Writing Your College Essay
Why do colleges want an essay? The rest of your college application lets the college know what you’ve done. The college essay lets the college know who you are. It shows that you’ve thought about your life after high school and created some goals. The essay also is a sample of your writing ability. The college is looking not only at the content but the quality of your writing. A large part of performance in college is based on written products and they want to see if you are ready.
What types of essay questions might the college ask? The ‘tell us about yourself’ question. The school wants to know you better and wants you to reveal your personality. They want to know your creativity, sense of humor, organization, and thought processes. They are looking for examples of your preferences and values. The ‘why did you choose this college’ question. They want to know if you have well thought out goals for your future and how their college will help you achieve them. The ‘tell us about’ question. This question will look at your creativity and knowledge. It might ask about your opinion of world events, family, personal preferences, etc. This question must be focused and well organized. They are looking at your thought processes.
How do I write the essay? Prewrite – Collect and organize your ideas. Brainstorm. Write down as many ideas about yourself as you can. You can always eliminate ones that don’t fit later. Include personal characteristics as well as places you’ve been and accomplishments. Ask friends and relatives to help you cover all your characteristics. Organize – Make sure the essay topic is clear. Look for connections in the information you brainstormed so you can group ideas together. Create a topic sentence. Draft – Write the essay in three parts – 1. Introduction (tell the reader what the essay is going to be about). 2. Body (information about your topic sentence). This is the part that answers the essay question. 3. Conclusion (this recaps briefly information in the body and the topic sentence). Edit – Reread the essay, have others read it. Read it out loud and see how it sounds when spoken. Look for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, clarity, organization. Make sure you can find your main idea and follow it from beginning to end. Use facts, quotes, and evidence if you are proving a point. Don’t make it too long or too short – make every word count. Don’t include information found in your application somewhere else. Make it YOU! Rewrite – This is the final step and one last chance to edit. Always type your essay. Make sure you have followed all directions and note the deadline date.