It is important to know how to write an admission essay and there are many reasons for this. For example, it is very probable that, up to the point when you start thinking about enrolling in college, this is one of the most critical documents you are likely to need to write. Consequently, it is important you allow sufficient time and put maximum effort into your work. It is lucky that the central topic, in this case, is a subject you should know a lot about – you will be writing about yourself!
So, what is an admission essay? Essentially, it is a written document that helps you get admitted to a college or university. Regardless of whether you want to apply for a graduate or undergraduate course, the majority of institutions ask candidates to include an admission essay with their applications (these essays are also known as statements of purpose or personal statements). As higher education institutions grow ever more competitive and selective, acceptance to a college of choice gets more difficult. Because of this, personal essays carry a lot of weight when it comes to setting you apart from other candidates in terms of your abilities and achievements.
The primary purpose of an admission essay is to provide the reader – or selection committee – with a picture of the applicant and who they are. It is an applicant’s opportunity to let readers know about their aspirations, values, goals, and dreams. However, its aim is not to recount the full story of the writer’s life. Instead, it should show readers why they should choose to accept you into their institution. More than anything else, an admission essay is a type of personal statement or essay so you need to write it in a personal tone.
Before You Start Writing an Admission Essay
Prior to beginning to write an admission essay or a personal statement, there is some homework you need to do. In the event you have not done so already, you will need to do thorough research of the college or university you hope to be admitted to. And, more particularly, you need to find out as much as you can about the course or program you would like to enroll on. You should be able to find each institution’s objectives or mission statement, their primary interests, and similar information. When you are writing your essay, you should then relate your goals, experiences, interests, etc. to the objectives or mission statement of the program or institution you are aiming your application at as well as to the field you hope to forge a future career in.
But, how to start an admission essay? Before you start to write an admission essay, you should read any instructions you were given a few times. These should explain the information you need to include, and usually, the format that is required for your essay. Even in the event, the exact format is not stated explicitly in the provided instructions, you will benefit by knowing what key points you should include. This will help you to organize your admission essay or personal statement in an effective manner. Sometimes, the instructions provided are quite exact and explain in detail what should be included. At other times, instructions are not entirely specific. In either case, there are some questions you should ask yourself before you start on your first draft. For example, the following questions should help to guide you as you write:
- What relevant experiences do you have (e.g., any achievements or challenges that you or your family have personally faced)? How have these helped to shape who you are and how can they help distinguish you from other candidates?
- Do you possess any particular personal characteristics or traits that have already helped you or can help you succeed in the future (e.g., characteristics such as ambition, good communication skills, dedication, diligence, drive, honesty, proven leadership, a personable nature, and so on)?
- What made you choose a particular field of study? Do you have any career objectives, and what are they?
- What will you bring to a particular program or institution?
- What are the reasons that an institution should choose you out of numerous other applicants?
- Does any other part of your application contain any specific information that you should explain or elaborate on in your essay (e.g., lower than desirable GPA, lower than desirable GRE or SAT scores, a notable increase in grades over a period of time, break in your education, etc.)?
Drafting a Personal Statement/Admissions Essay
When you start drafting your essay, you should be very specific. Draw on your own experiences and use solid examples. If you are too general in your statements, your readers will not get a clear picture of you and, even worse, they might get bored. So you need to make absolutely sure to look for something that gives a special uniqueness to your essay and sets you apart from other applicants. It is important to choose a topic you find interesting and to demonstrate how enthusiastic you are about it.
Your essay should remain focused on the goal(s) you are trying to achieve i.e. getting admitted into the college, university, and study program you have set your heart on. Your essay should list any classes taken or experience you have that is relevant, e.g., workshops, seminars, jobs, or internships that have a bearing on the subject you want to study. Continuing in this same vein, your essay should not contain any information that is not relevant. It is not usual to include, for example, any reference to one’s political or religious beliefs in this type of essay.
An admission essay or personal statement should be crafted in a way that is distinct and separate from other materials in an application pack. As a rule of thumb, any information that is already in other parts of an applicant should not be repeated in your essay. Instead, the essay part should be used to provide important information that does not easily fit into other parts.
In cases where you want to send applications to several colleges or universities (or at least more than just one), remember to tailor each essay and cover letter for the institution you will be sending it to. Undoubtedly, a lot of the content may be similar (or identical), but each individual essay needs to be focused on the objectives and mission statement of the institution that will receive it.
The Formatting of College Admission Essays
In this list of tips for writing an admission essay, our next piece of advice concerns formatting. Of course, where instructions stipulate a particular format, you should adhere to this. However, some assignments will not suggest a certain format. Nonetheless, you should generally get a reasonable idea about what to include from the way instructions are worded. Then, while you are planning your essay’s structure, make certain it is properly organized. One of the best ways of doing this is to develop an essay outline. Within this outline, you should list all the key points and ideas (even any relevant experiences and/or examples) that you intend to include over the course of writing your essay. You can then arrange these points and/or ideas in logical and sequential order. Use the following guidelines when you actually start writing the first draft of your essay.
- Start in a way that gets the interest of your readers. At the outset, your aim should be to get the attention of your readers. Therefore, you should allow sufficient time to develop a good introduction section that provides a good picture of you, your unique personality or particular values, and some idea of what will follow.
- Do your best to bring cohesion to your work. When writing your admission essay, use appropriate and well-placed transitions to help the sentences, ideas, and paragraphs in your essay to flow smoothly from one to the next. This will prevent the reader from getting confused or lost.
- Use style features (if required). It is permissible to use style features, e.g., bold headers, bullet points, numbering, and so on if you wish to. These are good for highlighting any information you want to draw attention to and for making the text more readable, but these features should not be overused.
- End on a note your readers will remember. As is the case with the introductory section of your essay, be especially careful when writing your concluding paragraph. End on a memorable note so that readers are left with a good impression and will remember you when they get around to selecting applicants.
Revising Your Essay
Once your admission essay or purpose statement is written, leave it to one side for one or two days. You should then do a careful review of your work, revising any parts that need revising. Tighten up any parts that are too wordy, remove any repetition, reword any parts that seem unclear, improve or add transitions to link sentences, points, and/or paragraphs, etc. You should additionally remove any information that is irrelevant where this does not support or relate clearly to any of the points, especially to key points, in your paper. Please refer to our article on “Revising an Essay” for additional information on this aspect. Also, get another person to read your work and revise it according to their feedback/comments.
Once your essay has undergone a thorough revision, you should proofread it for possible spelling, punctuation, typos, and other types of errors. Just do your best to ensure your document is as perfect as it possibly can be.
Additional Tips on Writing an Effective Admissions Essay
- Allow sufficient time. Putting an assignment off is a sure way of failing.
- Try not to use clichés and strive for originality. It is best to avoid proverbs, well-known quotations, etc.
- Give your personality, uniqueness, and individuality a chance to come through.
- Avoid telling your entire life story. Write in a direct manner and stay focused.
- Do not use slang or jargon.
- Shun negativity in favor of a more positive outlook. Should you decide to discuss a problem or turbulent time in your life, describe how you became a stronger and/or better person for it or what the experience taught you. Furthermore, leave out any negative details that are unnecessary, e.g., do not say you are applying to a particular institution because you do not feel you would succeed in getting your number one choice or that there will not be as many science or math classes on this particular course.
- Avoid flowery and/or very large words in an attempt to appear intelligent or sophisticated. Instead, choose words, statements, and phrases that are concise and clear and easily get your points or ideas across.
- Set out your achievements/accomplishments in a clear and confident manner without boasting or exaggerating.
- Do not be afraid to use a dictionary or thesaurus, but avoid using words you do not understand the meaning of. Otherwise, the incorrect use of words may make you sound foolish.
- Leave out any statements relating to politics, race, religion, or anything else that borders on the controversial.
- Try to predict a few challenges you may encounter in your chosen field or program and say how you will attempt to overcome these.
- Address any potential weaknesses in your application in a sincere and direct manner without whining or apportioning blame, e.g., if any of your school grades are lower than you would like or if you want to return to education after a break or absence.
- Stay within the word count limit.
- When you are revising your essay, remove any generic or very general statements, e.g., “I would like to be a scientist because I enjoy experimenting”. Instead, show how dedicated you are to the course you want to take by talking about, for instance, your own achievements, experiences, and so on.
A great deal of time and hard work goes into writing an admission essay. It involves writing, revising, and revising again. However, if you take care to write well, you will end up with a clear, memorable, interesting, and highly organized essay that will go a long way towards getting you a place in the college or university you want to study at.
Extraordinary College Admission Essay
When students have to submit a college admission essay, they tend to get depressed or panic because this single document can identify student’s success. If you dream to join a college or university, you will not be able to make your dream come true without a good admission essay. Therefore, please ensure that you clearly understand what admission writing is and how custom-written papers should look like.
Some researchers state that one needs to spend around 80-100 hours to produce an excellent resume (CV) with 2 pages of text. You can imagine how much time you need to create a superb admission essay, especially if you have not written such pieces of writing before. Even if you work days and nights on the paper, it does not guarantee success since you have to follow the writing requirements assigned by the admission committee and include the key details about your life and aspirations.
Enough Time – Always a Challenge
You should ask yourself if you have enough time to complete the task of writing a college admissions essay. If not, you should find other alternatives rather than spending the last hours on complex writing. Many students think that they will write down everything that pops up in their heads. Admission writing is much different from completing essays in high school. Admission officers want to see the best candidates, who will be enrolled as future students to colleges and universities. Therefore, it is a wrong decision not to find any assistance if you cannot make up your mind what to write in the essay.
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