Writing a successful college essay

Then you could list your favorite artists. That's going broad. OR, you could geek out about Edward Hopper. You could write about his lonely, minimalist paintings and how they make you feel, and you could tell the reader that you've always admired his talent for telling a whole story with only a few seemingly unimportant characters. You could write about your own storytelling and how it is inspired by Hopper.

That's going deep. One is better than the other I'll give you a hint: it's the second one.


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By focusing on details, you set yourself apart; many people love museums and could list some artists that they like. Not many have taken the time to geek out about Edward Hopper on paper. Write how you speak : If your friends, family members, and teachers would describe you as silly, outgoing, and uninhibited, why would you submit a collection of essays all written in a formal, subdued tone?


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  • Thoughtfulness, introspection, and an unassuming tone make for great college essays too! Many college essay writers choose to tell me outright that their personality is this way or that way. Telling me that your friends would describe you as silly and outgoing is, unfortunately, not enough. As the admissions officer reading your application, I need proof — in the form of a written tone that matches your spoken one.

    College Admissions Essays

    As I read through your essays, I am crafting an image in my head of the person who will arrive on our campus in the fall if admitted. Photo: The Crimson Brand Studio. Every piece of advice you have ever received on the purpose of the college essay is wrong. I can prove it with five guiding questions. The college essay is a page-long assignment given to you by a school, to be completed by a certain date. You are familiar with this construct, work to do at given to you by a school, due by a certain date, otherwise known as homework.

    Homework is not where you begin the rebellion. You figure out what your teacher wants from you and then you give it to them.

    Jumbo Talk

    You do homework to get a good grade. You need to write the essay in order to get into college.. The purpose of the college essay is to get into college.


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    • But instead, you should write something that you think will make someone be measurably more likely to admit you to college. Otherwise, what you are doing is the logical equivalent of handing in a watercolor for your math homework. The key is to write for a purpose beyond self-expression, much like how you do all of your homework with the objective of getting a good grade.

      Student story: Admissions essay about personal identity. Student story: Admissions essay about community impact. Student story: Admissions essay about a past mistake.

      It’s High Time We Killed the College Admissions Essay

      Student story: Admissions essay about a meaningful poem. Writing tips and techniques for your college essay. Next lesson.