Seven ways to ace your college essay

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Writing a college essay can be one of the most stressful parts of the application process. After all, most of us were taught in school how to write about various topics, but we rarely write about ourselves. Not to worry though. Here are some tips to make the process a whole lot easier.

1.    Understand why colleges want student essays. Admissions counselors look at more than your test scores when considering your college application. They review your essays to learn more about who you are as an individual and how you’ll contribute to their community.

2.    Brainstorm essay topics. Before you sit down to write, be open to lots of different essay topics. Although many universities will tell you a general theme of the essay they’d like you to write, these often give you a lot of room to decide how to address that theme. For example, your essay about tackling a personal challenge will be very different from anyone else’s. Think about the essay topic and write down as many ideas as you can think of that fit within that theme.

3.    Start an outline. Once you choose your essay topic, jot down the key points you want to get across in the essay. This will help you to organize your thoughts and ensure that the essay stays on point.

4.    Avoid cliché phrases. Admission experts have read thousands of essays and are not going to be impressed if you use the same common phrases as everyone else. Avoid phrases like “think outside the box” and “this made me a better person”.

5.    Be yourself! This is the most important point. Don’t be afraid to share your personality and what you’re most passionate about.

6.    Write and rewrite. Write your first draft and then put it away. Come back to it at a later time with “fresh eyes” so you can continue to improve upon it over time.

7.    Proofread. Don’t just use spell check. Once you have the final draft, be sure to have someone else read it over to help proofread it.

Get advice on essay writing and more at CollegeWeekLive.