Tips For Writing A College Essay


Amna Amjad, Contributor

As many of us know, it is near the time when college applications are due- for some this day may be closer than for others. Depending on whether you want to apply to a CUNY, SUNY, or private colleges, the essay is a key component of your application. Making sure your essay is well written, and correctly answers the prompt, is crucial. It can have a big impact on how your application is viewed.  The essay is the part of your application which reveals a side of you that your grades can’t, and that is your personality.

First off, when applying through the Common App it is important that you are aware of which prompts are assigned. These are the seven prompts:

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Here are some tips for writing you college essay:

  • Be direct with the point you are are making. 

When answering the prompt, be sure to give a direct answer to the prompt rather than circling around it (there is a limit to how many words you can write). It is important to make a point and stick to it.

  • Tell a good story 

It is also important to tell a story as you are writing and be specific.The aim should not be to provide as many details as possible, but instead to write in a way that would be captivating and interesting for the reader.

  • Focus on writing about yourself and not what you “think” they want.

It is important to answer the prompt, but you should not be too caught up in thinking about what they are expecting. Instead, focus on yourself and what you want to share about yourself. Focus on- what is important to you?

  • Proofread! 

It is very important to proofread your essay and have others read it over for you. Having different people’s opinions on your writing, will definitely help improve your essay. 

Good luck on writing your college essay! You got this!!