Sunday, September 27, 2015

Writing your Admissions Essay

For those of you who have yet to write your admissions essay, you are in luck! Tonight I am sharing with you my tips for writing a great admissions essay and sharing my experience with writing my undergraduate and graduate admissions essay!

  • Picking your Topic -  The Common App has published their 2015-2016 essay prompts for those students who will be applying through the Common Application. (This will most likely be the only way you apply to your colleges. Some schools still have their own applications, but this universal application makes it easier on you!) If you click on this you can find the essay prompts that you can write about! When you pick your topic, choose something that you can write about, something that makes you excited but that you can easily articulate why it excites you. **If you can't put into words why babysitting your sister while your mom was going back to school helped you transition from a child to an adult, then don't choose that as a topic. Write about something that you can easily discuss and get your point across. 

Pick a topic that you are excited about and can easily discuss!
  • What to Cover - This essays tells a story about your life; about what's important to you. This gives the admissions committee a glimpse into your life that they can't see from your transcripts and resume. Because of this, it is important to portray the best, authentic version of yourself, but don't lie or over-exaggerate to prove a point. You may also want to consider explaining in terms of the writing prompt how your experience will help you in college. Most importantly, make it interesting and fun to read for the committee ... after all they have thousands of essays to read!

Don't be like Brick Tamland! 
Pick your essay topic and let the spirit move you!
  • Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!! - I cannot emphasize enough about how important and necessary it is to read, reread, and re-reread your essay! Check for spelling and grammar errors. Check for weird sentences that just don't sound right. A great way to check your essay is to read it out loud to a parent, sibling, or a close friend; someone who is going to be honest but supportive. You may also consider having a mentor look over it to get their advice on it. Your essay should be well-written and representative of the type of work that you will produce in college. If you want to produce A+ work in college, then take the time to look it over, proofread, and make sure your essay is as perfect as it will get!
For my undergraduate admissions essay, I wrote about my community service hours at a local arts festival. I knew I wouldn't be able to articulate why my dad is my hero, nor could I explain how important dance was to me; so I chose a topic I was passionate about but could still discuss. I wrote it creatively like a narrative, but also with the intention that I planned to continue my volunteerism into college. (Sidenote: in my acceptance packet, the Director of Admissions at my alma mater added a hand-written note about how my experiences at the art festival would fit well with the Community Service and Internship requirements at the college.)  

For my graduate admissions essay, I discussed how important door tags were to my experience in college and in why I chose to pursue a Master's degree in Higher Education. (Door tags are things with your name that RAs put on your college room door.) I basically just analyzed how important they are for creating a community atmosphere in a residence hall, but it was also through my experience as an RA that I chose to pursue a career in Student Affairs at the college level. I individualized the essays for each university I applied to, while discussing their Mission and Values. I worked for a month to perfect it and had it read over by Career Advisers on campus, my mentor, and my boyfriend to ensure that it was the best it could be!

These are the door tags I made for my
last Winter term as an RA!!
No matter what, make your essay something you are proud of and excited to share with others. This is the first ticket to your future in college, so make sure it is a First Class with air conditioning and free WiFi ticket!

enjoy the chase,

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