Tips on improving your college essay

Writing an essay for the college application process doesn't have to be a daunting task. Teens & Twenties writer Emily Fogleman offers some tips. / Illustration by Nichole Crawford, Times-News correspondent

Commentary by Emily Fogleman
Times-News correspondent
teens20@thetimesnews.com

   Preparing to apply for college? This is a difficult task and many consider the essay the hardest part. Take these tips from someone who is busy writing college essays herself to heart and apply them to your own essays.
1. Start early: It may be too late to use this tip, but look at the essay prompts as soon as you can, so you have an idea what you’re up against.
2. Don’t start writing right away: After you look at the prompts, spend a little time pondering the question(s) and the best way for you to tackle them.
3. Get advice: Ask your family and friends what they think you should write. Many essays will be about yourself and who better to ask than the people who know you best.
4. Check and double-check your grammar: Take the rough draft to a favorite English teacher and ask him or her nicely to check your grammar, syntax and spelling. Errors don’t reflect well on you as an applicant.
5. Be unique: The people reading these essays see hundreds or thousands of essays on the same prompt. Make yours as fresh and original as possible. In this case, standing out is good.
6. Don’t make up anything: Avoid writing fluff about something that isn’t actually meaningful to you. The colleges want to see you, not the sugarcoated version you might want to write.
  7. Follow the rules: If an essay has a word limit, make sure you fit in the limit. If it asks for details, provide details. You want to stand out, but make sure it’s for the right reasons.
Applying to college is a long, tedious process, but the acceptance letters will make it worth it. These tips can hopefully help move the process along more smoothly.

 Emily Fogleman is a senior at Southern Alamance High School and a Teens & Twenties writer.

 

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