Prequel Tips
August 29, 2021

How to Turn a Good College Application and Essay into a GREAT one!

Salman Sohani
Program Director
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Applying to college is a daunting time for both parents and teenagers, and the college application essay is something that many people spend endless hours worrying about. If you are working on a college application essay currently, keep reading as we discuss what looks really good on a college application essay. By applying all of these college application essay tips to your teen’s application, you’ll help to set them up for success and ensure they secure a place at the college of their dreams.

What are the factors that make a college application and essay stand out?

While a college application itself will likely focus on academic achievements, the college application essay is a chance to sell yourself and show who you are outside of just your grades. It’s such a crucial part of the application process and one that sometimes people tend to rush when they are busy applying for so many colleges. You’ll be given a prompt for the college application essay, and you’ll want to spend a good amount of time thinking about ideas before you start writing. You should always aim to create an engaging and unique story that is different from other applicants’ essays. It should also be meaningful to you and not just something that you think the college faculty wants to read. Showcasing your personality through a college application essay is one of the most important things, and you’ll see this in any good college application essay examples.

What is the difference between the good ones and the REALLY great ones?

The different between and a good and a great college application essay can often be difficult to notice. When applying to college, it’s all about finding things that look good on a college application, and that will make you stand out from the thousands of other applications they receive. A great college application essay will showcase your personality and won’t just be another copy and paste essay that you’ve submitted everywhere. Your inner voice should shine through on a college application essay, and you shouldn’t be afraid to showcase your personality and interests. One of our top college application essay tips is to try and bring up some of your interests and passions that make you stand out from everyone else. This will create a more well-rounded idea of your personality and what you can offer to the college.

College application essay tips

Read the prompt carefully

When you have an idea in mind for a college application essay, it can be tempting to rush getting started. The most important thing when applying to college is to read essay prompts and application forms very carefully. While the admissions team certainly isn’t trying to trip you up, they are looking for candidates who have a good eye for detail, and that can follow instructions. Even if you’d love to showcase your creativity and write a unique story for your essay, if this isn’t answering the prompt, avoid any temptation to go off track.

Write about something personal

Avoid writing about something you think other people want to hear or that will impress the admissions team, and instead, write about something that’s interesting to you. This could be reflecting on a past experience or sharing your biggest passion in life. When applying to college, you should be drawing upon the many years of life experience you have so far, as this is what looks really good on a college application. Colleges want to see well-rounded individuals who will be a great addition to their college. Even if you think your interests are too bizarre or specialist, don’t be afraid to show who you really are. Your essay will be so much more interesting to read when you are writing something you are excited about, and this passion will come across in every sentence that you write.

Avoid using too much humor or cliches

Even if you think you are particularly funny, use humor with caution when writing your college application essays. While it’s good to keep some aspects of your writing more light-hearted, avoid trying to compete for your audience’s attention by relying on cheesy humor or cliches. Try to use a contrast of emotions during your writing without having to fall back on silly jokes that may just make you seem immature. Also, be careful about the language you are using and try to remain as professional as possible.

Expect to write multiple drafts

While we’d all like to get our college application essays over and submitted as soon as possible, you need to acknowledge that this isn’t the way things work. Don’t expect your first draft to look anything like your final submission. Expect to spend hours working on this essay and start by creating an outline for your essay that you can work from. After each draft, take some time to read over your writing and highlight any areas that you aren’t one hundred percent happy with. You’ll also find that this ensures you catch any spelling and grammar errors.

Get someone to read your college application over before submitting it

After spending so much time on your college application and essay, don’t mess it up by making small spelling and grammar errors. Make sure that you read over your application many times and also ask a parent or someone you trust to double-check it. If you are a parent of a teenager, offer to look over their work. Be careful how you offer them feedback, and make sure you are constructive with any criticisms you have of their work. However, pointing out small errors with grammar and spelling could make or break their application, so don’t feel shy about highlighting these.

Spend the most time on your introduction and conclusion

The introduction and conclusion of your college application are what you should focus on when considering things that look good on a college application. You need to make a good first impression with the opening line and paragraph. Make the reader want to continue reading your work and ensure that you grab their attention from the get-go. Put a great deal of effort into the conclusion, as this is the final chance for your reader to remember your work. The conclusion shouldn’t introduce any new points, but it should sum up everything you’ve discussed so far in your writing. Leave a lasting impression on whoever is reading your essay, and you’ll be sure to be in a good place when applying to college.

These college application essay tips will all help you to add the things that look good on a college application and essay. Make sure you take the time to research good college application essay samples, so you can get an idea about what is expected from your writing. Instead of jumping straight into your essay, take the time to think about the prompt and how you can offer the reader a unique perspective. Remember, it’s all about showcasing your personality and talents in this essay, so make sure you use your college application essay to win over your potential college and secure a place for your future studies.

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