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How to Write a Common Application Essay

Imagine you’re a college admissions officer. It’s about that time of year when application essays start flooding the mail – and you’re in charge of sorting through them all. With a stack of essays on your desk about four feet tall, you’re not exactly willing to read every single word. In fact, most admission officers don’t read the entire essay by every student – and neither would you! Unfortunately, college admission officers decide if your essay is worth reading within the first few sentences – which gives you very limited space to capture their attention!

To keep an application reader from tossing your essay aside, you need to know how to write a truly great, yet widely applicable application essay. Your ‘common’ application essay should be refreshingly uncommon. If you want to get noticed by your school of choice, you’ll have to compose something that’s catchy, meaningful and keeps the reader’s attention indefinitely. Sound difficult? Not all – look below for some simple, helpful tips on writing an application essay!

Tricks to Writing that Application Essay

Writing a captivating application essay doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, if you bear a few key details in mind, you should be able to produce an excellent application essay for any college entry. Below are the important things to remember when writing a great application essay.

  • Start with a catchy hook. Remember, you only have the first few sentences to capture the reader’s attention – don’t do that, and you’ll risk the admission’s officer throwing your essay out. Use a startling detail, catchy quote, probing question or intriguing story to jumpstart your essay. Remember, though, that this beginning must have some relevance to the meat of your essay.
  • Talk about the college before yourself. You want to identify how the college could benefit from your attendance; however, you should focus on the college in doing so. Remember, an application essay is basically you trying to sell yourself to the college, and the best way to do that is to be knowledgeable.
  • Be honest and evaluative of yourself. Do you have some character flaws? Some great strengths? By honest and up front about all of them. Colleges love students that understand their own values, strengths and goals.
  • Edit, proof, and revise. This is the best technique to creating a truly good, solid, well-organized essay – reviewing and revising. When you complete this step, you save yourself the embarrassment of tiny mistakes and inconsistencies that would otherwise cause the admission officer to toss it aside.