Harper College

Essay Writing Tips

Many colleges and universities require you to submit an essay with your application. The topic of this essay is usually the reason(s) you want to attend that particular college. Some colleges give two choices and ask what you hope to accomplish in your life as the additional topic. Other colleges require an in-person interview so they can learn about you first-hand.

Experts advise students to follow the tips below to create a good essay for a college application:

Make yourself shine

This is an opportunity to show the admissions committee what makes you special and interesting. Schools are interested in seeing your unique perspective, strong writing skills, and authentic voice.

Keep the topic specific

Many colleges ask applicants to describe themselves, an experience that influenced their life or to explain a special interest. Often, the essay involves describing an extracurricular activity you have enjoyed. Before you write the essay, come up with a list of several essay topics and key points involved in each one. Then choose the topic about which you feel most strongly.

Outline your essay

List all the items that apply to your essay and then organize them. Start with a statement of purpose, then address the individual items and conclude with a restatement of your essay.

Pay attention to the opening paragraph

Your opening paragraph plays a large role in the success of your essay. There are several approaches you might use including starting with a quotation, a rhetorical question or a short description of the experience you plan to expand upon in the essay.

Review and rewrite

Do not settle for your first effort. Rewrite the essay. Then edit the final draft one more time and be diligent in your proofreading for spelling or grammar errors. When you think it’s perfect, have a teacher review it and give you feedback.

Last Updated: 1/4/24