Barbara P
Barbara P

College Application Essay - Complete Guide with Writing Tips

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Published on: Feb 6, 2021

Last updated on: Jul 20, 2023

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Have you been dreaming of going to a reputable college to pursue your lifelong dream of studying? Are you in a situation where you are just a step away from getting the opportunity to study in your dream college?

Well, for starters, college admission is not only based on your grades and academic performance. A college application essay plays a very significant role in getting your admission.

If you know how to draft one perfect college essay, then you are good to go. But if not, then waste not a minute and learn how to write it.

Instead, this blog will provide you with a complete guide on writing a college application essay and the tips to make it remarkable.

What is a College Application Essay?

A college application essay or a personal statement is different from the typical academic essay that you write in your high school. This is an essay writing done by students who are applying for admission to a college or a university.

The audience for this essay is the admission committee which evaluates the student on the basis of the information provided in the essay.

A college admissions essay helps to address your qualities and why you are the best applicant. As the whole assessment is based on this piece of essay, it is very important for students to draft the best and flawless college application essay.

A supplemental essay is basically based on three questions:

You - Here, you have to share information about yourself. Talk about your personality and focus on your qualities and strengths.

The readers do not want to know about the amount of weight you can lift or the number of oranges you can eat in a minute. They want to know the real qualities and hobbies that make up your personality.

Why us - The question of “why us” demands an answer from you to provide your reasons for choosing that particular college. The admission committee here needs to know the student’s goals and how serious a student is about the institute.

State the reasons why the specific college or institution is your dream college and how it differs from the other institutes. Tell them what difference you can make in yourself by getting into the college and the contributions you can make for the college.

Creative - The college admission officers want to assess how creative a student is. This is analyzed by the knowledge you show in your essay. So do not try to copy information from the internet or from other people's work; instead, be unique and thoughtful.

Importance of a College Application Essay

As your admission is based on this piece of writing, the importance of a college application essay cannot be denied.

A student's CPA, grades, participation in extracurricular activities, and the test scores he achieved in admission have their own value. But they won’t alone get you admission to your desired college.

In literature and education, the importance of writing an essay is substantial. This is the reason that it is made a criterion of getting an admission. Students with strong writing skills can easily write their college essays. But if you are weak in writing, you should start practicing writing an essay.

Your college application not only gives an impression of your strong vocabulary, spelling, and grammar, but the committee also gets an idea of your entire personality.

The logical reasoning and presentation of your point of view in the college application essay help the admission committee to know a person’s identity, goals, interests, and strengths.

In a nutshell, through a college essay, admission officers analyze if the student is serious enough to get into their college and should pursue higher education or not.

How to Start a College Application Essay?

Your college application essay is like a worm that you are using to catch the admission committee. Just like you need a very refreshing and interesting start for all your academic essays to catch the reader’s attention, a college essay needs an attractive and interesting start to impress the committee.

Pick a catchy and interesting hook for your essay as it is the first thing the reader sees in your essay. You can get help from the hook examples but never try to “copy-paste” a hook.

To make your introduction for college essay engaging and appealing, you can add the following things:

    • A Compelling Hook - Fascinate your readers by writing a catchy hook that goes best with the theme of your college application essay. Choose a hook that you know will motivate the committee to read your essay. Depending on the nature of your topic and theme, you can use any of the hooks like a question, fact, statistic, anecdote, quotation, or even a humorous statement. If you choose to write a funny statement to make sure it is not inappropriate or obscene.
    • A story worth sharing - You can start off your college essay by sharing an interesting and meaningful story or an event. Again, it should complement your main theme and topic.
    • Adding a story in the introduction will make your essay unpredictable. And the readers will read your essay to know “what happened next”. Or why that specific incident or event is important to you.
    • An event or story with a lesson - To play it safe, the event and story you share should be the one that taught you a lesson you remember the rest of your life.
    • Be creative and avoid definitions - If you start your essay with a boring and cliche definition, your essay will lose half of its charm. Instead, aim to make your essay unique and appealing with a sense that nobody can write like you.

Already the word limit provided for a college application is short. So you do not want to waste the length by adding a monotonous definition where you know you can add something interesting and insightful.

  • Avoid writing in the present tense - Stating something that happened to you in the past and what lessons it taught you to have more importance than what is happening in your life. To add expressions and drama, avoid writing your essay in the present tense. This is the reason most writers like to write their books and stories in the present tense because they know to add mystery and drama; you should experience it.

An informal tone is prohibited - A college application is that serious type of writing that decides your career, and as a whole, your life. You can not risk your college admission for something petty and small.

Even if your college essay asks about your experiences and stories, the tone should be formal and serious. Do not call for trouble by using words like “oops! Wow! Buzz!. '' Your essay should show your maturity and seriousness.

How to Write a College Application Essay?

An admission committee is looking for a creative and well-written application essay. They read at least a hundred college essays in a day, and the majority of the essays find their way in the dustbins because they are boring and missing your personal touch.

If you ask an admission officer, there are very few essays that worked.

A committee doesn’t want a monotonous, dull, and expressionless essay that is copied from the internet or is mainstream. Like every other essay, readers want an interesting and inspiring piece of writing.

The following tips are the answer to your “how to write a college essay”. Follow the steps and see the magic.

  1. Choose a Topic

    Finding the right college application essay prompt is as important as writing a good college application essay. Take these steps:

    • Think of something you are passionate about.
    • Identify which topic has the most space and importance in your mind.
    • What keeps you awake at night, and what do you dream about?
    • Think about struggling about that specific thing, the problems you face because of it, and what reflects your personality the most.
    • Make a list of reasons behind your happiness and sorrows.

    Taking these steps will open up your mind to find you a better and the right topic for your essay.

  2. Provide Your Opinion

    For the whole of your life, you have been writing essays to either persuade people or putting forward your ideas and views.

    For college application essays, you have to persuade your audience in a different manner. Through expressing your emotions, thinking, and conflicts, you win the hearts of the committee.

    A committee wants to know you, your stance on the matter, and your thinking. Even if describing a conflict, write with your own perspective and view. Your creativity is analyzed by the way you a topic or a subject.

  3. Talk About Achievements

    The entire college essay is written to impress readers. What better way to impress people than mentioning your achievements and strengths. The mentioning of achievements portrays why you are different from other candidates and why you are the best one to be given a chance in the institution.

    Show the readers that you are most worthy of being given an opportunity to pursue their lifelong dream of higher studies in the best college.

    Keep in mind that you have to impress the readers but not with lies. Only talk about the things you have really achieved and the qualities and skills that you really own. They will eventually get to know if you are honest or not.

  4. Avoid Repetition

    The repetition of your achievements, strengths, or sorrows will bore your audience, and the impression you made will fade off. Even if you are writing something that is very close to your heart, do not repeatedly say it in your essay.

    Repetition of the prompt will work negatively for you. It takes away all the attraction from your essay, and chances are the readers will quit reading your essay.

How to End a College Application Essay?

Writing a college application essay right and accurately is everything. Just as the start of an essay has its importance, the ending has its own.

Keep in mind that you are not writing a general academic essay where you end your essay with a summary of the main ideas and thesis statement.

The ending of a college essay is different and significant as the time is near where a reader would be making a decision about you.

The conclusion is the last chance to make an impression on the readers and to make clear your point of view. So the conclusion should give a sense of completeness and convey closure.

You can make a link between the last sentence you use in conclusion to the phrase or statement you made in the introduction. Or you can use a sentence that has one-syllable words.

College Application Essay Examples

College application is a formal piece of writing, so its formatting is important. There are chances that if the admission committee does not find a format in your essay, they will not bother themselves to read your essay at all.

From the right margins to the font size, everything is important in college essay formatting.

If the formatting is not done right, a reader assumes that a student did not care about the instructions provided, which contradicts the student.

Provide headings, sub-headings, and topic sentences to state your point clearly. Examples are provided below of the college application essay.

College Application Essay Prompts

Below are some famous college application essay prompts.

  • What is your greatest personal achievement?
  • Describe your extra-curricular activities.
  • What is your favorite book?
  • What lessons do you take from your hardships?
  • Discuss the famous quote.
  • Describe your life challenges.
  • Explain why you are a perfect candidate?
  • Describe your rewards.
  • Explain the experience that helps you to become a better person.
  • Describe your unique qualities.

Tips for Writing the College Application Essay

Here are some tips for your ease.

  • Always choose the topic of your choice.
  • Check grammatical errors.
  • Mention the good time that you learn from your experience.
  • Never address the prompt negatively.
  • Don't highlight your family member’s issues.

Therefore, follow these tips and make your application process easy.

Generally, the admissions process is tiring for the committee as well. They strive to come up with an interesting essay to lighten up their moods, so if your essay is interesting, you will win their hearts.

If you are scared of writing an application essay and did not even choose a topic. You can take help from AI essay writing tools. They can generate ideas for your common applications that will give you a good start.

Still, if you find it daunting to write an essay, you can always take help from writing services online.

We at provide all sorts of high-quality academic writings, including college application essays and personal statements. Get yours today by placing an order at affordable prices.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a college essay?

The word count of a college essay depends on your topic and the admission committee requirements. So, it is better to consult them before writing. 

Barbara P


Barbara P (Management)

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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