Tips for Writing University Essays


Having top grades may give your university applications a boost, but test scores are far from everything schools consider when assessing candidates. Universities want to know you’re a well-rounded individual with interesting viewpoints, a unique life story, or particular hobbies that make you different from other students, which is why they ask for a college essay. To make your essay stand out, here are a few things you can do.

1. Choose a Theme

You may have numerous achievements or experiences you could talk about that would paint you in a positive light. However, listing everything would make for a boring read. For this reason, it’s best to pick a theme for your essay that will allow you to tell a story about yourself.

2. Avoid Repeating Information

When deciding what to include in your essay, think about what the admissions officer will already know about you. Try to provide new information that you haven’t included elsewhere in your application.

3. Find a Fresh Perspective

Think about whether there’s a new angle you could use to present your story that other students are less likely to use. For instance, most students talk about their successes, whether in sports, volunteering, or overcoming obstacles. Instead, you may like to look at what you’ve learned from your failures, how you’ve balanced your passions with your obligations, or what you care deeply about that other people don’t tend to find as important.

4. Be Genuine

Admissions officers read countless college essays, which means they know when students are being inauthentic. Allow your personality to shine through by writing using your own voice. This means avoiding language and structures you would never normally use. In addition, write about something important to you, not whatever you think sounds the most impressive. Your genuine passion will be obvious to the reader.

5. Start Strong

Hook the reader from the start with a strong opening statement. Avoid a wordy buildup — instead, jump straight into the main message of the essay. Set the scene, ask a question, or even find a quote related to what you want to talk about.

6. Keep It Short

Admissions officers don’t want to spend a large amount of time reading a single essay — no matter how good it is. If there is no word limit, try to keep your essay to less than 650 words to ensure the admissions officer reads to the end.

7. Tie Everything Together

Use the last paragraph to come to a logical conclusion that ties all the information together. If you’re answering a specific question, make it obvious how your essay has addressed this question.

8. Check Your Essay Before You Send It

Writing a great college essay takes a long time and may feel exhausting. Once you’ve finished, it may be tempting to just send it. However, it’s important you read the essay carefully several times to ensure there are no mistakes and it flows well. Read your essay out loud and ask someone else to read it for you.

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