Get the Edge on Your Personal Essay

Oct 6, 2022

The college application process is a challenging time for seniors. Out of thousands of people, your personal essay is what helps you stand out in the crowd. So, how do you stand out? These are three tips that helped me during the writing process that helped me get into the colleges I applied to:

1. Passion and Ingenuity

The one thing you want to show through is your passion for what you write about. Expressive words and painting pictures in the minds of the admissions team help them see where you are at that moment or how you feel about your topic. Showing your genuine self through your essay can go a long way toward seeing if the school will be the right fit for you for the admissions team.

2. Storytelling and Punchlines

Personal essay writing is very similar to telling a story or joke. It starts with the setting, goes into the plot's interesting parts and ends with reflection. Showing how you have changed or have been impacted by your topic allows you to explain how you want to continue pursuing or using that knowledge/experience in the future. For example, I talked about my experience selling barberries, a fruit I knew nothing about. I described certain parts of my shift and what I saw. Later, I explained how I learned I was similar to the way the fruit grows. Finally, I explained that this connection and my experience allowed me to appreciate my support groups and the little things in life, as well as show the admissions teams who I am as a person holistically. Use this technique to set up your essay so that it’s engaging and conveys a meaningful message.

3. Check, Check and Check Again

One of the worst things you could do in your personal essay is to forget to check for grammatical or spelling errors. Thanks to technology, these are easy fixes, but you should always read your essay out loud as it may sound different than in your mind. If you write supplementals using multiple university names, always check that you’re inserting the correct university. Leaving the wrong name can leave a bad impression on the admissions team reading your essay. In the end, double-checking never hurts.

Although this time of the school year can be stressful for seniors, know that you’ve worked incredibly hard and that the right path will soon follow. Keep pushing!


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