College Application Essay Examples: Dos and Don’ts of Writing

College applications are often a component of the college application, where students experience the most stress and where they make mistakes more often. Entries that go to college, from personal utterances to school-specific supplements, aren’t rocket science, but there are a number of steps students can take to write the most accurate and compelling essays that will help them get a chance at college.

Writing your college essay is difficult. And the stakes are high. A great essay can help you enter your dream school. A mediocre essay can contribute to failure. We want to help you write this great essay and gain recognition. We’ve put together a list of college essay examples that can be used as a springboard for thought and creativity. Give the admissions committee (adcom) readers a clear picture of you as an individual, a student, and a graduate who will make them proud. Make them want to meet you after they finish reading your essays.

DON’T use the personal statement essay to repeat your resume: College Application Essay Examples

A personal statement is your opportunity to reveal something about yourself that cannot be found anywhere else in your application. Many students use this essay to clarify actions or interests that are already largely demonstrated in their application, a list of actions, and more. Write about something that reveals another dimension of your life or personality. If your main occupation is swimming, do not write about the big championship competition. Find something else that will discover something new and show that you think a lot about the essay. If your study of biology is contrary to your religious beliefs, write about it. Dig deeper to find a topic that makes sense.

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DO show a slice of your life: College Application Essay Examples

When developing a topic that reveals something new, find a way to outline a story or idea that shows a part of your life or event. Be descriptive and give details that pay attention to feelings – taste, touch, smell, etc. When you write about a significant experience or event, you do not need to indicate a long schedule of events. Instead, give the reader a piece of the puzzle that conveys your message.

DON’T copy and paste: College Application Essay Examples

When writing more than 25 essays for a balanced list of colleges from 10-12 schools, it is tempting for students to reorient their essays in different applications if the prompts are similar. Although students can use the same basic essay in the Shared Application for several schools, we always recommend that students adapt their additional essays to individual colleges. Telling Caltech why you want to visit MIT is a quick way to end up on the no heap. Take the time to write original answers to all inquiries. It is a lot of work, but in the end, it will pay off.

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DO show your knowledge of the College Application Essay Examples

When drawing up answers to individual college inquiries, it is important to use the specific details that you learned during your visit and research. This not only shows that the colleges completed their homework but also shows your interest in college – and colleges want to accept students who can go to school. Show your college knowledge by listing specific courses, professors, places of interest, and more. Show specific examples of how you fit into campus culture and how you will influence the community.

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DON’T say what you think the admissions office wants to hear: College Application Essay Examples

Many students believe that they “know” what colleges want from an applicant, and this can have a big impact on their writing. Students will abuse the thesaurus and write on weird topics to impress and stand out. Instead of writing what you think the admissions committee wants to read, write about what you want them to know. Again, an essay is a great place to discover something new about you, so stand out by being yourself and show the other side of yourself as a person or student.

DO use your voice: College Application Essay Examples

Using a high language and complex sentence structure may make you sound sophisticated, but is it really so? Do not let your voice get lost in the desire to impress readers. Instead, write as you say, remembering that proper grammar and spelling are still important.

DON’T rely on spellcheck: College Application Essay Examples

Spell check will not catch every spelling or grammar mistake! Take the time to carefully read all of your essays and keep an eye on things like “out” when you wanted to say “ours” and other common typos. Have a parent or counselor read an essay to identify errors you might have missed. Spelling and grammar mistakes can be removed from another star essay – so be careful.

DO double-check that you’ve addressed the prompt: College Application Essay Examples

This is one of the most common mistakes students make. In an effort to write the perfect essay, many forget to connect it to the original clue. Although the requests for a common application for the main essay are general enough to allow students to write about everything they choose, it remains to be seen how this essay responds to the request. The same applies to an essay for a particular school. Check and double-check if there is a clear link between the topic or lesson of your essay and the question asked by the tip.

DON’T wait until the last minute: College Application Essay Examples

If you’re applying to 10 colleges and wait until two weeks before applications are due, you’re going to have a lot of writing to complete in a very short amount of time. Waiting until the last minute leads to stress and rushed essays that don’t accurately convey your message. Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm, draft, revise, and get feedback on your essays.

DO seek feedback from your counselor: College Application Essay Examples


Your college consultants are always ready to help, but they cannot help unless you ask or wait until the last minute for guidance and feedback. Make a plan for meeting with your college advisor, review the list of colleges and essays, and ask for feedback on your letter. Your college counselor can provide valuable information on how to improve your essays, so try to get feedback on your drafts as quickly as possible. School counselors have many students who can give advice, and they are very busy, so ask for advice early and often.

Essays are an important component of the college application process. Although an essay alone will not enroll you in your best college, poorly written essays can pretty quickly send you to no. Don’t rush to college essays and seek advice when you need it!

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