The Ingredients of An Impactful Admissions Essay

Admissions essays or personal statements have always played a vital part in distinguishing one candidate from the other, even if they have similar scores. Writing a great admissions essay is no cakewalk though. It requires plenty of thought and you can expect to write several rough drafts until you settle on something that sounds acceptable. If done right, a good college admissions essay could potentially change the course of your life. How do you write an admissions essay like that, though? Let’s find out.

A woman writing in a notebook against a blurred background

Start Early

A lot of students tend to work better under pressure. Consequently, they might delay writing their essay until the last possible minute. This approach can hurt your chances, though. You don’t want to do a half-baked job on your essay because you were pressed for time. Instead, you should start early and give yourself the time to flesh out your ideas, read them, revise, and then revise again.

You should take at least a week to compose your admissions essay. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to scrutinize the content, rework it, and revise so that your ideas flow better.

Brainstorm the Moments That Have Shaped You

College essays are meant to offer some insights into who you are as a person. You can take this opportunity to talk about your experiences and how they have shaped your worldview. It’s important to be relevant here. For instance, if you want to enter a medical college, then you can describe an experience that inspired you to go down this path. In this personal anecdote your passion should come through. You want to be able to describe your goals and aspirations in a way that connects and sounds genuine.

For instance, don’t just say that you want to help people. Dig deeper into your motivations and draw from real-life incidents that have fueled your desire to be a doctor. These incidents could be anything from losing a loved one to illness or your experience with the healthcare system. You want to be specific and factual here and balance out the emotion so that your point gets across in a clear way.

Don’t Write What You Think the Admissions Committee Wants to Read

This tip may sound counterproductive, but it’s definitely something to consider. You don’t want to think too much about what the admissions committee is looking for when you write your essay. This line of thought can influence your writing and you might not sound like yourself when you do this. There’s also the fact that you can’t be sure what the admissions committee wants from an essay. So, simply jumping on the bandwagon and ignoring your instincts can backfire.

Don’t Just Recount – Reflect and Connect

A lot of people will tell you to personalize your essay and share a unique narrative where you recount your life experiences. This type of personalization is certainly important. However, how you go about it can also make a huge difference. According to one study, essays that showcase categorical thinking are linked to higher rates of academic success. This writing approach focuses on connecting concepts and ideas.

Conversely, essays that rely on personal narratives and demonstrate dynamic thinking are linked to students with lower GPAs in college. As per a professor, admissions officers also tend to look for people who can share their own history by connecting them to the right ideas. This approach makes your story more relatable and shows your ability to describe your experiences in a broader context.

Use the Essay to Fill in Gaps

You don’t want to use your essay to repeat the things the admissions officer can find if they review your transcripts, awards, and list of extracurriculars. The point of an admissions essay is to go beyond these aspects and share what hasn’t been covered yet. The admissions officers are looking for who you are beyond all the scores and prizes and that’s what you should focus on.

Think Twice Before Adding Humor

A dash of humor never hurt anyone. However, if you try too hard to make your essay funny and witty, then it may not work in your favor. We say this because everyone has a different sense of humor. Something may seem funny to you, but there’s no saying what the admissions officer will think of it. You have got limited space here, so use it wisely.

If you do want to add in some humor, you can ask your friends to go through your essay and ask what they think of it. You can then decide based on the general consensus.

Wrapping It Up

When you write an admissions essay, it needs to sound authentic, genuine, and impactful. However, you still need to avoid any grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. For this reason it’s also good to start early. You can go over your essay multiple times and pinpoint any weaknesses in sentence structure and fix your grammar and spelling.

If you start early, you will also have the time to send your essay to an expert proofreading service that can fix the things you missed. A second pair of eyes is very helpful here, so be sure to use it if you can. If you need reliable proofreading services, then reach out to us today and let us help you refine your essay until it’s perfect!

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