Five College Essay MUSTS

The college essay is your chance to shine! You are more than a GPA, an SAT score or a class ranking. Showcase your personality – tell colleges who you are, beyond the numbers.


1. Include a “Me-Moment

An essay is like a photograph in many ways: the goal is to capture an image that portrays you in the best possible light. Be sure to include detailed, descriptive writing, and to throw in some anecdotes from childhood or recent years. The more personalized the essay, the more it stands out.

2. Keep Your Eye on the Pie

You are not one-dimensional! There are many interesting facets of your personality and your life that should be drawn into essays. If you address sports in one essay, address a different aspect of who you are in another essay. Think of yourself as a pie: each component of the college application is a different “slice” of who you are.

3. Showcase Your Strengths

Have poor math grades? Dropped out of soccer? So what! Don’t feel that you must explain the so-called negatives of your academic career. Rather, focus on your strengths.

4. Be Honest…(to a point)

Remember your audience! It’s one thing to mention that you and mom did not get along throughout eighth grade; it’s another thing to include the curse words you used in an argument. Take “artistic liberty” with your essays; embellish the “goods” and graze over the “bads.” This is not a show-all, tell-all.

5. Write an Essay, Not a Novel

Admissions committees go through thousands of applications. They cannot spend an hour on one and three days on another. Keep your essay between one and two pages. You want colleges to read your essay, not browse it.

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