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College Essay Application Format

College Essay Application Format

You might have written many essays in high school and your teachers would have been very proud of your essay-writing skills. You know that you need an introduction including a thesis statement; two or three paragraphs of various points supporting your thesis statement, and the entire essay tied up tidily in the concluding paragraph.

Now, all the above aspects you must put out of your mind when you think of a college essay application format. An essay for a college application reflects your individuality and tells the admission officers something about you that is beyond your high school scores and other achievements.

When an admission officer reads your application essay, he or she must be able to identify and separate your identity from a pile of applications. The college application essay is an opportunity to share your goals, your influences, your personality, your triumphs and your challenges. Your essay must tell the admission officer what kind of a person you are and why, therefore, you will be a great fit for the specific college or university. Your essay should reveal a story that is unique and sets you apart.

Understand the prompt of the essay

Read, re-read, and again read the prompt and clearly understand what it is asking you to do. Is the prompt wanting you to defend something, stand up for something, expand upon something, or simply asking for your views? Always, always relate the prompt to something in your life. Ask yourself, "How does this apply to me?" Find these answers and you will know what your essay should contain.

Brainstorm the ideas that are coming up in your head

Take a blank sheet of paper, and simply note down whatever is flowing through your head. Ideas, random thoughts, events in your life, people who have influenced you, and more. As you note down the ideas, you will find small yet important details from the nook and corner of your brain that you had forgotten happened or existed.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my strengths?

  • What are my weaknesses?

  • How am I perceived?

  • Do I like the way I am perceived by people around me?

  • What are the things that I am moved by?

  • What kind of people am I attracted to?

  • Where do I see myself in the next 5 years?

Do not worry if nothing important comes to mind when you first sit down and think. Take your time and have several brainstorming sessions and you will see how your mind is expanding with thoughts as you progress through each session.

Now, from these brainstorming sessions, pick out three or four concepts or ideas that you think will be a great fit for the college application essay. Examine these three/four ideas in further detail and see which of them can be developed further and which of them truly reflects the kind of person you are.

Now, choose which story you want to tell and make sure you have ample supporting points to make this point as the central theme of your college application essay.

Plan an outline

Now, that you have narrowed down your ideas to one single idea or concept and have the supporting points to go along, take a sheet of paper and decide how your essay is going to flow. Every great story has a beginning, a central body, and a concluding part. Shape your story to fit this pattern; the flow will be smooth and seamless and hence very easy to read.

Decide how you are going to open your essay; with humor or with an anecdote or a quote or a question. Decide which tone of voice you want to use in the essay. Base the tone of your essay on the idea that you have chosen. It may not be a great idea to use humor when your idea is based on something serious.

Planning ahead on the outline ensures that you do not get stuck in the middle for ideas. Keep your tone of voice as close to your natural writing style as possible. This will add a more authentic twist to the story.

Write your story

From my experience, the first three steps will take the maximum time and the writing part will take the least time. This is because the ideas are already there, the outline is already; you simply need to put everything together. Before your know it, your essay is ready. Keep the following points in mind while writing your story:

  • Ensure your essay focuses on the core point that you initially thought of.

  • Ensure the essay remains personal

  • Don't try to copy from anywhere; admission officers get to read plenty of application essays and they can immediately catch the reproduced ones.

  • Avoid too many predictable, clichéd, or generic phrases; instead use simple language and include detailed descriptions as much as possible

Proofread and edit

This is absolutely important. While your content may be great, if there are grammatical and spelling errors, the admission officer is not going to be impressed at all. So, please ensure you edit and proofread your college application essay thoroughly.

Final Notes

Your college application essay is one of the most important documents that you need to submit to colleges. This essay is what sets your application apart from the rest of the applications.

We, at Prescott Papers, would love to be of help to you and will happily provide guidance and support to complete your college application essay.

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