Ten Do’s and Don’ts for Your College Admissions Essay
1. Unite your essay and give it direction with a theme or thesis. The thesis is the main point you want to communicate.
2. Before you begin writing, choose what you want to discuss and the order in which you want to discuss it.
3. Use concrete examples from your life experience to support your thesis and distinguish yourself from other applicants.
4. Write about what interests you, excites you. That’s what the admissions staff wants to read.
5. Start your essay with an attention-grabbing lead–an anecdote, quote, question, or engaging description of a scene.
6. End your essay with a conclusion that refers back to the lead and restates your thesis.
7. Revise your essay at least three times.
8. In addition to your editing, ask someone else to critique your essay for you.
9. Proofread your essay by reading it out loud or reading it into a tape recorder and playing back the tape.
10. Write clearly, succinctly.
1. Don’t include information that doesn’t support your thesis.
2. Don’t start your essay with “I was born in…,” or “My parents came from…”
3. Don’t write an autobiography, itinerary, or resume in prose.
4. Don’t try to be a clown (but gentle humor is OK).
5. Don’t be afraid to start over if the essay just isn’t working or doesn’t answer the essay question.
6. Don’t try to impress your reader with your vocabulary.
7. Don’t rely exclusively on your computer to check your spelling.
8. Don’t provide a collection of generic statements and platitudes.
9. Don’t give mealy-mouthed, weak excuses for your GPA or SAT scores.
10. Don’t make things up.