11 Steps to Writing an Outstanding College Essay

Wouldn’t you love to hear from a college admission’s counselor that they thought your college admissions essay was great?  Perhaps it was the deciding factor that
got you into your number one college. 
I have heard this story a number of times from my students, and I
wanted to share some strategies that can help you to also achieve this goal.
1: Take your
This is one of the most
important essays you will ever write, so give yourself the attention and
resources to make it one of your best compositions.
2: Allow others to
help you throughout the process. 
your thoughts, ideas and written work with your peers, parents, counselors, and
teachers for feedback and ideas.
3: Make sure that you
find the best college for you. 
students select a college based on reputation or peer influence, but reviewing the
college website and marketing materials as well as talking with their students,
admissions counselors and alumni is important to assure that it is the right place
for you! 
4: Make it clear that
you are the type of student that the college wants.
  Look back through their website and
marketing materials and note key words that resonate with you.  Next, write down any buzzwords that
reflect the qualities they are searching for in prospective students.  You may want to use some of these words
in your essay.
5: Read sample
college essays from books or online resources
. Make a list of ideas as you
read through the essays and start a list of what works and what doesn’t work.
6: Find a topic or
passion that will communicate your essence. 
Make sure that you select a subject that tells the
college about your strengths and unique qualities in a creative and engaging
7: Make sure you
enjoy writing about the topic you select
.  If you select a focus that excites and empowers you, this
energy is often reflected in your writing.
8: Find a creative
way to write your essay.
an imaginative strategy and tone is imperative. College counselors read
thousands of essays and you want yours to be unique and memorable. 
9: Write a catchy
opener and introduction.
  It is
extremely important that the beginning of your essay grabs the readers
attention and makes them want to learn more about you. 
10:  Make sure the introduction and body of
your essay addresses the question.
Many colleges ask prospective students to write an essay on a particular
topic or theme.  As you write, make
sure that you stay within the parameters of the question.
11: Edit, edit, did I
mention editing?  
the process, revise your work for content, mechanics, and spelling. 
If you would like more guidance and materials that will walk
you through the process, with checklists, forms, and detailed handouts consider
purchasing – Writing The College Essay Workshop.  
I hope you found this helpful!  If you have any questions or thoughts, please share them.
Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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2 replies
  1. Susie Watts
    Susie Watts says:

    As a private college counselor, I love the college essay process with students. I think you have written some very good tips to help students make their essays stand out. When students follow these steps, the college essays are not as overwhelming as students sometimes feel they are.


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