So, even though you found a great school that makes application essays optional, you’ve still decided that you want to put effort into writing something great.

Don’t panic.

You possess the skills and talent to write your essay and get into some stellar universities. Use these tips and recommendations to make sure that you include all of the necessary elements of an exceptional essay.

What Makes You Stand Out?

There’s only one person that knows what makes you, you.

Only you know what makes you’re most passionate about, what you want your future to look like and what really makes you happy. By making a list of the special characteristics that make up your personality and the type of student you are, you’ll be able to write about yourself much more easily.

Still not working? Think about yourself as a very unique equation. 1+1+1=3, but what would you look like if you did the math? Maybe you = tutoring + public speaking + field hockey.
Or maybe you = student council + travel + volunteering + band.

Whether you make a list or think of yourself as an equation of characteristics, brainstorming what makes you stand out will help out big time. Keep your list for times when you experience writer’s block or need a some help elaborating.

Outline, outline, outline.

The best way to make sure that you don’t leave anything out of your essay is to include it from the very beginning. Break essay prompts into sections and fill in the blanks with your own words and details. You can begin by creating headers, sub-headers and bulleted lists, or any other format that you like to use for organization.

Insert creativity (here).

Time to put your spin on things. Think about a creative or intriguing angle that you can place on your essay. Some students are great at writing show-stopping summaries. Others can write their entire essay from a fresh and funny perspective. It’s all about making your essay unique, memorable, and relevant to the essay topic. Anecdotes work too! Remember There’s no one way to add creative flair. Just ask yourself, “What would make my essay unforgettable?”

Focus and Honesty

You’ll excel at our last tip by being yourself and concentrating on your application essays. Keep focus and honesty in the forefront, and your genuine talent and personality will shine through.

Make sure that you’re not embellishing your achievements or your experiences just for the application’s sake. While wild stories and tall tales are entertaining, you don’t have to make something up to impress an admissions committee. Whether you are from a big city or a small town, know that what you have achieved so far is enough, and that you don’t have to make anything up.

Remember that your admissions committee has a lot of applications to look through so make sure that you pay attention to word counts, and submit an essay that’s concise and focused on the qualities you want to highlight about yourself.

There are some great online resources if you need more help. Check out what other students have said about their application writing process by visiting College Board’s BigFuture or this list of tips about the essay construction process. Let us know if you found our information helpful! We want to make sure that we’re providing you with the best information so that you can confidently write your college application essays.

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