6 Tips for Creating the Best College Application Essay

As you prepare applications for college you’ll inevitably run into the infamous college application essay. Although you may be tempted to quickly put together an essay or leave it until the last minute, it matters more than you might think. We’ll share with you why college application essays are important and 6 tips that will help you write a great essay.

Why Your College Essay Matters

Not every school requires a college application essay, but if one is requested, you should take it seriously. It can be one of the main pieces in your application that sets you apart from other students.

Bethel Admissions Counselor Tim Anderson says, “You can only get so much information about a person from test scores and other data points. The college admission essay is the only place to share about yourself. It’s a way to make your mark and be memorable to admissions.”

Ready? Here’s how to write the best college application essay:

1. Be honest.

A good college admission essay is going to accurately reflect who you are as a person, not who you think admissions wants you to be. “Be honest rather than just saying what you think should be said to get in,” Anderson advises. “Be honest about who you are and the questions you have.”

2. Show. Don’t tell.

Admissions counselors receive many essays that read like a list of accomplishments. Instead, get creative. “Go beyond answering the question and really show admissions who you are,” Anderson says.

3. Proofread. And then proofread again.

Spelling and grammatical errors stand out and not in a good way. The essay shows off your writing skills and helps admissions counselors assess if you’re ready for college. Use spell check and have others double-check your work so your essay can shine.

4. Be you.

Admissions counselors read a lot of essays, and they can start sounding the same. Make your essay stand out by sharing your story in a way that let’s admissions counselors get to know you.

5. Brag a little.

We know it’s tough, but it’s OK to brag a little about your talents and accomplishments. Your essay should say “I’m good, and here’s why,” explains Joshua Perkins, assistant director of recruitment at Bethel.

6. Relax.

Perhaps, the best advice for writing your college essay is take a deep breath and relax. “You’re going to find the right school,” Perkins says. “Your essay is just part of what’s going to help you do that. If you’re being asked questions you have answers to and you’re confident about it, that’s probably a good sign.”

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