How to give your college essay power

April 10, 2013

Writing an impressive admissions statement is often the key to getting into a chosen school.

After evaluating the degree options for mothers and looking into financial aid for college, returning students start constructing their college applications. Most of this package consists of figures, from high school transcripts to SAT scores. The part of the application that allows prospective students to come off the page is the personal statement. Through an essay's content and the way it is presented, a person hoping to get into college may make his or her case. 

Distinctive essay content
Including meaningful content in the college essay is the key to getting noticed. Applicants must stay within a certain number of words, yet need to efficiently communicate what makes them stand out from the crowd as an asset to the university. Admissions officers sitting with a stack of applications want something unique and personal. 

In a college advice column for USA today, Uloop student writer Diane Kollman suggests focusing on particular life experiences and noting the lessons learned by them. By showing rather than telling, an individual more effectively exhibits these qualities. Reliving the story of overcoming a challenge at a previous job or internship paints a clear picture of an individual's motivation. 

According to a New York Times parenting blog, prospective students should remain honest while explaining whatever personal experience the essay focuses on. The key is for the topic to be meaningful to the writer, presenting a genuine, relatable voice.

Persuasive essay's structure
Kollman further suggests using a personal philosophy to thread the essay together as a thesis statement. Before beginning to write, structure the piece to begin with a hook, which can be an anecdote or an experience. Then, using transitions from one section to the next, writers might explain their goals and interests. Finally, the piece should be summed up with a concise conclusion. Let the last sentence resonate emotionally to leave a lasting impact.

The number of students going to college has grown, and will continue to almost exponentially, making a stand-out essay increasingly important. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, between 2000 and 2010, the number of students enrolled at 4-year public institutions increased by over 3 million per year. Additionally, by 2021, NCES projects this enrollment to increase by at least another million individuals. This large pool of students emerges from an even larger group of applicants. By making a college essay persuasive through its content and structure, prospective students can increase their chances of gaining acceptance into their top choice of schools. 

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