5 tips to write an amazing college application essay

Welcome to this week’s edition of Tutorfly Tuesdays! Today we’ll be sharing some tips and tricks on how to find a topic for your college application essay, and how to write an essay that will stand out at your dream school’s admissions office. If you’re a junior or even a sophomore in high school, it’s never too early to start thinking about an essay that you’ll be proud to have written. Here are some tips for the hardest part of writing your essay: finding a good topic!

  1. You don’t need to be the coolest person in the world. You don’t have to have singlehandedly saved the Amazon rainforest or won a Pulitzer Prize when you were fourteen. This essay is about showcasing your personality and experiences that have pushed you in the right direction to achieve future success. You could write about something as ordinary as doing household chores, or reading a Shakespeare play in English class. What’s important is how you frame it.
  2. Think about what makes you unique. Imagine you’re telling your entire life story to a stranger: what do you think they would find most interesting? Explore what your topic says about you. You’re trying to tell the reader something personal and revealing about who you are. Admissions officers often look for passion in your essay. It doesn’t have to be passion for college, either — maybe the passion in your essay is for solving Rubik’s cubes, or spending time with your grandfather, or finding a date for Homecoming. These are the moments that make us human, and show people who we really are and what we have the potential to achieve down the road.
  3. Be honest. Don’t try to write an essay that makes you look like a perfect, flawless human being. It’s often more insightful and interesting to read about a person that has made mistakes and has grown stronger as a result. Think about how your mistakes have changed you, what you learned, and the updated perspective they gave you on your endeavors. Our errors and failures shape us into who we are just as much as our successes do.
  4. Put away the thesaurus. Admissions officers will be able to tell if you threw in a bunch of fancy words to try and sound smarter in your essay. What’s more, the essay won’t really be in your “voice” — it won’t sound like you’re the one who wrote it. If you don’t use the word “Sesquipedalian” in daily conversation (hint: it means “using too many long words”) then don’t use it in your essay.
  5. Proofread, proofread, proofread! This is the last place you want to have spelling and grammar mistakes. Revise your essay as many times as you can, and have others read it too. Don’t be afraid to ask your English teacher for extra help!

Tutorfly’s Essay Graders can help you brainstorm content for your essays, improve your structure, and edit your essay drafts! If you’re interested in this service, email us at info@tutorfly.org to learn more. (We only charge $49/hour for college essay services!)