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Write an Amazing College Application Essay

The essay is often an obstacle for applicants. As the competition for college admissions has increased and as students have taken the process more seriously, "essay anxiety" has become common. This is unfortunate since the essay is one portion of the application that the student controls completely. You should consider the essay an opportunity rather than an ordeal. It's a chance for you to provide for the admissions board a dimension of your personality that cannot be elicited from test scores, GPA, teacher recommendations, or lists of activities.

College Application Essay Topics
Typically colleges offer a number of topics on which students may write. These topics usually give a focus to the essay and almost always encourage introspection. Even when you write about a current event, the approach should be personal.

Each year certain topics are common to a large percentage of the essays. Abortion is an example, as was the 2000 presidential election with the controversial Florida recount. Terrorism and the aftermath of 9-11 as well as corporate accounting practices will most certainly be topics for years to come. It's fine to choose one of these so long as the perspective is distinctive. Admissions people don't care about your particular views on social or political issues. Instead, they want to read why you think as you do, why it matters to you, and why they should care about your opinion.

5 College Application Essay Do's and Don'ts

  • Don't be cynical, trite, pretentious, or maudlin.
  • Do be concise, specific, personal, and honest. Surprise the reader and take chances to go beyond the obvious.
  • Don't repeat what is included in other parts of the application by making the essay a second resume. Go behind the details they already know. For example, you can describe why membership in an activity was significant in your growth.
  • Do use wit and imagination, but don't try to be funny if that's not your personality. Many essays backfire when the writer stretched for humor but what came out was plain silly.
  • Do proofread and then ask someone else to proofread for you. Careless mistakes will drive the admissions board crazy.

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