Writing a Winning College Essay: Standout from the Crowd

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Writing a Winning College Essay: Standout from the Crowd

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Beyond numerical components like GPA and standardized test scores, personal essays play an undeniably significant role in the college admissions process. College essays often grant students the only opportunity in their applications to speak for themselves, rather than letting only their academic accolades represent them. Consequently, fully seizing this opportunity for self-expression can make or break admission decisions; however, rest assured that you have plenty of ways to stand out from the crowd and write a winning college essay.

Trust the Strength of Your Perspective

Many prospective college students hold the preconceived notion that they must choose a profound and/or obscure topic for their college essay to stay memorable to application readers. While a well-written essay about an eccentric topic cannot hurt in the fight for memorability, what can distinguish you from other applicants regardless of your essay topic is the unique perspective you offer through your writing.

Candidly utilizing your voice and writing skills to share a relevant story allows college admissions officers to see your personality and genuineness, which can largely factor into their decision to favor your application. Though the college admissions process has a notorious reputation for its increasing uncertainty and competitiveness, putting your best foot forward through authenticity in the essay component of your application should give you increased confidence in your application.

Strike a Balance Between Detail and Straightforwardness

Captivating your college essay audience largely involves providing a level of detail that ensures readers thoroughly understand your topic, even if they have no personal familiarity or experience with it. Another important detail-oriented method to keep readers’ attention involves engaging the senses. At the same time, college essays can only contain so many words and/or characters, so it is crucial to identify whether extrapolating details becomes vital.

You should aim for straightforwardness in a college essay; you do not want to confuse readers or force them to conclude on their own what you are trying to say. Therefore, writing a concise essay with details in the right places yields a formula for success. College admissions counselors will remember an essay that offers an enjoyable reading experience, so you will reap the benefits as someone who can offer just that.

Your College Essay Must Have a Purpose

Telling a story to admissions counselors without a clear purpose makes your college essay an application pitfall instead of the advantageous tool it can be when it is well-written and logically organized. Accordingly, ensure that your essay topic has a purpose that both directly relates to the prompt and highlights your individuality. The topic you ultimately choose to write about heavily implies that you consider it important enough for college admissions officers to know when evaluating your application. As a result, your choice of topic represents not only your understanding of the prompt at hand but also what you value personally.

Alternative Opinions or Professional Aid

Even when your college essay seems perfect to you, readers might spot mistakes or ways to strengthen it. To avoid this, having at least one other person review your college essay can make it less prone to weaknesses once college admissions committees evaluate it.

Ideally, someone who recently went through the admissions process themselves and encountered success, such as an older sibling or a college acquaintance, should be the other set of eyes to read your college essay. Alternatively, parents, guardians, and trusted teachers are strong options. Seeking help from professional insiders or individualized 1-1 coaching programs can also be game changers in giving your essay that extra edge that many students long for when applying for admission to the colleges of their dreams.

Further College Essay Enhancement with TestPrepScore

Beyond the incorporation of these components for a standout essay, any solid piece of writing for a college application entails immense focus, numerous revisions, and an unwavering commitment to conveying your ideas in a logical fashion that makes you an attractive applicant. Because college admissions counselors often get bombarded with record-breaking numbers of applications each year (especially at top universities), writing a standout essay remains vital.

While many students continue to fall victim to the pressures associated with crafting the “perfect” college essay, you do not have to do the same. For more college application tips, be sure to subscribe to our blog.