Outstanding SAT & ACT scores are simply one step towards admission to your dream school. Craft an application essay that takes you all the way by applying our 7 Steps to an Amazing College Essay. Step 4 is to WRITE WELL:
When we teach students how to write outstanding SAT & ACT essays, we make the point that excellent grammar is necessary but not sufficient for an effective essay. Your college essay needs to be written about you in a way that connects with your readers, but if you don’t also write well, your message will be lost.
Effective written English is clear, concise, and consistent. Make sure your grammar and punctuation are impeccable or at least strong enough to allow the strength of your ideas to shine through. Write with action verbs in the active voice. Also, spelling counts.
Beyond these essentials of effective communication, consider the sage advice of College Admissions Consultant Sandra J. Eller, Ph.D.: Show, don’t tell!
Adjectives do little to tell a reader who you are. Think ‘verbs’ when writing your college essay. It is more engaging to admission professionals to read a STORY about a particular instance in a student’s life than to have an overview. Specificity is often the key to a winning essay.
Stories which, by inference, give the reader a clear sense of who you are can be especially engaging and compelling, especially when it leads the student to draw insightful conclusions. As an analogy: while it can be interesting to “survey the terrain below” when up in a helicopter, it is usually even more memorable and compelling to “touch down” on a specific location, enjoying the richness of that one locale in full.
Last but not least, don’t give the impression that you can’t write at the college level: be sure to have someone proofread your essay specifically for grammar!
[If you think you’ve read this before, maybe you have. We share our 7 Steps to an Amazing College Essay every summer to support all of the hard working high schoolers striving towards their most successful college applications!]