How to Write a College Admission Essay: Sample Essay

how to write college admission essay

The college admission essay is one of the most important essays a student will ever write. Don’t suck! Also, being a critical piece of writing for learners joining college, one needs to be more careful and intentional with how they approach the essay. The goal is usually to earn a spot in your preferred institution.

In this article, we will go through all the steps that you could help you achieve you once-in-a-lifetime application essay.

What is a College Admission Essay?

It all depends on the kind of student you are. A student can fall into one of these three categories:

First is the type of student that falls within the 95th percentile in SAT and his or her GPA is 4.0. To top it up, you have an impressive list of activities and proven leadership records. In this case, college admission essay might be a little less important for you. The college you are about to join may have already decided that they will admit you. All you can do is to bring out your personality in the essay. You can stop reading this article at this point.

importance of college admission essay

But we also have the second category – the middle of the pack. Most students fall in this middle grey. If you are one of these students, imagine that the person who will be reading your essay will be comparing you to 99 other applicants who have the same qualifications as you. They have the same test scores, the same GPA, and just a couple of extracurricular activities without any proven leadership records. Your essay is what will set you apart.

The third and most unfortunate category of students is the below-average group. Having poor grades with no extracurricular activities can mean that your entry into college is based on how much you can express yourself on an essay and convince the person reading your essay that you deserve an acceptance letter. Fortunately, colleges often admit students with weaker academic qualifications for different reasons, and so, you still have a chance.

What are Admission Officers Looking for in a College Admission Essay?

College admission officer look for basic qualities in an admission essay. They look for features including context on your educational background and the positive traits that make you suitable to join their campus. You need to include your qualities that make you a worthy student.

Others also pay attention to the tone and style of your college admission essay.

If you are a graduate student, consider looking at our comprehensive guide on how to write a Graduate School Admission Essay. It is more detailed and thorough to reflect graduate programs.

Key Items about Writing a College Admission Essay

By now, you are already familiar with what you need to know. These are things you have already learned in English essay writing. Those tips apply to your college application essay too.

  • Organize your essay effectively.
  • Write with passion and enthusiasm to spark your personality
  • Pick up vivid words for your essay
  • Proofread your essay for common conventions errors.

Below are some of the tips that will help you write an outstanding college admission essay to earn you an entry into your desired institution.

Attention Grabber Could Improve Your Application Essay

The average length of a college application essay is 500 words, and have in mind that those few words might make the difference between admission and rejection. You’ll spend days researching and coming up with the perfect essay, but admissions examiners will only read it for a few minutes, so you need to grab their interest right away.

Authenticity in your admission essay matters

Universities are interested in students who can demonstrate authenticity and quality of thought, so don’t try to structure your essay around terms or concepts that have been used a million times before; instead, build it on things you truly belief in.

The application essay is your chance to show an admissions committee how serious you are about your chosen topic and how much you already know about it. Make sure it represents all of your abilities and desires, and that it demonstrates how your selected program will assist you in achieving your long-term objectives.

How to Write a College Admission Essay (Format)

1. Stick to the essay writing prompt

Read and re-read the prompt to ensure you really understand what they are asking. Nothing is worse than an essay that does not address the question.

Making your essay coherent is non-negotiable. Grammar and spelling errors should not surface in your essay. Coherency of your admission essay would be much higher if you avoid too much Thesaurus words that would make your essay sound like Shakespeare.

2. Start writing your college admission early

This is the best single piece of advice I can offer you. Starting early will allow you to revise thoroughly. Chronic procrastination may just kill your dream of entering college, but don’t let it. Start early. Write several drafts and find someone who can provide you with honest comments about your essay.

If you think you cannot come up with a brilliant college admission essay, you can consult our services hereDon’t kid yourself that you can write best under pressure. You need enough time to write a great college admission essay.

Get rid of all clichés

It would be beneficial to you to look at some examples of excellent application essays and be inspired when you are preparing for your application essay. While this is an excellent practice, many students allow themselves to be affected by the examples to an excessive degree, resulting in the usage of several clichés in their attempts to impress the admissions authorities.

how to start your college admission essay

Always keep in mind that there are thousands of other students who are applying to your preferred university, and you must stand out from the crowd to get accepted. Re-read your essay and strike out any lines that seem like clichés. Then attempt to come up with something more creative to say.

Admissions officials go through hundreds of applications each year, so it’s only natural that they’ll pay attention to those who stand out as having a distinctive personality. Allow them to find this for themselves!

3. Organization/format of college admission essay

You have decided to unleash your English on paper and so you pick up the pen to begin your college admission essay. At this moment, remember to introduce your essay using a hook. Include your thesis at the end of your introduction, which in your essay should be “You should admit me to your college because ….” In the body of your essay, ahead and explain why the institution should admit you.

Do not talk about things that the college already know such as your SAT scores, GPA, and extracurricular activities. Paint a picture of your human face using words. Demonstrate to the reader that you are a real human being. This will show them that after your graduation from their institution, you will be able to go out to the world and do meaningful things. Finally, make a concise conclusion. It is not a bad idea to conclude by expressing your hopes that they will allow you to demonstrate what you can do.

4. Voice is important

Your college admission essay is the human face in your college application. The reader wants to know more about you. So what do you do? Convey personality. Show your awareness that you’re communicating with another human being. A great way to do this is to anticipate your reader’s questions and provide an answer for each.

Avoid sounding generic and boring at all costs. That is why personal pronouns such as “I, me, my, and your” are all appropriate in college admission essays. Colloquialism can also add so much in conveying your sense of personality. But remember not to use too much colloquial language.

5. Avoid exaggeration in your college admission essay

Although applicants are encouraged to say something like they mean it in their college admission essays, exaggerations will not help. Readers can easily tell when you are stretching the truth. Avoid saying things like how the death of your second cousin affected your studies and made you fail in Geometry. This point takes us to the next tip.

The admission director at Texas Christian University once said, if you are a funny guy, write a funny essay, but if you’re a serious person, write a serious essay. Being unique is what matters. The essay should tell your story and present your current case.

6. Avoid excuses

Stop being a jerk and stand straight. If you have poor grades, there is no point in justifying anything. It will only show you as a weaker student. You do not owe anyone an explanation of why Math was difficult. Your college admission essay should focus on what you’d be capable of and not what you weren’t able to attain.

7. Length of college admission essay

Most institutions do not limit the number of words applicants should write on their college admission essays. However, always remember to write as much as it would be interesting to read. Some admissions directors specify a word length of 500. Whenever there is a specified length, always stick to the rule.

You’ve followed all the these guidelines and the only thing left is admission. Congratulations!

length of admission essay

Sample college admission essay

The example below is a catchy introduction of a common application essay by Beth Young, who was admitted to Harvard University. The prompt was:

“Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community or family.”


          My heart used to pound at the thought of a class discussion. My face would burn bright red, and I would quickly lose my train of thought. I had ideas trapped in my head with no ways to release them into the world. No way to bring them to life. In eighth grade, my school required every student to write and present a speech during homeroom. I spent weeks thinking about my topic before drawing inspiration from the movie “Any Given Sunday.” I was hoping to inspire my peers – to take advantage of every second in every moment because we need every inch in life the margin for error is simply too small. When it was my turn to speak, my cheeks glowed hotly and my mouth turned to sandpaper, rough and dry. Although others spoke with more confidence, my topic was unique and my classmates chose me to present the speech before the grade. I worked furiously. I revised my speech countless times and rehearsed it before my ….

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