Austin, TX (PRWEB) October 31, 2012
Halloween night might be a time for spooky celebrations, but high school seniors across the country will experience something even more frightening come November 1st: a wave of early action and early decision deadlines. While many students will still be scrambling to gather college recommendations and fill out application forms, it’s the task of writing the best college essay possible that will daunt most. With so many well-rounded, impressive applicants in the pool all answering similar college essay questions, how can the eager applicant stand out?
Today JustStartApplications.com releases a College Essay Checklist, with those last minute early decision applicants in mind. Applicants who ask themselves these questions will be doing all they can to make the most of this valuable application real estate.
6. Does the essay have a clear topic or theme? A college essay can be about one thing or it can be about many things, just as long as the overall idea is clear and the applicant focuses enough so that they can delve deep into their inner thoughts or experiences.
As an example, let’s take a look at two college applicants who’d like to write an essay about their volunteer experiences. Applicant 1 decides to focus on one Saturday earlier this year when she helped build houses with Habitat for Humanity, taking us through the arc of her inner thoughts, reflections and experiences throughout the day. Applicant 2 decides to pick the theme, “How Volunteering Has Made Me Who I Am,” and discusses three different significant volunteer experiences, tying them all together with key reflections. Both routes are perfectly acceptable, just as long as the main idea is clear.
5. Is there an easy to follow structure that organizes the applicant’s thoughts? While a clear topic will help students organize their thoughts, many will also require a college essay outline to make their thoughts flow smoothly and logically. Whether an applicant chooses a college essay format that’s close in structure to an academic essay with a thesis and 5 paragraphs or something a little more creative, they should make sure there is a clear beginning, middle and end, and that personal growth is evident throughout the essay. Applicants may want to consider doing a reverse outline after the essay is written to make sure it’s flowing in the right way.
4. Is there more showing than telling? Humans are visual creatures. The admissions committee will find an applicant’s story much more compelling if they can see a story come to life on the page, rather than being told what that story is about. Applicants can paint better pictures by using metaphors and similes. descriptive language, dialogue and action-packed scenes to make that story pop off the page.
3. Does the ending have a kernel of truth? No one likes a cliffhanger. College applicants shouldn’t abandon the admissions committee without giving their story a little closure. This is often done best by reflecting on themes, echoing an earlier piece of dialogue, or circling back to the beginning to show how things have changed.
2. Have all essay requirements been met? It may sound obvious, but the most successful college applicants will be those who ensure all the requirements of each college essay question have been met. Applicants should check the word count, make sure the essay fits the question, and confirm the essay has been entered into the system in the correct manner. Adhering to the guidelines is the best way to avoid angering overwhelmed college admissions officers.
1. Have the college applicant’s friends and family read over the essay? The last step before hitting submit is to have trusted family and friends give the essay a read . Since they presumably know the applicant better than anyone else, they’re the best ones to confirm that the essay actually sounds like the applicant and show the applicant in the best light.
With these tips, college applicants are sure to write unique, compelling college essays that will get them into the colleges of their choice.
Founded in 2009, the mission of [JustStartApplications.com is to help students applying to college, graduate, medical and law school tell the kind of authentic, compelling stories that will get them into the programs of their choice. Headquartered in Austin, TX, Just Start Applications operates entirely online through Skype and Google Docs, providing access to expert writers and admissions coaches to anyone in the world at the click of a button.