How to write a great college essay


It seems obvious, but be sure you understand the essay question. College essays can range from writing about your hero to drafting a personal faith statement to submitting a creative writing project. Once you understand the question, do some research: Why is this question important to this college? With a clear understanding of the question and the college, you're ready to start writing.

Read the college's mission statement to get some insight into what they look for in applicants.


College essays are a great opportunity to tell your story. Weave into your essay some interesting and unique experiences you've had and explain how those things have impact your life, your faith and your perspectives. College reps read these essays carefully to find out how you will fit into a college community and what gifts you can contribute.

In addition to the essay, many colleges ask you to complete an activities chart of the things you were involved in during high school. This list provides another snapshot of who you are and what you bring to the college. It can also help colleges identify special scholarships for you.


Should you spell check? Absolutely. Use all the tools available to you to edit your essay. Grammar and spelling mistakes don't make the best academic impression. Have a teacher, guidance counselor or parent read through your essay before you submit it.

If you're completing your application online, write your essay in another program first, then copy and paste it into another application after you've edited it.

VERGE: winter 2011

First-Year Experience