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Essay Writing… like a BOSS!

By J.T. Connell, Lighthouse Counselor
It’s never too early to start thinking about your college essay or brainstorming ideas. But for students approaching their senior year, now would be an ideal time to make a first draft of your essay.
essay-writingThe college essay is a way for college admission committee members to get a more personal look at applicants. This is your chance to make yourself a more desirable candidate. Therefore, it’s important to show how you’re a good fit for a school by exhibiting solid character, unique personal experiences, and other ways in which you stand out among your peers. No matter what you’re writing about, it’s always a good idea to present the essay as one piece of a uniform picture by making sure it’s consistent with your application and teacher recommendations.
Here are some more tips:
Be Honest
According to the College Board one of the top tips for writing essays is to be yourself. Applicants should stay away from exaggerated boasts and instead, create a document that lets the personality of the student shine through. For example, Mike Sexton, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Santa Clara University, says that his admissions counselors are trained to search for applicants that would make good roommates or lab partners. So when making any claims, make sure to back them up with specific examples.
Stay Focused
It’s better to stick to a few topics that you can expand on rather than providing a list that reads more like a resume. Your story of self should be confirmed by specific examples and descriptions. The essay is more believable if you can “show” how you are unique rather than just “telling” that you are.
Choose a Topic that You are Interested in
Some students try to guess what colleges want to hear and try to write about those things. In reality, colleges want to get a clearer picture of who applicants are rather than what can be shown by scores alone. A great way for your personality to show through is to pick a topic that allows you to elaborate on your interests and passions.
Getting Started
First, it’s better to start early. Starting early takes the pressure off and allows you to write more freely. Then, you have time to reflect on what’s written and share your essay with others. Letting others check over your writing will help you reduce spelling and grammar errors. According to Career Vision, something else you can do to start your essay is to make a list or inventory of qualities that you’d like to present to a college. Answer questions such as “Who are you?”, “What motivates you?” and “How are you unique?” To develop details that will round out your essay, think of answers to questions such as “What are you most proud of?”, “What are your plans and goals?” and “What experiences have you had that have been life-changing?”
The Common Application
Not all schools utilize the college essay, but of those that do, many schools use The Common Application – that’s one application that you can send to many different schools. Thanks to The Common Application, you can choose an essay prompt, write an essay on that topic, and use that same essay when applying to many schools, instead of having to write a separate essay for each school. The Common Application essay prompts are available on its website, http://blog.commonapp.org/2015/03/31/2015-2016-essay-prompts/.
Good Luck! And, feel free to let your counselor know if you need help.