What college essay advice helps students the most?

What college essay advice helps students the most?

Imagine you’re running a summer program for 8th graders. You get to read all of their applications and decide who to pick and allow into your program. The catch? You have to work with these kids every single day of the summer, AND the work they do will directly affect your own grades for the upcoming school year. 

With that in mind, would you be most likely to pick students who:

  1. Tell you about the saddest thing that ever happened to them
  2. Promise you they’re “collaborative” and “hardworking,” but provide zero examples
  3. Share a story that demonstrates both what they'll be like to work with and their proven areas of strength

(We’re hoping you picked C!)

Try to avoid telling admissions officers what you think they want to hear. You can craft the “perfect” application all you want, but it will be obvious if your passions and personality aren't in it. Lean into your niche interests and communities, let your personality shine through your writing style and storytelling, and demonstrate specific reasons you’re genuinely excited about programs and classes at your chosen school.

Here are some more easy, yet crucial tips for a successful college essay:

  • Start with a strong hook. Last week’s blog includes numerous examples of hooks to use for your essay! Here’s the TLDR: grab your reader from the first sentence, and get weird with it…i.e. “Of all places to have an existential crisis, mine was in aisle five between the cereal and the canned goods.”

  • Make unlikely connections. How can you link your favorite sport to your future career goal? Hint: our tool is perfect for drawing unique connections!

  • Know your dream school. Research relevant programs, values, and even classes at your dream school. The more specifically you can cater your personal essay to your dream school, the better. They love seeing that you’ve done your research!

  • Be specific and state your WHY. How did your hobby shape the person you’ve become? Your resume says what you’ve accomplished, now tell your reader what motivated you to do it.

  • Finally, don’t give admissions counselors vague statements or random trauma dumps. Sell them on you, your personality, and your accomplishments. At the end of the day, colleges are a business, and they want students who contribute to a vibrant campus and make them look good! 

    Want help telling your unique story and connecting it to your future goals? Let ESAI help your personality and strengths shine through, and get you one step closer to your future!
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