College-bound Students Stress about Application Essay

Share Article

Experts share tips for reducing anxiety and making your application essay tell your unique story.

News Image
The most important thing students can do to reduce application essay anxiety is to simply start writing

Nearly half of college-bound students feel that writing the application essay is the most stressful part of the college admission process, according to a recent online poll conducted by Peterson’s, a leading education content provider in the United States. Almost 47 percent of respondents indicated that when it comes to anxiety, the essay beats taking standardized tests, filling out applications, getting recommendation letters, and attending admission interviews.

“The most important thing students can do to reduce application essay anxiety is to simply start writing,” said Stephen Clemente, President of Peterson’s. “The admission essay is a student’s chance to shine, so they should think about the topic carefully, discuss it with people they trust, start writing, and get expert help.”

There is no question college-bound students have a lot to think about when they apply to college. In addition to doing research about majors, application procedures, and financial aid, students also have to set aside time to write that all-important admission essay that will help them stand out from the crowd of other applicants with similar credentials.

A recent survey conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) reveals that 28 percent of colleges attributed “considerable importance” to the college essay, which is a 100 percent increase since 1993. According to the results of the NACAC Admission Trend Survey, the essay is now more important than class rank in the admissions decision making process.

“Peterson’s EssayEdge editors have worked with thousands of students to help them demonstrate to the admission committee their unique qualities,” said Clemente. “By providing expert guidance throughout the writing process, our editors can help brainstorm ideas for the main topic and suggest ways to make the admission essay more individualized compelling.”

Colleges are looking for an honest representation of who the student is and what she or he thinks. Make sure that the tone of the essay reflects enthusiasm, maturity, creativity, the ability to communicate, talent, and leadership skills.

Here are some tips from the experts to help college-bound students write a successful college application essay:

  •     Find an essay topic that reveals something unique about you.
  •     Use your essay as an opportunity to wonder about life and to pose thoughtful questions.
  •     Convey a positive message.
  •     Be sure to treat any potentially sensitive subject gingerly and always use a respectful tone.
  •     Strive for depth, not breadth.
  •     Write about what you know and have observed or experienced firsthand.
  •     Write about something you feel strongly about.
  •     Write about other people, as well as about yourself.
  •     Experiment with style, but avoid too much imagery.

For sample college application essays and more helpful advice on the college planning process, visit

About Peterson’s, a Nelnet company
Peterson’s Nelnet, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nelnet Inc, is a leading provider of education content solutions in print and online for students, families, schools, and educators in the areas of test preparation, admissions, and financial aid.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Krisztina Vida
609.896.1800 +53146
Email >
Visit website