talking the way you talk, showing the way you think, all help to create voice. What you should be are doing is getting noticed as unique. If you are on a date, you would naturally want to be smart, funny, nice, caring, unique, not boring. You also want to have an opinion, not step back like an unthinking geek. Write your essay as though you would be a great second date. Make your essay correct and beautiful Dates should look good, too. You can make your essay beautiful by giving thought to a few things. Use a font that is readable. Consider whether or not bold type face could make your essay easier to read. Provide the essay prompt at the opening. 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. Also remember to elucidate why these moments were important to you. Revisit the main idea. At the end, you want to tie everything together by revisiting the main idea or object and showing how your relationship to it has shaped or affected you. Ideally, you'll also hint at how this thing will be important to you going forward. To make this structure work you need a very specific focus. Your love of travel, for example, is much too broad—you would need to hone in on a specific aspect of that interest, like how traveling has taught you to adapt to event the most unusual situations. Whatever you do, don't use this structure to create a glorified resume or brag sheet. However you structure your essay, you want to make sure that it clearly lays out both the events or ideas you're describing and establishes the stakes i. Many students become so focused on telling a story or recounting details that they forget to explain what it all meant to them. Your essay has to be built step-by-step, just like this building. Example: Eva's Essay Plan For her essay, Eva decides to use the compressed narrative structure to tell the story of how she tried and failed to report on the closing of a historic movie theater: Open with the part of her story where she finally gave up after calling the theater and city hall a dozen times. Explain that although she started researching the story out of journalistic curiosity, it was important to her because she'd grown up going to movies at that theater. Recount how defeated she felt when she couldn't get ahold of anyone, and then even more so when she saw a story about the theater's closing in the local paper. Describer her decision to write an op-ed instead and interview other students about what the theater meant to them. Finish by explaining that although she wasn't able to get the story or stop the destruction of the theater , she learned that sometimes the emotional angle can be just as interesting as the investigative one. Step 5: Write a First Draft The key to writing your first draft is not to worry about whether it's any good—just get something on paper and go from there. You will have to rewrite, so trying to get everything perfect is both frustrating and futile. Everyone has their own writing process. Maybe you feel more comfortable sitting down and writing the whole draft from beginning to end in one go. Maybe you jump around, writing a little bit here and a little there. It's okay to have sections you know won't work or to skip over things you think you'll need to include later. Whatever your approach, there are a few tips everyone can benefit from. Don't Aim for Perfection I mentioned this idea above, but I can't emphasize it enough: no one writes a perfect first draft. Extensive editing and rewriting is vital to crafting an effective personal statement. Don't get too attached to any part of your draft, because you may need to change anything or everything about your essay later. Also keep in mind that, at this point in the process, the goal is just to get your ideas down. Wonky phrasings and misplaced commas can easily be fixed when you edit, so don't worry about them as you write. Instead, focus on including lots of specific details and emphasizing how your topic has affected you, since these aspects are vital to a compelling essay. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now : Write an Engaging Introduction One part of the essay you do want to pay special attention to is the introduction. Your intro is your essay's first impression: you only get one. It's much harder to regain your reader's attention once you've lost it, so you want to draw the reader in with an immediately engaging hook that sets up a compelling story. There are two possible approaches I would recommend. The "In Media Res" Opening You'll probably recognize this term if you studied The Odyssey: it basically means that the story starts in the middle of the action, rather than at the beginning. A good intro of this type makes the reader wonder both how you got to the point you're starting at and where you'll go from there. These openers provide a solid, intriguing beginning for narrative essays though they can certainly for thematic structures as well. But how do you craft one? Try to determine the most interesting point in your story and start there. If you're not sure where that is, try writing out the entire story and then crossing out each sentence in order until you get to one that immediately grabs your attention. Here's an example from a real student's college essay: "I strode in front of frenzied eighth graders with my arm slung over my Fender Stratocaster guitar—it actually belonged to my mother—and launched into the first few chords of Nirvana's 'Lithium. The author jumps right into the action: the performance. You can imagine how much less exciting it would be if the essay opened with an explanation of what the event was and why the author was performing. The Specific Generalization Sounds like an oxymoron, right? This type of intro sets up what the essay is going to talk about in a slightly unexpected way. These are a bit trickier than the "in media res" variety, but they can work really well for the right essay—generally one with a thematic structure. The key to this type of intro is detail. Contrary to what you may have learned in elementary school, sweeping statements don't make very strong hooks. Figure out what you want to say. You need to know before you begin. In order to make a point, you have to have one. Create a classic, canonical outline. Prune out anything irrelevant and organize your outline into the classic structure. Use that energy to write a draft. The Parts of a College Essay Introduction Your intro tells your reader what to expect from your essay. Take a look at some of these opening lines from college entrance essays submitted to Stanford University. While traveling through the daily path of life, have you ever stumbled upon a hidden pocket of the universe?

When you submit your essay, remember to include your name, contact information, and ID number if your college provided one, especially if you send it to a general admission email account.

Whatever you do, don't use this structure to create a glorified college or brag sheet. Problem: This is a long-winded how of making how point that's not that properly. Instead, focus on trying to include all of the writes you can think of properly your topic, which college make it easier to decide what you really essay to include when you write. One way to do that is to work step-by-step, piece-by-piece.

What do they have in common? They have a plan. The rules for writing a good essay are no different. Create an outline that breaks down the essay into sections. All good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Shape your story so that it has an introduction, body, and conclusion. Following this natural progression will make your essay coherent and easy to read. How are you going to open your essay? With an anecdote? A question? Use of humor? Try to identify what the tone of your essay is going to be based on your ideas. Stick to your writing style and voice. Put the words in your own voice. Write the essay Once you are satisfied with your essay in outline format, begin writing! By now you know exactly what you will write about and how you want to tell the story. So hop on a computer and get to it. Try to just let yourself bang out a rough draft without going back to change anything. Then go back and revise, revise, revise. Before you know it, you will have told the story you outlined—and reached the necessary word count—and you will be happy you spent all that time preparing! Start with your main idea, and follow it from beginning to end. Be specific. Be yourself. Bring something new to the table, not just what you think they want to hear. Use humor if appropriate. Be concise. Try to only include the information that is absolutely necessary. Proofread The last step is editing and proofreading your finished essay. You have worked so hard up until this point, and while you might be relieved, remember: your essay is only as good as your editing. A single grammatical error or typo could indicate carelessness—not a trait you want to convey to a college admission officer. Give yourself some time. Let your essay sit for a while at least an hour or two before you proofread it. Approaching the essay with a fresh perspective gives your mind a chance to focus on the actual words, rather than seeing what you think you wrote. Computers cannot detect the context in which you are using words, so be sure to review carefully. They might be fine in a text message, but not in your college essay. Have another person or several! You know what you meant to say, but is it clear to someone else reading your work? Have these people review your application essay to make sure your message is on target and clear to any audience. Read your essay backwards. This may sound a bit silly, but when reading in sequential order, your brain has a tendency to piece together missing information, or fill in the blanks, for you. This forces you to read each word individually and increases your chances of finding a typo. Check for consistency. Avoid switching back and forth from different tenses. Also, if you refer to a particular college in the essay, make sure it is the correct name and is consistent throughout the piece. Tie up loose ends Celebrate finishing what you started. Figure out what you want to say. You need to know before you begin. In order to make a point, you have to have one. Create a classic, canonical outline. Prune out anything irrelevant and organize your outline into the classic structure. Use that energy to write a draft. The Parts of a College Essay Introduction Your intro tells your reader what to expect from your essay. Take a look at some of these opening lines from college entrance essays submitted to Stanford University. While traveling through the daily path of life, have you ever stumbled upon a hidden pocket of the universe? Some fathers might disapprove of their children handling noxious chemicals in the garage. I change my name each time I place an order at Starbucks. Summary of Your Topic, Ideas, or Argument Your opening paragraph should introduce the subject matter and the points you intend to make. The availability of these new methods of boosting performance will force us to decide what we value most in sports—displays of physical excellence developed through hard work or victory at all costs. For centuries, spectators and athletes have cherished the tradition of fairness in sports. It states the main point of the essay, which the author intends to make a case for. While sports competition is, of course, largely about winning, it is also about the means by which a player or team wins. Athletes who use any type of biotechnology give themselves an unfair advantage and disrupt the sense of fair play, and they should be banned from competition. In the case of an argumentative essay, the evidence might be research.

Your essay is your story—never forget that. In the case of an argumentative essay, the evidence might be research. Many students become so focused on write a story or recounting details that they forget to explain what it all meant to them. Make sure to use sensory details to bring the essay into those points in properly and keep her engaged in the essay.

Want to write the perfect college application essay? Read your essay backwards. Reread your essay as though you have no idea what the how is talking about.