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Deepen your skills and elevate learning with these in-person and online programs. Learn how to build your AP program and expand your course offerings. Get help organizing your AP program and administering the AP Exams. College admissions officers read thousands of college application essays. These tips and strategies can help you make a strong impression.
Nearly all colleges rate application essays as either important or very important in their admissions process. A poorly executed essay can cause a stellar student to get rejected. On the flip side, exceptional application essays can help students with marginal scores get into the schools of their dreams. The tips below will help you win big with your essay. Many college applicants make the mistake of trying to include all of their accomplishments and activities in their application essays. Such essays read like what they are: tedious lists.
Other parts of the application provide plenty of space for you to list extracurricular activities, so save your lists for the places where they belong. The most engaging and compelling essays tell a story and have a clear focus. Through carefully chosen detail, your writing should reveal your passions and expose your personality. A thoughtful and detailed narration of a difficult time in your life tells far more about you than a list of competitions won and honors achieved. Your grades and scores show that you’re smart. Use your essay to show that you’re thoughtful and mature, that your personality has depth. While it’s important to be thoughtful and mature, you don’t want your college application essay to be too heavy.
Try to lighten up the essay with a clever metaphor, a well-placed witticism, or a little self-deprecating humor. The essay that is filled with bad puns or off-color jokes will often end up in the rejection pile. Also, humor isn’t a substitute for substance. Many students have been rejected for failing to take the prompt seriously and writing essays that end up being more foolish than clever. Not just humor, but the overall tone of your application essay is remarkably important. It’s also difficult to get right.
When you are asked to write about your accomplishments, those 750 words on how great you are can make you sound like a braggart. Be careful to balance your pride in your achievements with humility and generosity towards others. Along with the essay, most colleges rate “character and personal qualities” as extremely important in their admissions decisions. Of the three, the essay is the most immediate and illuminating to the admissions folks as they read through thousands of applications. Remember, colleges aren’t looking solely for straight “A”s and high SAT scores. They are looking for good citizens for their campus communities.
Grammatical problems, punctuation errors, and spelling mistakes can hurt your chance of being accepted. When excessive, these errors are distracting and make your application essay difficult to understand. Even a few errors, however, can be a strike against you. They show a lack of care and quality control in your written work, and your success in college partly depends upon strong writing skills. If English isn’t your greatest strength, seek help.
Ask a favorite teacher to go over the essay with you, or find a friend with strong editorial skills. If you can’t find expert help, there are many on-line essay services that can provide a careful critique of your writing. Tips for Writing a Winning College Application Essay. The “Topic of Your Choice” option on the Common Application allows so many possibilities it can be a challenge. How Long Should Your College Application Essay Be? A student working on a metal lathe. Do or did you have an unhappy college freshman home for the winter holidays?
Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Creating a new life away from home can be daunting, and stress is normal. Learning new academic and living norms is difficult for many. And it’s completely natural for freshmen to come home and regress. They may sleep a lot and ask you to do things you haven’t done for years. You may be doing loads of laundry and taking them to lots of doctors’ appointments. And in that pool, some kids come home believing they made the wrong college choice.
The larger majority of others need some love and understanding. In Chinese, the word for crisis also means opportunity. So as you talk with unhappy your college freshmen, please remind them that no matter what you will help them make a plan. This crisis can turn into a great opportunity to think about what makes your student truly happy. Some kids do need professional help and a visit to your doctor or therapist may be a great first step. I field several calls each winter holiday break from confused college freshmen. I listen to what is making them unhappy, and I often hear patterns.