How to Make Your College Essay Stand Out? Strategies
Here are five suggestions for creating application essays that will make you stand out from other applicants.
Your application essay, or personal statement, which is exactly that: your invitation to let your personality shine, is your best chance to go beyond the letters and numbers on your high school transcript.
A strong essay that humanizes the applicant can help that student stand out from the crowd when admissions officers compare applicants with comparable test scores and extracurricular involvement. Take these professional tips into account to make your college essay stand out.
Choose a Thoughtful Title
Although a title is not typically required for college essays, it can be a useful tool to help your essay stand out right away.
Benjamin Caldarelli, the co-founder of Princeton College Consulting, advises including a title. He claims that a strong, straightforward title is ideal, though a well-selected cultural allusion might have a positive effect.
“Using a variation on the title of a well-known book or movie is an example,” he says. A winning title he saw recently was “Indian Middle Class with Awareness.” It was a play on the popular book-turned-movie Crazy Rich Asians.
Your First Paragraph Should Grab the Reader
Readers of college admission essays need to be drawn in. The college essay’s introduction must therefore grab the reader’s attention and compel them to read further.
Further Reading: How Many Paragraphs Should a College Essay Be?
There are various strategies for drawing readers in.
- To begin, try posing a query.
- Start with a strong declaration.
- cite a thought-provoking passage.
- Put the reader in media res—the center of the action. Put the reader in the midst of a scene or a conversation that is happening.
- Speak directly to the reader to engage them.
- Inform the reader of your writing goals and what you DO NOT want to do.
- The reader may be piqued and continue reading even if there is just one word in the sentence.
Start With You, Not the Essay Prompt
Self-promotional writing is challenging. It can be agonizing to write about yourself in a high-stakes application.
Quite a few of us would rather write about anything besides ourselves. Because of this, a lot of college essays feature stories about role models like Elon Musk, teachers, or grandparents. The problem with these essays is that none of these individuals are the subject of the essay.
Your options are already limited if you begin writing your college essay under the impression that you must respond to a prompt. Your interpretation of the prompt will be governed by fictitious rules, and you’ll then doubt even your most creative suggestions.
Instead of writing for yourself, you’ll write for your readership. And one of the worst traps you can fall into is this one.
Because of this, you should repress the urge to look at prompts, read examples, or take templates when coming up with ideas for your college essay.
Keep your attention solely on you. In your spare time, what do you enjoy doing the most? Which actions annoy you? What minor error do you still remember? What about yourself do you find difficult to comprehend or accept?
To get to the core of your personal story, you have to become comfortable making everything about you. There are a plethora of other questions that can guide your reflection in the right direction in addition to the ones mentioned here. And having a conversation is the most efficient way to address such queries.
Make plans to talk to a close friend or family member about them instead of coming up with and answering difficult personal questions yourself. This should be a long-time confidante who you can trust, but it shouldn’t be someone like your parent or sibling who might bring too much emotional baggage to the conversation.
It’s best if they are not a peer, but they could be a relative, an aunt or uncle, a coach, a teacher, a mentor, or a college counselor.
Don’t Be Boring
It can be tiresome to try to be proper, to impress, or to be intelligent. Making yourself stand out from the crowd is what you should be doing. It’s as though you’re out on a date with the admissions reader and would like to go out again.
Being intelligent, funny, nice, caring, unique, and anything but boring would be desirable qualities for someone on a date. Additionally, you want to voice your opinion rather than remain silent like an uninformed nerd. If you want to be a great second date, write your essay as if you are.
Make Your Essay Correct and Beautiful
Dates should also present well. By carefully considering a few issues, you can make your essay attractive. Choose a readable font. Think about whether using a bold font would make your essay easier to read.
Balance your essay on the page and pay attention to the calm margins rather than cramming it near the top of the page. The opening should include the essay prompt. Consistently separate paragraphs by indenting each one or using a block style that keeps all the words to the left margin but leaves more space between paragraphs.
Your essay won’t look good if there are numerous errors in it. Check your spelling to make sure it’s all right. Verify the accuracy of your basic punctuation.
Edit, Then Edit Again
Take a few days off from writing your essay after you’ve finished. To check for flow, clarity, and logical reasoning, reread it with fresh eyes. Instead of using a formal academic tone, try to write in your own unique style.
Ask a dependable professor, tutor, or counselor to read and edit your work. While you should write your essay in your own style, an editor can assist you in skillfully creating a final draft that is free of spelling and grammar mistakes.
Use Specific Examples
Although it may be tempting to use the essay as a chance to highlight all of your strong points, keep in mind that it shouldn’t read like a resume. Keep your focus narrow and then use compelling examples to support your arguments in order to write a successful college essay.
Tell us about a time you volunteered at a nursing home and spent hours talking with a particular resident instead of just declaring that you have empathy. Describe your emotions and the effect the conversation had on both you and the resident. When an admissions officer reads your essay, those kinds of stories will stand out much more.
Conclusion: Make Your College Essay Stand Out
Making your application stand out in the increasingly competitive college admissions process can seem like a difficult task, but your personal essay may hold the key to making you shine.
Your road map for writing a college essay that stands out in a positive way should be these recommendations. It’s equally crucial that your essay doesn’t stand out for the wrong reasons, such as because of poor grammar, careless typos, divisive or offensive statements, veering off-topic, or exceeding the word limit.