That's the way to ESSAY!


Pushpinder Bhatia
Alumni Said Business School, University of Oxford, UK

That's the way to ESSAY!

The essay for college application gives a sense of anxiety and fright to most of the students. It isn’t an easy job, after all it plays a major role in deciding your fate to admission. Your essay not only showcases your skills, it also reveals something important about you that your grades and test scores can't—your personality. It is only in your hands (quite literally!) to have full control on your essay unlike every other aspect of the application. Hence, you need to make sure that the glimpse you are giving the admission committee into your personality, character, background, and writing ability is the very best possible.

It is necessary to keep the following key application essay tips in mind while writing:

Make it interesting: Admission Officers have to go through hundreds of college application essays, and they can only spend few minutes to each essay. Make sure you are not straining the admission officer’s patience by writing something which is “known to all” or boring. However, this does not mean that they are looking for a new way to view the world instead they are looking for a new way to view you, the applicant.

To the point: Being concise, is another important factor which should be kept in mind while drafting your essay. Too much of words not only take up valuable space, but also tend to confuse the important ideas that you are trying to convey. Sentences that are short and precise are more convincing and strong because they are direct and to the point.

No slangs please! : Inappropriate language is a strict no-no! Slang terms, clichés, an excessive casual tone should be eliminated. Usage of these would only project a very casual and an “I don’t really care” attitude, which would result in your application to straight away be piled up on the “definitely not” stack of applications kept on the admission officer’s desk.

Reflect yourself: Try putting in your views and perspectives on the instances you share. Your essay should throw light on your character and your true personality. The reader is most interested to have a glimpse of your own thought-process about a particular instance that you have shared.

Be bold: The Admission Officer would appreciate a controversial write up. This however does not mean that you have to pretend to have the final truth or have strict views on sensitive issues. Diversity of mind is what the admission committee looks for as colleges are places for discussion of various ideas. If you are to take a stand on anything, make sure you are balanced and thoughtful. Give reasons and arguments for your views along with accepting others’ perspectives as well.

No spelling mistakes: As little or ignorable as it looks, spelling errors simply scream ‘lack of attention to detail’. No matter how many times you have gone through your own essay, you will not be able to spot a mistake as easily as a fresh pair of eyes. Your future is worth the hassle if you just ask a friend or a teacher to triple check before finalizing it.

Answer the Question:  Once you have finished drafting the essay, ask yourself or ask your friends and family to read it and to keep these major questions in mind- Have I answered the question and used specific and true experiences as supporting details? Does each and every part successfully support my main argument? Is every sentence crucial to the essay? (This must be the case) Does it reveal my personality?

Revise! Revise! Revise a little more! : Your only way to improve the essay is to edit, edit, and edit some more. Revise your essay as much as you can, ask your friends and family to read it, see if they are able to understand what you are wanting to write, dose it serve the purpose of the admission committee, that is, does it answer the question.

These essential tips wouldn’t fall short if applied wisely. The key is to highlight your essay from the crowd and emerge as a clear winner. Since you have control over the essay, remember to do all that you can to show the admission committee what makes you the most deserving applicant.

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