How to Write a College Application Essay

Don’t hurry writing a college essay, take 5 minutes to brace yourself. Believe me, this can save you substantial amount of time. During 20 years of managing these essays together with my students, here’s what I advise you to do to survive, and how to write a college application essay of the best quality. Firstly, before start writing, look over the worst essay topic ideas.

1. Create a list of colleges you want to apply. 
It is important action as you need to write a vast variety of small essays to apply to college. The last thing you need is finding out which colleges you want to apply to and at the same time writing a college essay. You need to prepare your college list first, and then you will know what exactly you need to do, and no more.

2. Highlight the essay prompt from each university.
Some colleges won’t ask you to write essays at all or they will ask you to write it. No joke. So, you need to visit their application page or their supplement page of the Common App and copy/paste word by word prompt into a doc where you are going to write your essay. Please, do not write a prompt in your own words, and do not abbreviate it. You need to have the actual question and to control that you are responding to the question they asked.

3. Emphasize the character or the word limit for each application essay. 
Some colleges will set up a world limit for an application essay and ask you to write saying 150 words or 400 words, and other colleges will give you a character limit in 300 characters or 1500 characters. Pay attention to what actually the prompt is asking you for. It is a huge difference between 150 characters (a tweet) and 150 words (a paragraph). Moreover, it is a huge difference between 600 characters (paragraph) and 600 words (a two page long essay). Each year some poor kid comes to me (proudly) with a 600 word paper they had wrote for a college application only to nearly cry when I’m quietly pointing out to them that college asked for 600 characters. Don’t repeat this mistake. It is really very sad.

4. Learn how to play the Recycle Game before you start writing your essay. 
Do not think it is a fun game, but it is a technique that will save your time. Here’s what you need to do: reread your final list of college prompts that you carefully copied from every college application you are interested in. Next, you need to figure out what colleges are asking the same questions and where you can recycle. Do not write any essay twice (if the topics are the same) as it is unnecessary waste of your precious time. Write only what is necessary to write. The Recycling Game can save you from writing of 5-10 essays – no kidding.