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How to Write a Good College Essay

Instructor: Leah Salyer
College admissions essays are vital to being accepted into college. It is important to create a memorable essay that will impress admissions officers. Read on to learn some tips on how to create a successful and organized college admissions essay.

Getting Started

The best way to get started on a college essay is to brainstorm. Think about what you might like to write about, make a list of what makes you unique and think about your strengths and weaknesses. You may want to consider a funny or interesting personal story that shows your personality. College admissions officers like originality and essays that catch their attention. Begin thinking about ways in which this may be accomplished during the brainstorming process and write all of your thoughts and ideas down. You may find this video lesson on Developing the Essay Topic beneficial while in the brainstorming process.

Rough Draft

When beginning a rough draft, start by designing an outline. This is designed to give yourself the opportunity to get your ideas organized. You shouldn't worry about making mistakes or corrections. A rough draft is just about letting your ideas form and seeing where they lead you. While writing your rough draft, you may wish to consider this lesson on Rough Drafts to guide you along the way.

Parts of an Essay

Essays are generally broken up into three sections. These sections usually consist of an introduction which should be an opener that gets the reader's attention, a body which is the main focus of the essay and a conclusion which draws all of your thoughts to a close. Remember to keep the focus on the topic of the essay by asking yourself how the topic applies to your personal life. Consider this lesson on Paragraph Structure as a resource to help you organize your essay.

Creativity and Honesty

Be as creative as possible while also remaining honest. College admissions officers appreciate creative essays but also want to see truth in the writing. For instance, do not take a question from an essay and answer it how you think the admissions officer would like. Instead, answer in a truthful manner based on your opinions and experiences.

Get Opinions and Revise

Have others read your essay and tell you their thoughts. This may help you to see where you need to make changes. Once you have received opinions from others, make your own edits and reread your essay. Remember when making edits not to lose who you are. The college admissions officer reading your essay will want to feel like they know you by reading your essay, so it's very important not to lose your voice. This lesson on Proofreading can help you identify useful strategies you can use while revising your essay.

Additional Tips

Would you like to learn some additional tips and techniques to help you with this process? If so, you can check out this lesson on Essay Writing Tips. Once you've completed the lesson, you can take a quick self-assessment quiz to make sure you have a firm grasp on the new techniques you've learned.

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