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I understand if you are reading this, you want colleges to beg you to come to their school. These steps can help you stand out from the competition. Imagine a group of professors, staff members or student assistants sitting in a dimly lit room with stacks of entrance essays looming above them. They have read it all.
This scene is an echo of every writing assignment, every author’s plight, every submission to an editor. How to make the cut, the sale, the publication—that is the question. In all forms of journalism, even letter writing defining your audience and hooking them to engage in your cause is first and foremost.
Like a letter home to your parents asking for more money, an outstanding college application essay needs to:
• Be engaging at the start (hook reader)
• Which means you need to know your reader
• Reveal something unique about who you are
• Get personal
• Connect with your reader
• Show your grit (raw determination)
• Express how you think and what you value
• Have a sharp focus
• Be memorable
Always avoid one of the killer essay pitfalls: listing accomplishments and activities.
Five tips for writing your own college application essay:
1. Share a personal life story similar to those in the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies or my book, Cruisin’ Thru Life ~ Dip Street and Other Miracles. If you include a personal story in your essay, you can showcase your personality traits and your core values. In a letter to your parents, you can show them the reasons for needing more money.
• You can engage your essay audience in the beginning by using an anecdote.
• Your essay is personalized when you include a real-life story full of emotions.
2. Include a story with a problem: To ensure your essay will be engaging, memorable and will define who you are: Explain what you learned from the experience. If you include a few personal narratives in your essay, you reveal how you think, reason and what you value. Then when you analyze what you learned in the process, you reveal your ability to learn and grow, think, reflect, and question all of life’s experiences.
• Show your ability to problem solve
• Learn from your mistakes
• Seize the day
• Face life with determination
• Be creative
• Show your grit
3. The third tip in writing your essay requires that you take a life lesson beyond how it affected you. By slipping in other lessons you reveal more depth of your personality and life experience. Choose stories that show:
• Critically and reflective thinking.
• How you intend to use what you learned in your future goals and dreams
• Sorties that present yourself as someone who is forward-thinking, ambitious and caring.
4. Weave in other examples where you learned and changed your life for the good.
Choose stories that show different character traits
5. Express how you plan to use what you learned in your future life.
Add stories that show what you learned and expand on how this will help in the future.
While practicing the craft of writing a college application essay for the school of your dreams, write and submit stories to www.ChickenSoup.com. They might pay you $200 for tomorrows assignment.
Erase all the crude things you’ve posted on social media and add some of your stories to your sites. You’ll be amazed at how friends and family will share their stories and this will trigger your memory of small events that will enhance your essay.
If nothing else, this personal narrative form of writing is an excellent method to use to ask your parents for more money next year.