How To Write A College Essay

Simple and impactful advice from our experts on the daunting task of college admissions essay writing

How To Write A College Essay

Getting started is usually the hardest part of any task, and writing your college admissions essay is no different. Here are five tips to help you point yourself in the right direction, stay focused on the task at hand, and get the job done.

  • Think about what you want to say before you choose a prompt. Don’t pick your favorite prompt and then treat it like an assignment. First, figure out the story you want to tell, then pick the topic that best allows you to tell it. The Common App and Coalition App prompts are very open-ended and include a “topic of your choice.” You have the freedom to think deeply about who you are and what matters to you before getting started.
  • Write long. When working on your rough draft, don’t worry about the 650-word limit. Just let it rip. For most people, it’s much easier to cut than it is to add.
  • Start early. The more time you give yourself, the calmer this process will be for you, and the more time your writing will have to develop.
  • Nerd out. Colleges love to see students drawing connections and showing intellectual curiosity in the topics that interest them. Don’t be afraid to “celebrate your nerdy side,” as Tufts University used to encourage in one of their supplemental essay prompts.
  • Don’t go it alone. When it comes to college essay writing, it’s hard to overestimate the importance of working with someone who can provide everything from feedback on initial ideas to edits on your drafts. Conferring with an essay coach, teacher, friend, or family member can make sure your writing is conveying the message you have in mind (plus, that extra set of eyes can help weed out typos!).

If you need more tips or support on structuring your college essay, contact us today.