The Three R’s are basic skills taught throughout school. They are Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. While only one of them begins with an “R” we will cover each one and how it can relate to your college and career goals. This is an old fashioned phrase that we will put a new twist on for CAA blog readers. We hope you ARE checking back each month for a new post with new insights!
Welcome to the second part of our series (last month, we focused on Reading for Enjoyment). This blog will focus on how to write a college essay. While each person can have a different strategy, here are seven tips to keep in mind as you construct your own plan. These tips come from your CAA coaches who have seen lots of essays and want to provide some help.
1. Start early – A college essay should not be like an assignment that you finish the night before it is due. Starting early on your essay will provide time for reflection and revision. You want to give it time to make it the best it can be.
2. Find your structure – Writing in a stream of consciousness may be an effective way to get all of your ideas out, but it should only be the beginning. Too many college essays feel like a student just sat down and wrote their thoughts out in one sitting. You need organization for your essay to make it flow and highlight that you can write well.
3. Don’t forget the basics – It is vital to capitalize the letter “I” and use other basic grammar within your college essay. It may seem obvious, but this is not a text to a friend where you can use slang throughout. You may be surprised how often the basics of grammar are ignored in this process. These simple things can make a big difference.
4. Know your point – If you have a sad story, which sometimes happens in a college essay, be sure to have a productive point. Many students will discuss their struggles or challenges, but you don’t want to just leave it there. Be sure to let the reader know about how the challenge has shaped you and how you will move forward. You want anyone reading your essay to know more about you. Admissions officers want to know that you can be successful at their college.
5. Make it your own – It is important to be true to yourself in your college essay. There is not a formula or specific way to sound. You need for it to be your own work. Ultimately it is your own creation and should be exactly what you want it to be. Conformity is not the best option in your college essay.
6. Read it out loud – This sounds simple, but is an important step. When you read something out loud you tend to catch more of the mistakes. You may think, “That is not how I want to sound” when you take the time to hear your words. This gives you an opportunity to revise and may help some of your errors stand out.
7. Have someone else read it – You are not alone in this process. At CAA we want to help our clients have the best essays that they can. This means taking time to let us take a look and offer feedback. Even if you don’t want to send it to us, be sure to have an adult read it to have another set of eyes on your essay.
We hope these tips have helped you think a little more about your essay. These can help you begin, but there can be so much more advice specific to you! The CAA coaches are here to help you have a great college essay.