Brainstorm. It is easy to leave out this part of writing when you are doing a simple essay for a high school class, but trust me, when you are writing for college admissions; you want to make sure you are thinking out your topic fully. Make sure you map out what you are going to do for your essay. This is one of the most important tips on writing a good college essay.
Pre-write. Ah, the dreaded rough draft. Why is this important? Well it is all a part of the editing process. These are not tricks you learned in English class for nothing. Remember that favorite novel you read last year? Well that was probably at least the fifteenth version. So write out your college essay, and then expect to rewrite it. I can almost guarantee you will not be as thrilled with your first try as you are with subsequent versions.
Cut! It is so important to go through your essay with a fine-tooth comb. Cut out filler words such as “that” and “be” and your essay will have a much smoother feel. Once you have cut out all of the unnecessary “junk,” you can go back and add in extra points that you would have had to leave out otherwise due to word count. I always over-write my essays, that is, add in a lot more words than I will really need. Then I can do some great sentence-slashing when it’s time to cut.
Read, read, and then read again. What sounds good to you the first time will not sound the same the second time, or the third, or the fourth. I find it best to step away from my writing for several hours and go do another activity to get my brain totally shifted away from what I am writing. Then when I return, I can look at the text with a new pair of eyes. This is a cure-all for writer’s block, or if you are feeling lazy when you are editing and skimming over words.
It is never too late to start over. It is better to have a great essay than a mediocre one. It can be hard to let go of something you have spent a lot of time in, but if the overall objective is to get in the school of your dreams, then you should feel okay if you have to scrap what you have written to get a better outcome if you start over.
All essays are different. There are many tips on writing a good college essay, but these tips will leave you with the most polished essay in town.