Complete Guide to College Application Essays - Format, Writing Tips, Common Mistakes

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Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Apr 26, 2022 09:57 AM IST

Getting started with writing a college essay can be an overwhelming task given that admissions officers usually look for essay examples that highlight the student's personal growth and development. Here's a complete guide to college application essays.

Complete Guide to College Application Essays - Format, Writing Tips, Common Mistakes

A college application essay is a vital part of a student's college application, especially when applying to US universities, as it provides them with an opportunity to show their writing skills. Unlike test scores and transcript data, a collegeessay to study abroad provides students with an opportunity to show off their personal style and personality.

The essay also helps a student stand out from the crowd and convince the admissions office that they deserve to be selected. Most students want their essay to be memorable, and though it only has a few hundred words, it's important to make a good impression.

For many students, the application process can be overwhelming. It's often a blank piece of paper that they're not sure where to start. Since many schools have started asking for test-optional, it's more challenging for students to figure out which ones should be submitted.

Some schools that have gone test-blind may choose not to consider the scores at all. Instead, they'll focus on other parts of the application including your college essay. So, here's a detailed guide to writing a college application essay.

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Starting Your College Application Essay for Study Abroad

Writing an excellent college essay to study abroadcan also increase your chances of getting scholarships abroad although there are various universities that require a separate scholarship essay. It's important for students to start working on their college essays before they enter their senior year, as it can take a long time to recharge. This will give them plenty of time to draft their college essay before the deadline when applying to a university abroad. It can also be done in November or December of the previous year from the year of application.

Experts offer various tips on how to write an impressive college essay to study abroad. One of these is to be concise and coherent. Forcing an essay's topic can be daunting, but students can also learn how to develop vivid and evocative details through brainstorming. A good essay should also have enough intellectual muscle to stand out. Students should also include compelling details and anecdotes.

Students can review essay requirements for their college applications through an online platform. They can also start with the Common App whichis accepted by more than 900 universities, including some collegesoutside the US.In addition to the main college essay, some universities also ask students to submit an additional writing sample. These are usually shorter than the main essay. Most selective colleges require multiple pieces of writing, which means students should avoid focusing on one long essay.

What is the Ideal Length of a College Application Essay?

Although the Common App doesn't limit the number of words that can be used in the main essay, it does suggest a cap of 650 words. The app warns that an overly wordy college essay might distract readers for a long time. The app's word count is typically around 250 words for supplemental essays.

How to Pick a College Essay Topic to Study Abroad?

The first step in writing a personal statement (SOP) or essayis figuring out what to include. There is a variety of essay prompts for Bachelors that students can use, and they can be broad and open-ended. The essay should not be a complete autobiography.It's too overwhelming to put all of your life into one essay. To have understanding of what to write in the college application essay, the university gives college essay examples.

Our experts believethat students should narrow their focus to something that reveals something about themselves, such as their favourite hobby or experience as their college essay topic. They can also write about an aspect of their background. Even if the topic is a common one, writing about something that's personal can be compelling.

Contrary to popular belief, students do not have to discuss a major accomplishment in their essays. Instead, they should focus on ordinary topics such as a student's commute or their favourite meal.

The most important thing is that the college essay is written with a story that tells a compelling and unique story about the student. Even if the topic is random, experts say that students should still focus on telling a story about themselves.

Regardless of the topic students pick, they should make sure that they are writing about themselves. The goal is to tell a story about yourself. If students have trouble brainstorming a college essay topic, they can ask their peers or family members for help.

According to college admissions experts on board with us, students can ask their peers about their own unique characteristics. The essay should also tell the admissions officers about something they don'talready know. Get further guidance and know more about our experts here!

We Can Help YouInEditing and Submitting Your College Applications Essay!

Writing YourCollege Application Essay

Some experts suggest that students should draft their essays before they start. Students can customize their writing process by choosing the steps that worked for them in the past. The first draft of an essay doesn't have to be perfect. Just do a brain dump, which is a good way to start.If the college essay topicis hard to get started on, focus on the sentence's opening sentence. The first sentence should grab the reader's attention.

One example of a strong hook is a student's essay that talks about one's early involvement in significant activities. Writing a strong hook is not an easy task, especially for college students. However, there are exceptions and some excellent examples that didn't have the ideal hook.

Writing Tips for Your College ApplicationEssay to Study Abroad

Here are the top tips for writing your college essayto study abroad:

1. Ask and Answer the Right Questions

Although it doesnt mean that you should explicitly ask a question in your college application essay, it does mean that you should keep the reader on the edge of their seat until the end of the sentence.To encourage the reader to find out more, start with a hook that encourages them to find out more.

For example, if youre writing about an event, write about how you felt like you were missing out on something important when you sat there in the auditorium. Your hook should also build momentum, as it should prompt the reader to continue reading.

2. Dont Exclusively Focus on Your Past

The admissions committee looks for college essays that are focused on the student's growth and development, as well as their own personal reflections.Itwants to see how you grew as a person and as a student. In your college essay topic, write about what you learned from your experience and how it inspired you. In order to get noticed, essays should be focused on the future and not on the past. They want students to connect their past events to the future and how they will impact them as a person.

3. Be Open About Your Experiences

Tell a story about an event or experience that made you feel good, and then include how it affected you and your values.You should also include how the experience affected you and your values.Readers will connect more with a story about how an experience affected them than if they told a strong story.

4. Try Experimenting a Little

If your story makes sense within the context of an assignment, then give it a twist or reveal something that readers might not have expected.

5. Do Not Summarize

Instead of stating the point of your college essay, avoid spelling it out for someone else. It's far less effective than writing it out for someone else.Instead of saying something like, I learned how to stand up for myself or some other similar statement, let them interpret the meaning of the essay on their own. Sometimes, an actor's expression or even the closing of a door can speak louder than words.

When watching a movie, an actor's expression or closing of a door can speak louder than words. You can use the phrase "I'm taking a stand" to represent the decision or the risk that you've taken.

It can also be a way to represent a decision, a change, or a risk. It can be simply saying that you're taking a stand and making a decision.

6. Give Examples to Support Your Ideas

A college application throws light upon how your mind works and your perspective of the world. In order to make your essay look credible and real, you will have to give good and real-life examples to elucidate your viewpoint. Your personal traits must get reflected in your writings. Check for minute details and facts to develop your ideas and take cues from personal life or life around you. But do not use too many cliches to impress the admission offers. The examples should have a tinge of individualism in them. You can consult college essay examples to write your college application essay.

Editing, Proofreading by Someone Else and Submitting Your College Application Essay

Admissions officers are also looking for ways to improve a student's writing skills. They do so in parts to gauge their potential. Practicing your writing skillsis the best way to improve. Students should make sure their writing is not just telling, but should also show their true character. The students should look over and again for grammatical and spelling errors or typos.

After editing their college essay for the last time, they should seek outside help to proofread their application essay to gain a fresh perspective and point out the mistakes that they may overlook while editing. It can be your parents, seniors, teachers or mentors. So it is better to submit the college application essay after getting it proofread by at least two people.

How to MakeYourCollege Application Essay Stand Out?

In order to ensure that your college essay doesnt get lost amidst thousands of others, you will have to employ certain techniques to your college essay to study abroad make them stand out.

Engaging Introduction

The foremost aim of the student must be to have a compelling beginning to attract the readers attention. You can begin with a quote or bold statement. The reader must feel curious to know more about you. So refrain from boring them.

Perfect your formatting

Make the essay readable by using a user-friendly font. Do not crowd the essay. Make small paragraphs and address each point in each paragraph. Use a similar pattern throughout the essay. Make sure you get your spellings and punctuations correct.

Leave a lasting impression

The conclusion of the essay should have a summary of whatever you have written and it should contain some memorable remarks that will have a lasting impact on the reader.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Writing an SOP or Application Essay

Your statement of purpose should clearly state your intention when studying abroad. It should also be formatted in a paragraph format. SOP is a 2-page document that usually takes up 800 to 1,000 words. It should use a 12-point font and should only contain black text. The candidate should not use coloured text or images while writing the SOP. We have discussed below some of the common mistakes that students should avoid while writing an SOP or college application essay:

  • A well-written introduction is the first thing that will be read by the prospective student. It should also be the last impression that will make the reader want to read more. Therefore focus on the introduction. Do not make it uninteresting to read.
  • While writing your SOP, make sure that it contains the necessary information to convince the recruiters that you're serious about your career and goals. You should not be sounding like a dreamer, trying to sound like an achiever. Remember, childhood dreams are not related to your current field of study and should not be used in the future.

  • It's very important that students prepare their SOPs for their respective universities. Also, take care of vocaulary, and grammar being used in an essay along with the tone of the paragraphs, and flow of the essay. Therefore do not submit the same SOP everywhere.

  • The word limit of an SOP is usually provided by the university. However, if the institution has not mentioned the word count, you should contact the admission department to get the details. Adhere by the word limit instead of writing in the flow.

Our counsellors recommend that students should hire an essay editing service ortake guidance from experienced and renowned college essay experts who canhelp them write the perfect college application essay and boost their chances of getting into a university abroad.

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