Do's And Don'ts For Crafting Your College Essay

Your essay is merely an extension of your personality and your character. Here are the useful and significant 8 do's dos and don'ts for crafting college essay.

Updated by Tanisha Alex on 24th September 2020

Before we get into the tips you should ideally follow for a creative and memorable college essay, we need to clearly outline the purpose behind these essays.

These essays are usually used by hopeful applicants as a way to convince the admissions board to allow their application letters to pass. This is incorrect. Your essay is merely an extension of your personality and your character. It is a tool that the admissions board uses in order to choose the most ideal candidate from the pool of applicants.

In fact, a well-rounded essay would entail your views regarding the prompt or theme that was given as well as a brief synopsis regarding yourself, your life and why exactly you think that this particular university is a good fit for you.

If you find yourself hesitant to send in your college essay, be sure to cross-reference your essay with the tips given in this article.

4 Do's for Crafting a College Essay

There are certain rules that should be followed while crafting your college application essays. The do's and don'ts matter. Following are the top 4 do's you must apply while crafting your college essay:

1. Find a Hook

What exactly is a hook? A hook is an interesting angle that would get the board or whoever has been tasked with reading your essay hooked to its content. This could be in the form of an anecdote or even a joke that would highly appeal to the sensibilities of the board of admissions. By establishing a concrete hook you are ensuring that you are memorable. This increases your chances of admissions exponentially. 

2. Use Rhetoric and Analogies

Yet another way to ensure that your application and your college essay is not rejected is to use relevant analogies and rhetoric. This would mean reducing deviation from the given prompt or topic and providing fresh and creative rhetoric that would make the admissions board hooked to your essay. This would ensure your admission to the university or college of your choice. 

However, be wary of using common or cliche experiences as metaphors for something more global. Topics like sports injury and pet death are so common that deans’ eyes will glaze over the second they see them. Plus, these topics don’t really capture bigger-picture trials and may make you seem unworldly.

While there may be a place to talk about them—for instance, if you had to quit an activity because of a sports injury, you may want to explain in the additional information section—, it’s better to develop a more original topic for your essay.

3. Brainstorm and Compile Ideas

you don’t have to have started your own business to tell an interesting story. Remember: how you say it is more important than what you say. To get started, try some brainstorming exercises. For instance, you might make lists of beliefs, character flaws, personal anecdotes, or whatever else pops into your head.

4. Choose the most Appropriate Forum to Discuss them

Essays are a good forum for discussing obstacles you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them, but if you choose this kind of topic, make sure it helps colleges understand your personality better. However, take care to do it in the right section and in a way that portrays you in the most positive light possible. Overcoming obstacles can certainly be positive, but you don’t want colleges to regard you as a liability.

4 Don’t's for Crafting a College Essay

While it is important to keep in mind the do's, it is also important that you adhere to the don'ts. Following are the top don'ts that you must follow while crafting your college essay:

1. Don't Replicate or Regurgitate your Application and Resume

One of the biggest mistakes every potential applicant makes is simply replicating their academic portfolio or resume onto their college essay. This is not at all what the board of admissions is looking for, because your essay is a glimpse into who you are as a person. Your essay prevents the board from viewing you as a number or a statistic. It has a humanizing effect that is integral to your success in your admissions. 

2. Don't Use Generic and Overused Metaphors

Another way that you unintentionally annoy the admissions board is by using metaphors that are generic and are used by almost everyone. The office that is responsible for the application process likely receives thousands of essays, and as a result reading essays that are one and the same can be incredibly monotonous. In order to avoid being rejected, your essay should be fresh and introduce a perspective that hasn’t been seen yet. 

3. Don’t Assume you Don’t Have Anything Relevant to Say

By assuming your content is irrelevant you are setting yourself up for failure. This would send the wrong message, as it denotes that you are not a confident individual and is not satisfied with their ability to write and create. This lack of creativity can be lethal to your chances of admissions and application.

4. Don’t Shy Away from Personal Experiences or Challenges

This particular point implies that your personal challenges are much more likely to make an impression on the board of admissions as opposed to victories or laurels. If you’ve taken time off or personal issues have impacted your grades and schoolwork, you should explain it in your application. However, take care to do it in the right section and in a way that portrays you in the most positive light possible.

In conclusion, your college essay is one of the most effective and proficient ways to secure a place in the university or college of your choice. And the best way to do so is to make sure your essay in particular meets and exceeds the standards set by the board of admissions. And this can be made possible by following the above tips. 

You might also read: How to showcase strength in your college application essay