Too many essays are repetitive and boring, lacking of any real meaning and substance!
Picking a prompt is easy, picking a topic is critical. It is not about hardship, disadvantages, disappointment, sadness, trouble, or compromising circumstances that may challenge you in college. They don't want to hear about that, it won't work in your favor. Picking the most appropriate topic of interest and relevance is a challenge that takes substantive thought.
Here's your chance to share something special about you that is not reflected anywhere else on the application. Think about the one thing that you want the admission counselor to know about you that will reflect favorably upon you. Think about the one thing about you that has prepared you best for college success. This is the task.
Once you have picked a topic, it's time to start writing. But a freelance approach doesn't work. Rather, an organized and established writing style is much preferred by college admission offices. Follow these simple guidelines to writing a quality college essay.
The college essay should be written in the narrative, telling a story and making a point. It should reach deep into your memory and provide the reader insight into you, the writer. It needs to be engaging and interesting. Begin with a title in mind, then concentrate on style, flow, and direction. Our preferred style of essay is called Show and Tell and it consists of three sections.
The first section is the Show, beginning with the details of the story, the memory of what happened, when it occurred, and how it turned out. The story should refer to a defining moment that changed the course of your life, a personal challenge faced, a specific lesson learned, or a core quality developed. It should reflect a personal story that shaped your belief system allowing the reader to get a glimpse inside your life. It should conclude with making a point in the final sentence.
The middle section is the Tell, the purpose of which is to express meaning, informing the reader what it all means to you and how it fits in your life. It should reflect in how it has become a part of who you are today, how it contributes to your everyday belief and decision process. Provide examples of how it's working for you.
The final section is the Application, explaining the future benefit you will draw from the Show and Tell. I like this section to always begin with- When I look to my college days ahead, I will be... This may refer to being better prepared, better aware, better suited, or better ready for college. The final sentence should tie it all together and give the title clear meaning.
The essay should reveal the quality of you. Use it to reflect something about you that cannot be found otherwise in your application. Do not use the essay to try to impress the reader by listing accomplishments or using big words. View the essay as your chance to separate yourself from others, making it memorable by engaging the reader with your story.
Here is a top quality essay from one of our students, an Elon student today.
Turning Goodbyes into Hellos
After moving halfway across the world from South Africa to the United States, my family and I were finally adjusting to a new life. We had a home, I had finally established myself in a friend group, and things were stable for once. Yet right when I had settled down, it was time to pick up and move again. Devastated, I said goodbye to the new friends I had finally grown close to, and realized I would have to start all over again. It felt like a never-ending cycle. Despite the closeness of Westport and Wilton, the move felt like another trip across the world. I longed to stop being the new kid. I longed to have a friend group like every other child my age. The thought of not fitting in overwhelmed me.
My first day of school approached faster than I had hoped, and I clung onto my fathers arm as I walked down the hallways of the unfamiliar school. Children rushed around with friends by their side, and I immediately felt isolated. Everyone already knew each other, and had experienced half a school year with each other. Panic took over me. When my father and I reached my classroom I realized it was time to part ways with him, and enter this room full of strangers, completely alone. Bursting into tears, I held onto him, begging not to go in. Not only was I distraught about having to take on a whole new school, but also I was overcome with anger. It seemed unfair that I had to do this. I had not chosen to move, and it was entirely out of my control.
There are moments in life that stay with a person forever, and the day outside my classroom is one of them. With tears swelled up in my eyes, my father began to walk away, knowing that he had to force me in there. Suddenly, a young girl from my classroom came outside and hugged me. My crying ceased, and she took me into the classroom to join the others. From that day on she was my best friend. Although that hug seemed like a simple action to her, no one will understand what it meant to me. Had she not befriended me that day, my memories of that day could be far different. I have learned to value friendship, and have sensitivity to those that lack friendship in their lives. Having been on the side of the new kid numerous times, I am aware of the uncertainty, the fear, and the sadness it brings. Goodbyes are never easy, but after experiencing it many times now, I know that there are always hellos. Although moving felt like the end of the world it ultimately worked out for the best.
As I plan for college, I realize that some of the greatest fears my fellow students have, I don't have. They fear saying goodbye to the friendly confines of their home, school, and community. I welcome in all the new hellos that lie ahead during my college journey. It's a wonderful, exciting, and empowering feeling to know I can head out into the unknown world with confidence in my ability to blend in with others doing the same thing. For college success, it is vital to get outside the comfort zone of familiarity and to embrace the challenges of meeting others and building new friendships. In doing so, I am able to leverage my abilities into a better school experience and improved options as I move towards my young adult life thereafter. I will once again turn goodbyes into hellos. This time around, however, I plan to be the one helping others do the same. Hello to college, here I come!
As always, if you'd like to learn how to save thousands in college costs, you can pick up a copy of our new book today-