How to Write an Admission Essay: Guide From College Application Experts
An admission essay is one of the college application documents that applicants find extremely challenging. For some, it might be unclear what is the purpose of writing an admission essay, and others might wonder what to write about to stand out among other applicants.
We are here to explain everything about admission essay writing! In this article, you will find the essential information you need to know to write a great essay.
What Is an Admission Essay: Definition and Importance
First of all, let’s define what an admission essay is. In simple words, it is an essay that demonstrates your unique qualities, background, and view of life to admission officers. Usually, applicants describe their personal experience beyond academic performance to show their interests, aspirations, and motivation in life.
So, why is this essay so important for successful admission to college? Colleges do attach greater importance to prospective students’ grades, as it is the best way to evaluate student academic performance. But, as colleges usually receive thousands of applications, many applicants can have similar scores. It makes the selection process more difficult.
Thus, to select the best students, admission officers review students’ admission essays. These essays help the admission committee better understand the unique character of each student, and make a final decision about their admission or rejection. So, the way you tell your personal story in the essay directly impacts your chances to enter the college of your dreams.
College Essay Format: How Long Should a College Admissions Essay Be?
There is no specific format for admission essay. Usually, an admission essay should be no more than 400-600 words. It is enough to tell your story and be sure the admission officer will read it to the end. But, to know for sure, it is always better to visit your target college’s website and search for specific requirements for admission essays. All colleges usually mention word count limits, so it won’t be a problem.
You also don’t need to follow formatting styles like APA, MLA, and others. Just keep it simple, and follow the recommendations below:
- Choose fonts like Times New Roman or Arial. No need to use any informal fonts.
- A 12-point font size is perfect for an admission essay.
- Use 1.5 or double spacing.
- Avoid using bold and italic text.
These are general rules, but you should always first check if your target college has any specific requirements for admission essay formatting.
College Admission Essay Outline and Formatting
An outline is another thing you need to think about. There are no specific requirements for structure, so first, you need to understand what you want to include in your essay and in what order to put your paragraphs.
Creating an outline will help you with it. Start by brainstorming your ideas, choose a key idea for your essay and what experience you want to tell about, think about how you want to present your ideas, and find the best way to structure it. There are two basics structures for an admission essay:
- Single story (focus on one particular experience).
- Multiple experiences (tell about your values and qualities through several experiences).
It is entirely your choice what option to choose. Down below, you will find a detailed explanation of each of these structures.
Writing an Admission Essay: Step-by-step Guide
We want to give you an example of what you can write in your admission essay, and what important elements you need to include to make a long-lasting impression. So, here are the general recommendations for writing an admission essay.
Usually, you can divide all your paragraphs into 3 parts:
- Introduction (grab attention)
- Body paragraphs (tell your story)
- Conclusion (finish your story and recall your main point).
But, depending on what way of storytelling you choose, the parts of your essay will include different information. So, let’s talk about each way in more detail.
If you want to focus on one story, you need to choose an experience that changed you the most. Think about what situation from your past gave you a valuable lesson that changed your view of life or helped you to become a better version of yourself. Then tell your story in the following order:
- Introduction: Start with a hook sentence. Something that captures attention and is connected to your main point. Tell a few words about the story’s background and describe the situation (keep it short, about 2-4 sentences).
- Body paragraphs: Explain why this experience was valuable for you (1-2 paragraphs) and what lessons you learned (1 paragraph).
- Conclusion: Tell about how this experience changed you and how it’s connected to your current views of life and plans for the future.
Multiple Narratives Structure
Another way is to tell a few stories in one essay and connect them all to one theme. For example, you can choose a few of the qualities and values you want to emphasize in your admission essay. Then, think about what stories show the development of these qualities and values the best. Here is an example of how you can organize the information:
- Introduction: Again, start with an attention-grabber. Tell a few words about your background and what challenges you faced. Then, make a statement about your personal growth.
- Body paragraphs: Tell about the challenges one by one. Describe a challenging experience, how you overcame it, and what you learned from it (one paragraph for each experience).
- Conclusion: Summarize your points and explain how they helped you to develop your values and qualities (1 paragraph).
Proofread and Edit
The last step before submitting your final draft is proofreading and editing. Don’t skip this step, even if you’re sure your text is flawless. It is always good to review your work one more time. You can notice some grammar mistakes and bad wording, or even come up with a new idea for the essay.
You can also ask for help from professionals. For example, an essay writing service usually offers proofreading and editing services. After your work is checked by an expert, you can rest assured of its quality.
College Admission Essay Tips From Experts
As there are no specific rules on how to write a college admission essay, students frequently feel confused when working on their essays. They don’t know what information to include, how to organize sentences, and what a good admission essay should look like. Don’t worry, we want to help you to find answers to at least a few of your questions. Take a look at the tips down below.
Keep It Short
Of course, you probably have many stories that showcase your strengths the best and want to mention them in your essay for college admission. But it doesn’t mean that you need to dedicate the whole paragraph to one story. Remember, that you only have about 400-600 words to tell about your background and achievements. So, describe each achievement in one sentence maximum and make sure they are connected to the thesis statement of your essay.
Tell What You Learn From Experience
Sometimes, students are so focused on telling about their background and demonstrating their achievements, that they simply start to recount them in admission essays. But what is more important is to show what you learn from each experience you have. It will demonstrate your personal growth, which is more important for an admission committee.
Revise, Revise, Revise
If you expect your first draft to be perfect, we are going to disappoint you. To create a decent admission essay, you will need to revise and change it several times. After writing each draft, read it carefully to find all possible errors, ensure logical flow, and see what paragraphs and sentences can be improved. It will take time, but, believe us, it will be worth it. Also, you can ask someone to read your essay and give feedback. For example, your teacher or friend can notice errors you missed, or recommend how to make your essay more powerful.
Ask for Help From Professionals
If you feel like you can’t write a good admission essay, there is still a way for you to get it done. You can ask for professional assistance from an admission essay writing service. Essay writing experts can consult you on what information to include in your essay, what to choose as your thesis statement, and any other questions you have about admission essays.
We hope this article has helped you to get a better idea of what an essay for college admission is and how to write it. Keep in mind that the most important thing is to showcase your strengths and unique personality traits that make you a worthy student for a particular college. Follow our tips, don’t forget to proofread your essay before submitting it, and you will get the desired result for sure.
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