Thursday, July 16, 2015

Writing a Great College Essay: 9 Simple Steps

By Jewel Taylor
Student Ambassador, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Writing a great college essay isn’t the hardest thing in the world. It’s actually pretty easy once you put in the work. Take it from me – English isn’t my forte, but I ended up writing an exceptional college essay. Here are a few pointers that I used.

1. Read the guidelines. Some colleges provide questions that they want answered in a college essay. It’s important to answer those questions. Give what is asked of you based on the guidelines. Don’t write a random college essay just because a college essay is needed. Read all the information provided by the school. This is extremely important. 

2. Brainstorm. On a scrap of paper write down some bullet points about what to include in your essay based on the guidelines. For example, if the prompt asks about the role diversity plays in a college setting, you can jot down a few ideas about how you intend to interact with people from other backgrounds and expand your knowledge of multiculturalism.

3. Be original. Be yourself – don’t try to be something or someone that you’re not. Put some personal flavor into your essay. That is what will make you stand out.

4. Be professional. On the other hand, don’t get too comfortable. Be yourself, but don’t get too personal; you have to use some discretion here. Don’t overuse the words “me” and “I” – focus on what you can bring to the school!

5. Write a first draft. Based on your bullet points, start to develop full sentences and paragraphs. It’s okay if everything doesn’t flow at first; once you understand your concept, you’ll be fine. This is just a first draft, so it won’t be perfect.

6. Review your first draft. This is where the tough work comes in. Make sure you’ve followed the guidelines provided. Don’t pile up all your information in one paragraph; create new paragraphs when you begin a new thought. Use the same tense throughout your essay. Avoid using big words to sound smart. Make sure your thoughts flow logically from one to the next.

7. Get another opinion. It’s always important to get a second opinion before submitting your college essay. Make sure to ask a person who is good with English or a person who has recently been through this process. Tell them to be as honest and critical as possible! Revise your essay again based on their suggestions.

8. Give it a final review. Review the essay one last time. This is very important because it is possible that some important details might need to be added or subtracted to the essay.

9. Submit the essay! This all may sound like a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it! Follow those steps, and you’ll be well on your way to writing a great college essay. Good luck!

Jewel Taylor holds a bachelor’s in psychology from the College of the Bahamas and is working toward a master’s in forensic psychology. She will soon matriculate at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She describes herself as a fun, freespirited young lady who loves and serves The Lord. She is from the Bahamas.


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