College Admission Essays for Dummies - Writing Guide

College applications can be daunting enough without having to write an admissions essay, too, but many colleges require that you submit an essay explaining why you should be admitted to the school. There are some weird requests (Like the University of Pennsylvania's request to write a 300 page essay only to submit certain page numbers) and some detailed instructions for some, but most are pretty basic. The college simply wants to know why you want to go to their school and they need to see that you can explain yourself in written form. If you don't know how to write an admissions essay, a few tips can help.

Don't write too much.

Unless otherwise requested, you shouldn't write more than 700 words for an admissions essay. The admissions officer has a huge stack of essays to read, and if you go too long he or she may not read your entire essay. Be concise in what you need to say and save some time for the admissions officer.

Be truthful and unique.

Don't lie about or exaggerate your achievements. Just like a resume or cover letter for a job, you should be honest and list only things you have actually accomplished. This doesn't mean, though, that you cannot be an individual. Distinguish yourself from the other admissions essays by adding in some humor, or telling a good story. The more you stand out (in a good way) the more likely you are to be selected for admissions.

Make sense and double check facts.

When you write your essay don't ramble on and on. This goes back to being concise and not writing too much, but it also means that your essay should make sense. If you are telling a story, go in order. If you are telling a joke, make sure it makes sense and is in good taste. If you are quoting someone or stating facts, make sure it is 100 percent correct. Even if the admissions officer doesn't check your facts, they may know the answers already and you don't want to run that risk.

Be intelligent and write something attention-getting.

Many essays are bland and boring. This won't help you stand out. Colleges are for intellectual thought and developing ides, and if you don't have an original idea you may get passed over. Write about something of which you are passionate an make the admissions officer interested in your passion, too.

When writing an admissions essay, the basics of writing apply, but there are still tips that can help you with this particular task. Be concise, thorough, correct, and interesting to get your admissions essay noticed. This is your best shot at getting accepted into the college of your choice.