How to Write a Memorable College Essay

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There is a lot that goes into the process of applying to colleges, but writing a college essay stands out as the most important and challenging part. There are so many hours that go into writing your essay, and it could be what determines your future. Hall High School senior, Mitchell Palczewski stated, “It is a challenge to make yourself stand out and seem like a unique individual.” There is added pressure to writing the essay, and any high school student would not back down from admitting that.

Most people will tell you that writing a college essay is vital when applying, and it definitely is. A good essay can get you over the hump and make you stand out amongst thousands of other applicants, while a bad essay can hurt your chances of getting in. However, it is not easy to write such a great piece. What exactly makes writing the essay so challenging? Answering this one question will improve your understanding of the overall writing process and make your essay even better.

 

Most students and teachers would agree that the most difficult part of the essay is finding what to write it about. Mrs. Evans, a guidance counselor at Hall High School, advises that all students should begin by thinking of topics and hobbies they are passionate about. Mrs. Ryan, a librarian at Hall, suggests that students should be picking a topic that they know they can use to show character. The reader should be able to get a better understanding of who you are from the short, 650 word essay.

 

Remember, the lucky admissions officer who gets to read your essay has probably read tens of thousands of college essays responding to the same prompts. They are so experienced that they can boil down most essays to a phrase, idea or equation. When they get to your essay, it is up to you to make them interested in it. You need to convince them why they should accept you and not someone else. It needs to be as memorable as possible, and according to the Princeton Review, “The best way to tell your story is to write a personal, thoughtful essay about something that has meaning for you. Be honest and genuine, and your unique qualities will shine through.”

 

Once you have a solid, unique idea that you can expand upon, begin to draft your essay. This can be challenging, but Mrs. Fransen, a journalism teacher at Hall, advises to just let your writing flow. Her belief is that the best way to go about writing your essay is to “write out all your ideas, don’t just think.” She says that you should write more than what you need to so that you can cut down your essay and retain the best parts. Once you have everything you want to say out on paper, you can begin the revising and editing process.

 

The college essay can be daunting, but students should know that they are not alone. Teachers are more than happy to help with all parts of the college process, especially the college essay. They welcome reading over, editing, revising and giving suggestions on your essay. Mrs. Evans states, “Kids have got to get more than one pair of eyes on it.” In fact, there can never be enough eyes on the essay whether it’s a friend, parent, tutor, or teacher.

 

Show your draft to anyone who you know will take the time to read and edit your essay. College Board states that you should “Ask if it makes sense and sounds like you.” When they make edits, however, make sure you correct them by using your words. Ultimately, the essay needs to be in your own voice and according to the Common App website, your goal should be to have it “sound so much like a conversation, they’ll be surprised that you’re not in the room when they’re finished reading it.”

 

In reality your college essay is not your only focus; you have sports, school, and a social life. It would be a lie to say that the college essay is not a weight on students’ shoulders. Life can be overwhelming, but with these tips you can streamline your college essay to be insightful, eye-catching, and help you get into your dream school.

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