Getting Started on the College Essay

A fantastic time for students to begin working on their essays is the summer before senior year, experts say, when homework and extracurricular activities are not taking up time and mental energy. Beginning early will also give students plenty of time to work through multiple drafts of an essay before college application deadlines.
Students may go online to review essay requirements to the schools they would like to apply to, for example word limits and essay prompts. Many students may start with the Common App, an application platform approved by over 750 schools. The principal essay on the frequent Program, which students can submit to multiple colleges, can’t exceed 650 words.
In addition to the main essay, some colleges ask applicants to submit one or more writing samples. Students are usually asked to describe why they are interested in a specific faculty or academic field in these supplementary essays, which tend to be shorter than the primary essay. Students might want to budget additional time to the writing process if the colleges they are applying to request supplemental essays.

How to Start an Essay

First, and sometimes most daunting, step into the essay writing procedure is figuring out exactly what to write about.

There are usually a few essay prompts to pick out of a school program. They are generally broad, open-ended queries, providing students the freedom to write about a vast selection of topics, Barron says.
The essay is not a complete autobiography, ” says Mimi Doe, co-founder of Leading Tier Admissions, a Massachusetts-based counselling company. “It’s overwhelming to consider placing your entire life in 1 essay,” she says.
Instead, experts say students must narrow their attention and write about a specific encounter, hobby or quirk that shows something personal, like how they believe, what they appreciate or what their strengths are or illustrates an element of the own background.
Pupils do not have to discuss a significant accomplishment in their own essay — a common misconception. Admissions officers who spoke with U.S. News cited memorable essays that concentrated on more ordinary subjects, including fly-fishing, a student’s commute to and from school and also a family’s dining room table.
What is most important, experts say, is that a school essay is thoughtful and tells a story that offers insight into who a student is as a person.
So, regardless of what subject students choose, they will ultimately be writing about themselves,” says Ethan Sawyer, founder of the College Essay Guy site which offers free and paid essay-writing resources. “What we think of as the subject is just the frame or the lens which we’re using to get into other parts of you.”
If students are having trouble brainstorming potential topics, they can ask friends or family members for help, says Stephanie Klein Wassink, founder of Winning Applications and Admissions Checkup, Connecticut-based college admissions counseling companies.  common app essay examples could be helpful
The article needs to tell college admissions officials something that they don’t already know, experts say. So students should ensure they’re writing about something which isn’t mentioned elsewhere in their program, possibly in the activities section, or expand greatly on the subject if it’s noted elsewhere.

Writing the College Essay

Some experts encourage students to outline their composition before jumping into the actual writing.
However there isn’t one correct method of doing things, says Sara Newhouse, vice president for admission and financial preparation at Birmingham-Southern College at Alabama. “Your writing procedure is your own,” she says. Newhouse encourages students to use whatever process worked for them previously when completing writing assignments for English or alternative high school courses.
The first draft of a composition does not need to be perfect. 
When writing, students must keep in mind the tone of a composition does not have to be overly formal,” states Monica Gallego Rude, a manager at Collegewise, an admissions consulting company headquartered in California.
“Aim to write as if you’re writing to your favorite teacher,” Gallego Rude states, meaning someone students can talk openly and have fun with.
If students are having a hard time getting started, they can try out focusing on their introductory paragraph, ” suggests. She says an essay’s opening sentence, or hook, need to catch the reader’s attention.
However, Sawyer cautions that students should not get so caught up in writing the perfect hook they neglect the rest of their essay. In addition, he says he’s read some essays which were excellent overall although they had what he would consider dull hooks.

Editing and Submitting the College Essay

“The best writing is rewriting,” Sapp says. “You should never be giving me your first draft”
When reviewing a first essay draft, students should make sure their writing is showing, not telling, Doe says. This means students should aim to reveal their readers illustrations that prove they exude certain traits or beliefs, as opposed to just stating they do.
After editing their article, students should seek out outside editing help, experts say.
When there are individuals and companies that offer paid essay assistance — by editing solutions to essay-writing boot camps — families and students may not be able to afford the associated fees. However, there may be options to defray the costs; Sawyer, for instance, says he provides scholarships to students from low-income households that cover the cost of one-on-one essay consultations.
Pupils have other alternatives when it comes to essay help. They could ask coworkers, teachers, school counselors and family members for aid polishing an essay.
Newhouse says it works well to have other men and women proofread an essay in two stages. The first stage focuses on content. Clients should start looking for information gaps in the article — whatever they are perplexed about. When the content is nailed down, the next proofing stage focuses on style, including grammar, punctuation and spelling.
However, proofreaders should not change the tone of the essay. “Don’t let anybody edit your voice out,” Doe says.
Once an essay is ready to go, students will usually submit it online, together with the rest of their program. On the frequent App, for instance, students copy and paste their own article into a text box.
Sapp says even though students often stress about the essay in particular, it’s not the only thing college admissions officials consider. “The article is your window, but the application is the house,” he says. “So let’s not forget that an application is constructed of many pieces.”

It is hard to understand what schools want you to say, and it is rather hard to represent yourself accurately in such a short quantity of space. Discovering the right number of phrases is a challenge, but applications almost always give you guidelines for a minimum and maximum duration.

 Common app essay examples

The frequent App, a form used by more than 400 American universities and colleges, has an essay word count limitation of 650 words with no minimum. Concerning form, 650 words means a minimum of 3 paragraphs with a max of approximately five paragraphs. Most word-processing programmes have a word count feature that can help you keep an eye on your essay’s length. If you have an essay you have already written for a class, you can see just how many words you wrote each page to get a sense of the webpage duration your college essay ought to have.

Not all schools use the Common Programme, so their essay requirements vary. Some colleges either have no essay requirement whatsoever or have the optional essay component. Others have a composition component with no minimum or maximum length and instead leave it up to the applicant to determine the appropriate length for your essay. It is necessary to read each school’s application carefully and thoroughly to determine the requirements.



To hit the ideal length for your informative article, make an outline that’s as detailed and organized as you are able to make it. Even though there is no minimum word count, you wish to generate a coherent, substantial essay. Shooting for four paragraphs is a fairly safe. By outlining, you’re going to learn just what you’re likely to say, and it will be easier to keep your essay going from point to point. If you have a little over — state, totaling 700 words instead of 650 — do not panic. Do your best to reduce the work, but also rest assured that admissions officers are not counting every word in each article. The 650 word limit is generally a principle as opposed to a hard-and-fast guideline, so an essay only marginally longer isn’t going to hurt your chances of getting into a school.



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