5 Things to Consider Before Submitting Your College Admissions Essay


It’s that time of year. College application deadlines are here, and despite months (and years) of preparation, many students tend to wait for those deadline dates to really get down to the hard work of writing, revising, and editing their college admissions essays. During the busy fall months of senior year, it almost seems unfair that students have to plan ahead for the next four years of their life. College Ready aims to help students with the things they need to prepare for applying to college—including their essays. If you’ve gotten this far in the application process, and you’re ready to submit your essay, read on to learn 5 things to consider before submitting your essay.


Do you sound like you?

Authenticity is something so desirable in the world of college admissions. Admissions committees—and truly, colleges—don’t want a fake version of you. When you read your essay aloud, it should sound like your voice—not like some person that you want colleges to see. Tell a story, reflect on lessons you’ve learned, and don’t let someone else write your story for you. At College Ready, our essay editor works with students to draw out their natural, authentic voice in writing. We aim to get students to really represent their character, voice, and values in about 650 words worth of writing. College admissions essays are different than a typical English class essay. They’re a chance to show your reader who you are. Make sure you’re representing yourself well.


Have you proofread your essay?

While these essays can be more casual and conversational than a literary analysis or a lab report, you will want to spend some time going over things like grammar and punctuation. It’s okay to be creative in your admissions essays; you can add dialogue and jokes. You can even write sentence fragments or exclamations if they work well with your whole essay. However, doing a thorough proofread of your final draft is essential to show that you’ve taken extra care to submit your best work to the admissions committee.


Has anyone else read your essay?

Writing can be such a private thing—especially for teenagers. These college admissions essays ask a lot of you—to share your identity, to talk about a challenge you’ve faced, or to write brilliantly about any topic of your choice. Sometimes, after pouring their heart out on paper, students worry about critiques and commentary from others. Your college admissions essay is an important piece of writing, and having another set of eyes read your essay—or another set of ears listen to your essay—can be quite helpful. Whether it’s a trusted teacher, parent, friend, or editor, running your essay by another reader might help you think of details or edits you want to make to your final draft. Be sure not to let someone else put their thoughts and preferences into your paper; work with someone who can trust.


Is it memorable?

Think for a second about what college admissions committees are doing this time of year. While you are getting all the materials, data, and paperwork together for your college applications, they’re gathering to read, review, and discuss the applications from hundreds—even thousands—of students from all over the United States and even from international students. How will you set yourself apart from so many other students? Your essay is one way to do that. At College Ready, we believe that even as a senior in high school, you have some amazing stories to tell. The thing is—you need to make your story memorable enough to stand out. Sometimes the most outstanding stories can be about the simplest things: watering plants, delivering pizzas, learning a song in choir, getting ready for sports practice each day, eating dinner with family, or just thinking about life. The details of your story that showcase your personality and teach something special about you can help to make your essay one that admissions readers remember.


Consider: Why am I telling this story?

Often when going over a draft of a student’s essay at College Ready, we put ourselves in the shoes of a college admissions reader. We ask ourselves: what did I just learn about this student from reading this essay? Admissions readers may consider other things like: Would this student’s qualities prove to be a good addition to our campus? Many students like to write about sports prowess or service projects, but no matter what you’re writing about, you need to consider what you’re telling your readers about yourself through your story and why.  In writing we talk a lot about showing and not telling in order to express depth and meaning. Show the things that you stand for and the things you care about in your writing.


Do you need help with your college essay?

Connect with College Ready to schedule an essay session or to work with a college consultant through the application process. Reach out to College Ready for a free discovery call, or visit our website to learn more.

For those who seek a deeper dive into college admissions counseling, booking a call with Shellee Howard is the first step towards a transformative college admissions experience.

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