So listing your amazing achievements such as writing for the school newspaper or selling a lot of homemade cookies is not the way to go. Sure, talk about your achievements – the good ones, but throw in some evidence that you have an original thought about something and your chances will skyrocket.
You wil also want to avoid some common pitfalls.
Don’t start late
Writing a good essay is all about drafting. I know it sounds tedious but there really is no way around that. An essay, like a person, matures over time and does not react so well to being forced to do stuff. Give yourself 3-4 months.
Don’t begin with the end in mind
If you have an idea in your head of the perfect admissions essay and try and get your efforts to fit that… you’re gunna have a bad time. It’s best to start by writing out everything you want to say as unselfconsciously as possible. Then pick the bits you want and work from there. Let your essay evolve and move in unexpected directions.
Think about your reader
When you get into drafting you need to think about your reader. In this case it will probably be a middle-aged admissions tutor who has read hundreds of these essays and is probably pretty bored by the time they get round to yours. So using slang is just going to annoy them. At the same time writing pretentious yet erudite expositions is going to annoy them to. Write as simply, clearly and effectively as you can.
Mention the program
Be specific – what interests you about it? Do you have any original thoughts about it? You can even relate events in your life to your reasons for wanting to do the course. But don’t get too into sob stories about how your dog died – this isn’t America’s Got Talent.
Don’t mention politics and religion
Steer clear of controversial topics. You don’t know what opinions your reader is going to have. But the point of writing and essays is to provoke a reaction and change people’s thoughts I hear you say. True, but unfortunately this reader is going decide whether you’re right for college or not so it’s best not to piss them off.