While few applicants are genuinely altruistic, most colleges are turned off by students who appear more focused on what the school can do for them, rather than how they can benefit from the education and at the same time be a contributing member of the campus community.
If you are applying to a business program, the average starting salary of recent graduates should not be your stated motivation for seeking admission! A good way to catch mistakes is to read your essay very slowly and out loud. Some of the best and most memorable essays are based on a simple conversation between people. The impressions and takeaways from such a conversation can be extremely engaging and provide a valuable window into the personality and values of the writer.
Skip the Volunteer Trip. Dedicated community service over a period of time can be a strong topic for an application essay.
Volunteer day at the local park, or two weeks of school building in Africa, will probably not impress the admissions committee. They see many essays of this type. Not only is it difficult to stand out from the pack, but these experiences are often more about the experience than about you, or convey that money buys opportunity. The admissions committee relies on essays to learn additional things about you such as your initiative, curiosity about the world, personal growth, willingness to take risks, ability to be self directed, motivation and ability to make the most of a situation.
They are interested in your personal qualities such as leadership, confidence, ability to work in a team, strength of character, resilience, sense of humor, ability to get along with others and what you might add to the campus community. In short, use your essays to showcase a side of you not visible from other parts of the application.
Peruse the Entire Application. Many applications, especially for some of the more competitive schools, are complex and require multiple essays and short answers.
For example, if you have five key areas you wish to cover, and there are five essays, try to strategically focus on one area in each essay. Resist the temptation to be a sesquipedalian or come across as a pedantic fop!
Use caution when showing off your extensive vocabulary. Simple and direct language can be quite effective. These titles don't play with words or reveal great wit, but they accomplish their purpose perfectly well. In all of these cases, the title has provided at least a partial sense of the essay's subject matter, and each has motivated the reader to continue reading.
What the heck does "Porkopolis" mean? Why did you eat eyeballs? Why should you have quit your job? Avoid These Title Mistakes There are some common missteps that applicants make when it comes to titles.
Be aware of these pitfalls: Vague language. Be precise, not vague. Broad, overly general language. This is a continuation of the vague language problem. Some titles try to cover far too much. Any such effort is doomed to failure, and your reader will be doubting your essay before beginning the first paragraph. Overblown vocabulary. Step 1 Head the essay with a title that draws the reader in if you chose to include one.
It should be less than 10 words, in bold type, slightly larger than the body text of your essay and centered at the top of the page. Carefully read the essay prompts and evaluate if a title is necessary.
Step 2 Include your name on every piece of paper you send to a college admissions office. Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions officer: Is the essay interesting?
Do the ideas flow logically? Does it reveal something about the applicant? No repeats. What you write in your application essay or personal statement should not contradict any other part of your application—nor should it repeat it.
This isn't the place to list your awards or discuss your grades or test scores. Answer the question being asked. Don't reuse an answer to a similar question from another application. Have at least one other person edit your essay. A teacher or college counselor is your best resource.
Volunteer day at the local park, or two weeks of school building in Africa, will probably not impress the admissions committee.
The title should provide a sense of what your essay is about. When an essay's title is "My Utilization of Erroneous Rationalizations During My Pupilage," the reader's immediate response is going to be pure dread. First off, think about the purpose of a title: A good title should grab your reader's attention. According to Harry Bauld, a former Ivy League admissions officer, crafting a coherent, witty piece of writing that tells an interesting story using vivid detail and active language is of utmost importance. An essay title can be concise and straight-forward. Be careful if you're relying on wordplay in your title.
If you come across as a spoiled child, a stuck-up rich kid, lazy, sarcastic or a cynic, the admissions team might decide that you are not the right fit for their school. Admissions officers have to read an unbelievable number of college essays, most of which are forgettable. Be aware of these pitfalls: Vague language.
Design the introduction to draw them into your essay. We caution against one-liners, limericks and anything off—color. It may sound like a chore, and it will certainly take a substantial amount of work. Not all readers are fans of puns, and a title may sound ridiculous if the reader doesn't understand a supposedly clever allusion.
These titles don't play with words or reveal great wit, but they accomplish their purpose perfectly well. The best way to tell your story is to write a personal, thoughtful essay about something that has meaning for you. It is critical that the first few sentences capture their interest. What article do you want to read? Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions officer: Is the essay interesting? Don't reuse an answer to a similar question from another application.
In short, use your essays to showcase a side of you not visible from other parts of the application. If so, your essay needs a title. These are all questions to ask yourself upon final review of your college admissions essay. Skip the Volunteer Trip. Brought to you by Sciencing.
The admissions people are looking for a window into your character, passion and reasoning. The impressions and takeaways from such a conversation can be extremely engaging and provide a valuable window into the personality and values of the writer. As an example, a student who wrote about encountering new foods while abroad titled her essay "Eating Eyeballs. Overblown vocabulary. What article do you want to read? Application essays aren't that different.
Many students try to sound smart rather than sounding like themselves. Answer the question being asked. Avoid These Title Mistakes There are some common missteps that applicants make when it comes to titles. Step 2 Include your name on every piece of paper you send to a college admissions office. Allen Grove is an Alfred University English professor and a college admissions expert with 20 years of experience helping students transition to college. Research the College Before Writing the Essay.
For example, one student wrote an excellent essay about a horrible first day of school, but forgot to include that he had just moved to town, from halfway around the world, and was struggling with English. Peruse the Entire Application.