Skip Nav

How to Write a Great College Application Essay

What Excellent College Essays Have in Common

❶Enchanted Prince Stan decided to stay away from any frog-kissing princesses to retain his unique perspective on ruling as an amphibian.

1. Get to know your prompt

What Is the College Essay Introduction For?
Post navigation
Legal Stuff

I believe the best and most effective essays are those that showcase one of your defining qualities or characteristics. This will start to make sense once you learn more about these essays. These essays, at least the best ones, are highly personal. You can start by brainstorming your defining qualities or characteristics, and go from there.

What you are looking for are those experiences from your past mainly during your high school years that you can share in order to reveal what makes you tick, what you most care about, how you learn and what sets you apart from other applicants. This gives you more to write about yourself: How you felt about that problem, the steps you took to manage it, and most important, what you learned about yourself, others and the world in the process.

They do not need to be impressive, momentous, catastrophes or tragedies, although those can work, too. Often, the most simple, everyday problems work the best. Try to think of one big example and one small one. Often the smaller ones turn out to be the best ones. Now, check if any of them are particularly unusual, unique, memorable, entertaining or interesting.

Problems that only you can have most likely are your most promising problems to start your college application essay. Maybe your little sisters are all picky eaters another problem! This could be an excellent essay: Write about how you make fancy lunches for your picky little sisters. Could such an ordinary, everyday topic like making paperbag lunches get you into your dream school? Then you can talk about how you handled that problem, including making these lunches and other meals. You can explain the steps you took to learn how to cook, and your defining quality of bringing creativity and personal responsibility to the process.

Usually best to pick ONE quality in each essay to give it a sharp focus. Can you imagine how you could start this essay sharing your daily morning routine of making creative sack lunches? I can picture the types of colorful details and snippets of conversation from those frantic mornings—which you could craft into an anecdote to show yourself in action and start your essay.

Maybe one sister demands peanut butter and pickles, and another that her sandwich is cut into six squares and the third only eats mini-carrots and homemade hummus. Boy, are you a great big brother or sister!!

Then you continue with the back story about your mom and why you were charged with this task, and drill deeper into how you handled it, and WHAT YOU LEARNED about yourself, others and the world in the process this is the all-important analytical, reflective part of your essay. So I hope my Brainstorm Guide has helped you have unveil some of your past problems to start your college application essay. And that you start to get an idea of how you can use these to write about yourself to start your college application essay.

Read my posts in this Jumpstart page and I promise this will start to make more sense, and even give you more ways to discover your best topic ideas. If you want a short book that takes you through this process one step at a time, check out my writing guide on Amazon: My online course , also available on this blog, does the same thing, but with a series of short videos and handouts. Remember, if you can think of your past problems, you are bound to find a great topic to start your college application essay!

Your email address will not be published. As a professional writing coach, I help students, parents, counselors, teachers and others from around the world on these dreaded essays! Learn about my in-person and online tutoring, editing, workshops, books, and online courses, My on-demand, fast-and-easy online e-course: The top-paying jobs tend to cluster in two industries -- and may prove less vulnerable automation.

Share Tweet Reddit Flipboard Email. Last Updated Jun 15, When you're writing your college admissions essay , do not be boring! A bland admission essay can put an overworked college rep to sleep. I attended a conference once where an administrator at Yale University mentioned that 20 staffers at his Ivy League school read 50 college admission essays a day, six days a week during the application season. That's a lot of papers to slog through.

When I was in the eighth grade I couldn't read. While traveling through the daily path of life, have you ever stumbled upon a hidden pocket of the universe?

I have old hands. I was paralyzed from the waist down. I would try to move my leg or even shift an ankle but I never got a response. This was the first time thoughts of death ever cross my mind. I almost didn't live through September 11th, The spaghetti burbled and slushed around the pan, and as I stirred it, the noises it gave off began to sound increasingly like bodily functions. I have been surfing Lake Michigan since I was 3 years old.

Choose Your Test

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Before we talk about how to start a college essay, let's discuss the role of the introduction. Just as your college essay is your chance to introduce yourself to the admissions office of your target college, your essay's beginning is your chance to introduce your writing.

Privacy FAQs

Starting A College Application Essay College application essay is an important aspect of the application process into a school or college. Colleges have limited vacancies in the program, therefore, this is the opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

About Our Ads

How To Start Your College Application Essay. Start jotting them down, but don’t worry just yet about writing a full-fledged essay. The college application essay writing process is an evolution, not a revolution. It will take time to . To Start Your College Application Essay (Copy and paste this list into Word/Google doc and print it out) Go down this list of problems and write down “times” you faced or dealt with this type of problem. Try to think of one big example and one small one. Often the smaller ones turn out to be the best ones.

Cookie Info

Jun 15,  · Now that it's summer, you've got time to write a great college essay. And to get your college admissions essay off to the right start, begin with a captivating opening line. Want examples? Here are samples from winning college essays courtesy of Stanford University. These are opening lines of admissions essays that the Stanford admission . It may be only words — or sometimes only words — but the admissions essay(s) portion of a college application can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection. How you write your personal essay shows the admissions committee why you are different from other applicants.