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Do's And Don'ts Of Writing A College Admissions Essay

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According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were approximately 20.2 million Americans enrolled in colleges and universities across the country in 2015. For many of these students, the privilege of attending their chosen university hinged on writing an amazing entrance essay. If you're considering applying for college or are in the midst of completing an application, here are a few do's and don'ts that will help you complete the process – and get your essay noticed by admissions counselors:

Do Give the Essay Question Plenty of Thought

Most college entrance essays pose a question that the prospective student will need to eloquently answer in order to be considered. Typically, these questions fall into one of the following three categories:

  • A personal statement question. For example, the college might want an essay that describes yourself as a person, or that relays a personal experience.
  • The college will often ask its applicants to explain why they want to attend the university. Sometimes, the applicant will need to explain why they are attracted to the school or explain their future career goals.
  • Finally, many colleges will pose a thought-provoking or controversial question. For example, the school might ask about the student's view on the skyrocketing cost of tuition.

Each type of question can be tricky and requires a particular strategy. For example, when it comes to a question about yourself as a person or a personal experience, make sure to stick to one or two topics – and discuss each in full. Avoid the temptation to expose too much personal information.

If the question pertains to why you want to attend the university, make sure to be specific. Avoid speaking about the college in general, and instead focus on your intended major or concentration. Talk about the professors' accomplishments or the particular courses offered.

If you are asked a thought-provoking question, allow your creativity to shine through. Also, make sure to research the topic. Become an expert and write with confidence. This will let the admissions counselor know you did your homework.

Do Seek a Second Opinion

Once you've researched your question and given it plenty of thought, it is important to begin crafting your answer. Don't wait until the final draft to seek a second opinion on your choice of topic, grammar and word usage.

Ask an adult, peer or one of your teachers to provide some input. Take their advice into consideration before crafting a first draft. Allow that first draft to sit for a few hours or days before returning to it. Make any corrections before handing the essay off for another opinion. Encourage your second opinion to keep the essay for a few days and to give you constructive criticism.

Take the suggestions to heart before crafting a final draft.

Don't Write Informally

From "LOL" to "TTYL," many teens and adults alike use abbreviations, slang or different types of informal writing in their everyday life. When it comes to your essay, it is important to remember that although you should write in your own voice, it is vital to avoid using popular phrases, abbreviations and any other type of informal language.

Your college entrance essay is a reflection of your intelligence, creativity and writing ability. Utilizing slang and informal language will provide a bad first impression that might mean the difference between getting an acceptance letter and having your application pushed to the side.

From making sure to research your question thoroughly to securing a second opinion, there are many do's and don'ts you should consider before writing your college admission essay. Remember, in many cases the university will give this essay as much consideration as your grades and entrance exams, so make sure to take your time and always be yourself!

If you're specifically trying to get into PA school, contact a company like AJR Associates, LLC. for further assistance.


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