How To Write Admission Essays That Guarantee Success
Although many will tell you differently, it is not that easy to write admission essays. This is true for both college application essays and AMCAS essays. Writing is not about the topic. For instance, an essay that talks about a winter vacation can be incredible and will leave the reader with joy tears in his eyes. As wise men say, what is important is how you say something and not necessarily what is said.
We will consider writing an essay about Michael Jordan and say that he was a person that highly influenced your personality. Should the essay describe his childhood and then go through all important moments in his career, much like a documentary?
Step One – Whenever writing admissions essays you have to capture initial attention and this is the main point of consideration.
It is quite tough to catch the attention of the admissions essay officer but you do not need Shakespearian talent to achieve that. However, you will need to have a unique approach. A typical introduction might be like:
“Michael Jordan was born in X and ever since he was born, it was clear that he was destined for something great. He rose from poverty and became one of the best known basketball players that ever grazed the field. “
We should understand that this is not a bad introduction but it is boring. It is a guarantee that such an introduction would not gather the attention of the reader.
An alternative college admission essay introduction:
“Once upon a time in X there was a boy that read a book. He did that every single day and kept reading book after book until one day in March. “
Can you now guess what the topic of this essay is after these two sentences? If you do not have a clue, it is a very good point. Writing college admission essay is not about spelling out things directly. There is no executive summary necessary or the need to maintain topic sentence. That is what you are taught in school and you do that for term and research papers. The college admission essays are different. You have to offer something unique and interesting. Only when you satisfy this need you can say that you satisfied the most important condition when learning how to write admission essays.
How do you maintain the attention of the reader once you got it?
Step Two – Logical and consistent flow maintains the concentration of the reader.
Most people do not understand what consistent flow means. This does not relate only to going from one paragraph to the next. It is also about from one sentence to the next and from one idea to the next idea. Every single word and every idea has to be a part of the whole, an interconnected word stream that will take your reader easily from the initial to the final point. Transitions stand out as the most effective and easiest way to make the application essay feel even. Let us consider an example of poor use of flow:
“The athlete always wanted to entertain the crowd and did many things to make sure that happened. He is widely known for achieving the longest slam dunk. He was established as a star. “
We are basically faced with 3 ideas and they are not actually connected to one another. This is a paragraph that has improper flow and your reader will lose interest. An example of logical and consistent flow:
“The athlete always wanted to entertain the crowd and did many things to make sure that happened. For instance, although not always necessary, he tried his legendary long slam dunk whenever it was possible. It was small things like this that made him a star. “
We are still faced with 3 distinct ideas but transitional devices were used to connect them. Readability is thus increased and there is a much higher chance that an admission officer will keep reading until the end.
When the admissions officer is close to the end, there is just one task that remains – creating a conclusion that leaves a lasting impression. If nobody will remember your essay, it is not good!
Step Three – College admission essays and AMCAS essays are similar as they both have to leave a strong lasting impression that cannot be shaken with ease.
How can you leave an emotional fingerprint in the mind of the reader?
In order to make sure that there is a mark, a connection has to be achieved. You will not do that because you saved people in an area or you won a Nobel prize. Only something that is highly important for you can stand out as highly significant for a reader. Let us take a technical example to better highlight this fact:
“There are various stages that followed. The testing process highlighted the fact that Trojans were not able to breach the newly created firewall and John managed to make me realize that the coding for the software had a small problem in it. There was no longer a need to have a secondary firewall deployment and AJAX open source became an option that is now accessible to everyone.”
This is a sample from an essay with the title “My Winter Vacation”. It was obvious that the candidate managed to learn a lot and actually created something interesting.
Now that you know basic strategies for writing college admission essay and you can start writing, let us think about 4 hazards that are common and have to be avoided.
Step Four – Avoiding Common College Admission Essay Traps
- The Pitfall Of Plato
The Greek philosophers that lived in ancient times talk about civil piety and an ideal republic. Nowadays we should never philosophize in our essays. There are so many essays that start in a similar way to this:
“Ever since complex society appeared, men have struggled because they wanted to incorporate a religious theme in a cultural bound.”
There is nothing necessarily wrong with such an opening but you do not write a term paper or a research paper. The admissions officers want to learn things about you and philosophizing about something complex should be left for a college class, not for a college admission essay.
- Thesaurus Attack
You can nowadays find a Thesaurus on any modern machine and it can be used to replace words with alternatives. The problem is that when it is overused, it will interrupt the consistent flow that we talked about above. Here is an example:
“That simplified linguistic statement resulted in a highly calamitous affection of my phalanges.”
Most people will have no idea what that means or what the writer tries to say. Let us consider this:
“The hypothetical remark made that person break my fingers.”
In this case it is quite obvious what the writer meant and the help of the thesaurus is minimum although highly more effective than word-processing overused features.
- Being Well Rounded
A student usually learns how to write admission essays in order to offer what he has best. Unfortunately, the student tries condensing some awards, attributes or extracurricular activities into a masterpiece. An admission essay is not to be viewed as a CV. It is just a unique opportunity for an applicant to highlight a couple of things about his/her personality. If you try to put 15 accomplishments in one page, you will end up with something that is nearly impossible.
- The Use Of Cliches
The best admissions essay writers will be profound but will not use statements like:
- “Do this for your team!
- Money was always the root of evil!
- Money can’t buy happiness!”
These statements are clichés and were used many times in the past. The admissions officer saw that many different times and they will not be impressed. It is important to come up with a unique perspective or a different idea. It is definitely challenging but that is what will automatically separate the average applicant from the exceptional applicant.