- Your Grades
- Your Test Scores
- Your College Recommendations
- Your Extracurriculars
- And of course, your personal essay
But, how do you present yourself the best in your personal essay for the common app? This is the million dollar question. I decided to take the time to lay out the most important tips I can give to juniors about to embark on the most rocky journey of their life and what they should keep in mind when they start to write their essay this summer.
- Start thinking early! Do not wait to look at the prompts of the common app essays, start thinking about it now. You do not have to start writing yet, but the more you think about it, the more your ideas for the essay will be, and the stronger the final product will be.
- Write it yourself!Do not have someone else write it for you. College admission officers can see right through that and even if it is a masterpiece, they will know it is disingenuous. I believe that a good essay written by you looks better than a strong essay written by your parents.
- Run it by your college counselor!When you decide on a question you want to write about and figure out what you will say, send an email to or meet in person with you college counselor so that they may give you the go ahead to begin writing. They are experts in this field, so if they say it's a good idea then it must be. IF they say it is a bad idea, then take their advice to heart and pick something else to write about.
- Do not force it!Your ideas for this essay should be free flowing and come to mind quickly. If it does not, then imeans you are trying to pick the idea that will present yourself best, not what you truly want to write about.
- SHOW them who you ARE, do not TELL them what you HAVE DONE. Make sure that when an admission officer finishes reading your essay, they learn about you and who you are, and not just about an experience that you had. Talking about your inspirational grandma is great, but she is not the one applying to college, you are. Talk instead about the impact she has had on you, and who you have become as a result of knowing her.
- Have others edit your essay!Ask your parents, peers, and academic supervisors to read over and edit your essay once you have a draft written. Do not go into college process thinking that your way of doing things is the best. It can never hurt to get suggestions on how to better your writing.
- Lastly, do not feel discouraged by being told to redo your essay. Sometimes your counselor or a parent might say that your essay is not good enough to be sent in, and even though you worked for hours trying to get it to where it is, you are told to completely redo it. Take this as a positive experience and try to make it even better the next time around so that you can get into any college you want.
I hope these tips were helpful.
GOOD LUCK TO THE JUNIORS AS THEY EMBARK ON THE COLLEGE PROCESS THIS SUMMER!!!!!