A Guideline to Writing Successful College Entrance Essays

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The academic world grows increasingly competitive each year, as a rising number of college applicants vie for a limited number of spots in the nation's top colleges. As a result, the likelihood of an applicant making it into his or her first choice of college has dramatically fallen. According to recent statistics, an estimated fifty percent of college applicants will be rejected by their first choice school this year.

Those are not promising odds.

However, there are ways to improve the chances of gaining acceptance into one's college of choice. One of the most effective ways of accomplishing this is by [writing a college entrance essay].

A well-written college entrance essay will not only allow you to demonstrate your overall grammar and writing skills, it will also enable you to distinguish yourself as more than just another among the avalanche of application packages that admissions officers find themselves buried under each year. The college entrance essay is often the deciding factor when considering between two applicants that have similar SAT and GPA scores. Obviously, writing an excellent college entrance essay is of the utmost importance.

Because the entrance essay is such an important part of the application package, the following four guidelines for essay writing have been provided. By adhering to the tips within these guidelines, you can be sure that the entrance essay you write will be a benefit to you during the evaluation process.

Choose an Essay Topic That Is Personal

Selecting a topic that is personal is a very important factor in the overall effectiveness of the entrance essay. This is because the entrance essay is the portion of the application package that allows the admissions board to learn about you as a person. SAT scores and grade point averages are just numbers -- they do not help members of the board understand your personality. Choose a topic that will allow members of the admission board to learn about who you are and see why you should be selected as part of the incoming freshman class.

Make Sure the Essay Topic Is Focused

Most colleges place a word or page limit on the length of the entrance or admission essay. This is necessary because members of the admissions board must review such a large number of application packages - sometimes up to a hundred a day - and many applicants would undoubtedly submit entrance essays that look more like copies of War and Peace. Because you are given a limited amount of space to work with, choosing a narrowed, focused topic will allow you to thoroughly explore the topic, rather than just touching the main points of a wider topic.

The Essay Topic, and the Way You Write about It, Should Be Interesting

This should go without saying, but unfortunately many essay writers seem to ignore this very important guideline. If the entrance essay is boring, the admissions board member that reads it is less likely to pay close attention to the details. Remember, the people who read your college entrance essay are only human. After reading a hundred essays each day they are going to be pretty jaded. Make sure that your topic, and writing style, is interesting enough to grab their attention.

Show, Don't Tell, Whenever Possible in Your College Entrance Essay

This is one of the biggest rules in writing and storytelling, and it applies to college entrance essays as well. When writing, it is much more effective to show your reader the idea you are trying to convey, rather than simply telling them. By showing the idea, the reader is drawn into the story, rather than simply having the story told to him or her. For example, let's assume that in your essay you want to discuss your loving relationship with your grandmother. Compare the two following methods of describing that loving relationship.

Telling:

I loved my grandmother very much. She was my favorite relative, and I was hers. We spent many happy times together. I was very sad when she died.

Showing:

There was nothing I looked forward to more than going to my grandmother's house each weekend. We would sit for hours together on the porch swing and she would read me stories, then we would bake sugar cookies and brownies together. At night I would lay my head in her lap and she would pet my head until I fell asleep. When I found out she was gone something died inside me as well.

If you are a high-school student, you may check the High-School Entrance Essay Writing Tips.

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