You & Your Child

Write an Effective College Application Essay

Essays that resonate most with college admissions departments typically convey a student’s intangibles.
September 2017
Posted

For the more than 2 million high school students applying to colleges and universities, the task of essay writing can be a dreadful experience.

Whether applying for admission or scholarships, many students find this part of the application process to be the most stressful and daunting part of their senior year. Often without understanding how to approach the essay, students struggle with staring at a blank page and finding a compelling topic.

However, according to Howard Reichman, a writing consultant based in Los Angeles, “a college application essay is really just a story — a story colleges want to hear about you.

“Every good story,” he continues, “from a blockbuster movie to a novel from your high school English class to your favorite show, has four critical elements that make it fascinating and reveal inner depth about its characters. That’s exactly what you want your college application essays to do: show the real you beyond the test scores and GPA.”

According to Reichman, every good story has these four essential elements:

1. The initial plan

2. The anticipated outcome

3. The setback

4. The discovery

The essays that resonate most with college admissions departments typically convey a student’s intangibles or “the Four Ps,” adds Reichman, specifically:

• Passion: What drives you and what do you really care about?

• Personality: What are you like to be around? Would your friends and family be able to identify you by reading your essay?

• Perseverance: How do you respond to challenges? What gives you strength, both intellectually and emotionally?

• Potential: What talents, interests and goals will you bring to a university’s campus next fall? How can a college help you further develop these as you continue to grow into adulthood?

More than anything, procrastination and stress are often students’ worst enemies when they sit down to begin the essay-writing process.

“If you feel you are wasting time, switching topics or disagreeing with your parents, teachers or college counselors about the direction your essays are taking, try going back to these simple storytelling techniques to ensure you are showcasing what sets you apart from other applicants with similar grades and scores,” says Reichman.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
 
Something to sell?
Place your ad right now —
It's free and easy!
Write a headline
Write an ad

Current Issue Click to view