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The MV Current

The MV Current

College Essay Tips

Joan Lee, MVC Features and Reviews Editor

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For any high school student with the intention of applying to college, the college application essay is an absolute necessity. It is the one chance to show schools who you are. The college essay is the only place where you can show your voice. To write the best essay for yourself, use these nine tips from me, a senior who already written hers.

  1. Start early. I would recommend starting in August, especially if you are someone who stresses yourself out because of time management issues. If you cannot think of ideas, you can read essays of people who have already gotten admission from colleges. You may become inspired by a few of the essays you read. Once you have written your entire essay, read and reread your essay for revisions.

“Revise your college essay,” said Nyjia Thompson, 12. “Revision is important because you should not turn in your first draft.”

  1. As long as your idea is original to you, it is original. To show your originality, write your essay the way you want to. It is how you write this essay that is much more important than what you write about.
  2. Be you. Be genuine. Do not try to be the poster college student for the college or university you want to go to. Do not become a thesaurus and spout synonyms that can be used incorrectly. Instead, focus on what makes you different from everyone else. At a college information session, the admissions representative from Georgetown gave a great way to think of how to write the college essay: If you had to leave school right now, what would your classes be missing?
  3. Focus on only a few aspects about you in your essay. Go in depth on those aspects that are a major part of you. It is the details that matter, not the number of actions you have taken or the activities you have done.
  4. You do not need to be like Socrates and Plato and all those other philosophers of years long past. You have only been through a good sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen years. You do not need to sound like you are 80-years-old. You can even write about an everyday experience or a subject you are knowledgeable in.
  5. Make sure your essay can connect. By this, you want everything to flow; this includes the transitions between sentences in your essay. You want to be able to connect your essay to your college application. The college admissions officers should be able to identify your college application with your essay.
  6. Make your essay come full circle. Include something that you used in your first paragraph in the conclusion. If you talked briefly about your phone only in the first paragraph, include it in your conclusion.
  7. Use active voice. Do not use words like “had eaten” or “is followed by,” which are both examples of passive voice. Instead, some useful examples of active voice are “changed” and “enjoys.” If you are still confused about the difference between active and passive voice in writing, use Purdue Owl.
  8. Ask a few people, like friends and teachers, to edit your essay for you for different purposes. Have one person look for voice and another for grammar. Do not have more than five people read your essay. You might lose your voice in the middle of it.

Just use these nine tips, and you can help your chances with your dream school.

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College Essay Tips