Application Essay: Do’s and Don’tsThursday, June 24th, 2010
Some tips for great application essays
When trying to get admitted into colleges all around the country, you may probably be asked to write an essay as a part of your application. An application essay is a method of evaluation widely used in many universities for selecting their applicants. Most of the times students are requested to write a specific kind of essay, such as a compare and contrast essay (“Studying in your home town or studying abroad?”) or any other essay type. In any case, application essays can be based on personal experience as well as objective information.
Writing application essays can be more difficult than you may think, especially if you are doing it for the first time. So read carefully the following tips before sitting in front of your laptop and starting to work.
– Choose an interesting topic: You are going to spend at least some hours working on your application essay, if not more, and so you should pick a topic that you find interesting. If you get bored while writing your essay, probably the readers will find it boring as well.
– Organize your work: Every essay should be carefully planned in advance. Consider writing an introduction, some body paragraphs and a conclusion. After choosing the topic, sketch in a few lines every part of your essay; this will be extremely helpful when you find yourself in front of the blank page and experience writer’s block. Use titles and subtitles and an index for longer papers, which will provide your work with a very desirable professional look. Remember that your essay must be easily readable, otherwise your examiner will just put it aside and send you a “we regret to inform you” card.
– Expand your sources: In your college admission essays you should include as many texts, documents and testimonies, as you can, in order to show the examiner your commitment to your investigation. Of course, always quote the recommended bibliography, if any.
– Never commit plagiarism: If you copy quotes but “forget” to mention the author, their work, the publisher and the year, as well as the page where you took the quote from, you could be accused of plagiarism.
– Never ignore the requested essay word count: If you are asked to write 1000 words, you may as well write 980, or 1100. But submitting a 2000 word essay would be as wrong as submitting a 200. You should always match the examiner expectations. After all, he or she is the one with the power to welcome you into college… or to refuse your admission for good.
– Never hand in an essay with grammar and spelling errors: These kind of mistakes are quite rare since most admission essays are written directly using a text processor that corrects them automatically. But even the best software can confuse “pane” with “pain” or “practice” with “practiced”. Make sure to proofread your work before handing it in.