Making the big jump into college can be nerve-wrecking enough with the college selection and application process. Then there is the supplemental essay question masked in many forms like “Why are you a good fit?” or “Why do you wish to attend our college?” It is the same question colored a different way. Imagine all the essays read over time by college advisors and staff, how is yours going to stand apart? Is there a magic formula for composing the perfect entrance essay? The answer to this question is yes; if you are savvy enough to know the dos and don’ts of the writing process. Here are some suggestions to personalize your writing and get you noticed.
Know What You Are Talking About
Essentially, this means do your research. Scrape through those college websites and catalogs with a fine tooth comb before you even began the writing. Educate yourself on what the school has to offer, how the curriculum works, course offerings and extra-curricular activities. What does this college has to offer you to make you truly want to attend?
Focus on Details
By letting the college know you are interested in specific things about their institution, you have shown them your actual insight and knowledge about their school. You have to be specific, and not gloss over with ineffective garble. For example, discuss a class or club which intrigues you and why. Or, find a professor who is a muse to your own area of degree and speak of similarities. Have you had interactions with anyone like students, alumni or staff at the school? If so, mention their name.
Are You A Good Fit?
This is important to talk about. Success at any college depends on whether the college adheres to your personal and collegial needs. Every college is different; some are significantly involved in sports and some in community. What can you say in your essay to show your personal reasons for wanting to attend their college? Use a personal experience or desire to back up what the school represents. Before you land at this college, make certain you know what this institution is all about or you could be jeopardizing not only your essay, but your success as well.
Tell Them How You Will Get Involved
It is all about the academic community and environment. Colleges are not as interested in students who ‘just go to class and home’. The whole idea of a well-rounded college experience is to be a part of that ‘community’ in some way or another. Tell them what you have been a part of or involved in and relate your experience to something you can contribute to at the school. If you are lacking in this area, then it is okay to express your desires to try something new. Once again, be specific. Let the college know you want to get as much as you can from your college years and be a positive asset to the school.
The writing approach shows who you are, so over-complimenting the school or overuse of the hyperbole will come across as fake. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enthusiasm, but it is better to compliment the school in context of a sincere reason you wish to attend. For example, if the school offers a dedicated program to something you have been studying abroad, then explain why it excites you. Another way to come across wrong is to focus on the superficial aspects. Subject matter like “the food looks good” will read as shallow. As will mentioning a college’s reputation, this tells the school nothing about why you would be a good fit; unless you can back it up with a specific example of why that reputation was earned. Beware of doing a “Plug and Play” essay. This is when you use the exact same essay for every college. Admission readers will tell you this does not show a prospect in a favorable light. Once again, do your research on each school you are applying to, and tailor that essay.
Spend some quality time scratching out who you are on paper, then study the colleges you wish to apply too. The most important aspect of the college experience is to make sure it is a good fit. The essay doesn’t have to be an intimidating or frustrating task, just keep it personal. You already know what it is you wish to accomplish, it is time to tell them what your plans are. Pick a couple things about the school which appeal to you and go for it.