Writing College Essays Yourself

There is no one-size-fits-all piece of advice for college essays, other than—wait for it—be yourself. But we also know that sometimes, that’s easier said than done.College essays, whether they’re personal statements for the Common App or supplemental essays for individual colleges, are very different from the essays students typically write for school.

Take a few moments to consider what else you may contribute.

At this point, you’ve come up with more ideas than you can possibly fit into one essay.

You don’t need to elaborate at length; a sentence or two should be enough to ensure that the admissions board pays attention to you.

Remember that you are more than just an international student from an interesting background; you are a complete person with a lifetime of experiences.

You should take some time to think about what else makes you different from most the other hundreds of students writing college admissions essays.

Add those features (plays piano, excellent at football, speak five languages) to your growing list of essay goals.As an international student, you offer other students an opportunity for cultural diversity.As with Tip #3, it is not enough to assume the college admissions board will recognize this benefit. Again, a sentence or two should be enough to accomplish this goal.The concept is to present a few ideas very well, rather than list all your ideas poorly.A narrowly focused essay will be much more effective than a general, vague one.The key to convincing the admissions officers is in understanding what they are looking for.They want students who will: In your college admissions essay, you want to portray yourself as a student who will meet those needs.Again, remember that you are more than just an international student.You have so much more to contribute to the campus social and learning environment than just your home culture.Now you need to focus your goals to only three or four ideas – the ones that will make you the most attractive to the college admissions board.No matter what the prompt asks, you want to ensure you include those three or four ideas in your college admissions essay.

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