Writing the essay can be one of the more difficult aspects of the college application process. It’s also one of the best ways to convey to the Admissions Committee that you’re a serious student-athlete. Princeton Review senior editor Laura Braswell says, “You want the Admissions Committee to think that you took the time [to write the essay] and that you’re really interested in going to their school. If they’re taking the time to read it, you absolutely want to take the time to do it properly.” Braswell offers the following tips to help make your essay stand out and say, “Admit Me.”
A specific essay question means the committee wants to know two things: one, that you can follow directions, and two, that you didn’t use the same essay for several different college applications. “If they ask a specific question, they want to make sure you answer that question and know that you really want to go there,” says Braswell.
If a more general question is asked, that doesn’t mean you should shortcut the process. “You always want to make [the essay] very specific to that college,” says Braswell. “It just shows that you put time and effort into it.”
Make it personal
“You want your essay to be interesting, and you want to give [the Admissions Committee] an idea of who you are as a person, what’s important to you and why you do things,” Braswell explains. Instead of writing about a general topic, she recommends highlighting a subject that’s especially meaningful to you, whether it’s the sport you play, volunteer work or other extracurricular activities. “That shows that you have a passion for what you do and that you’ll be a good addition to their student body.”
Stay on subject
Writing more is not always better, especially in an essay. When it’s long and drawn out, the reader can lose interest in the story and in you. “You want the Admissions Committee to be interested and intrigued. You don’t want it to drag on and wander,” Braswell says. She suggests asking a parent, a teacher or a guidance counselor to review your essay to ensure that you stick to your topic and remain on point.
Spelling and grammar mistakes are easy to make, but Braswell says careless errors can harm your chances, even prevent you from being accepted into a school. “In one of our books, there’s a story about a girl who misspelled the name of the college. Of course, she was rejected,” she notes.
To help you avoid spelling and grammar mistakes, Braswell suggests checking your work via online tools and asking your parents and teachers to proofread your essay before you submit it.