Picture this before you plop yourself down in front of your computer to compose your college application essay: A winter-lit room is crammed with admissions professionals and harried faculty members who sit around a big table covered with files.
These exhausted folks, hopped up from eating too many cookies and brownies, have been sitting in committee meetings for days after spending a couple of months reading applications, most of which look pretty similar: baseball = life, or debate = life, or “I went to a developing country and discovered poor people can be happy.”They wade through long lists of candidates, state by state, region by region. But occasionally one will make an admissions officer tear down the hallway to find a colleague to whom she can say, “You have to read what this Math Olympiad girl said about ‘Hamlet.’ ” Your goal is to write an essay that makes someone fall in love with you.
The best applications and the weakest don’t come to committee. Once you commit the time and emotional energy to get your butt in the chair to write, you face a daunting task — figuring out what to write about. With so much freedom, this is a challenge for most students.
(A few more: Don't write about mom and dad's divorce, and no general philosophizing—you're 17, get over yourself.) Admissions season is under way, and with early applications deadlines starting November 1, you've only got a few more days to polish your make-or-break essay.
Straight As and stellar SAT scores won't be enough.
Bigger than me.”LEAVE WEBSTER’S OUT OF IT Unless you’re using a word like “prink” (primp) or “demotic” (popular) or “couloir” (deep gorge), you can assume your reader knows the definition of the words you’ve written. .”THE EPIGRAPH Many essays start with a quote from another writer.
Can You Write A Poem For The College Application Essay
You’re better off not starting your essay with “According to Webster’s Dictionary . When you have a limited amount of space, you don’t want to give precious real estate to someone else’s words. When writing about past events, the present tense doesn’t allow for reflection. This happens, then this happens, then this happens.
But once you start adding exclamation points, you’re wading into troubled waters. ACTIVE BODY PARTS One way to make your reader giggle is to give body parts their own agency.
When you write a line like “His hands threw up,” the reader might get a visual image of hands barfing. CLICHÉS THINK YOUR THOUGHTS FOR YOU Here’s one: There is nothing new under the sun. George Orwell’s advice: “Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.”TO BE OR NOT TO BE Get rid of “to be” verbs.
"To be honest," says Ponnusamy, "if you're thinking about the most selective of schools in the country and the most interesting thing in your life is your parents' divorce, you're not going to get in anyway.”But even if your life hasn't been filled with experiences worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster, you can salvage an essay about a ho-hum subject by having a novelist's eye for detail.
For Greg Roberts, the admissions dean at University of Virginia, one of the most memorable essays he read was about a single at-bat in a high-school baseball game.