Admission essays are required by most universities and colleges as part of the application process. Additionally, these essays are often required with applications for scholarships. Usually, an admission essay is submitted along with evidence of the applicant’s exam scores and grades. Typically, admission essay questions require the applicant to provide some personal information to enable the board to learn about them e.g. their philosophy on life, academic goals, important events in their lives, their financial circumstances, and so on. The act of writing an essay like this provides an opportunity for you to distinguish yourself from other candidates and to prove your worthiness.
Some things you should bear in mind when writing an admissions essay:
- Think about what exactly it is the question is asking. Then, make a list of key ideas and use these to create a rough essay outline.
- Make sure your essay in not generic i.e. one that is standard or similar to one that other candidate’s might write. Every aspect of your admissions essay should speak about you as an individual and your uniqueness. At the end, those reading your essay should feel they personally know you.
- Always keep in mind that an admissions committee is looking for candidates who will fit into their institution i.e. one who matches their mission, and is worthy of consideration. Your essay should be tailored with these expectations in mind so you must convince your readers you are suitable.
- Draw on your resourcefulness if you find it difficult to come up with ideas. Ask friends or family how they would describe you. Re-read any recommendation letters that have been written on your behalf. Which of the achievements from your resume might the committee be interested in?
- Avoid repeating factual information from other parts of your application such as the information in your resume. Your admissions essay should be based on particular events and solid examples.
- Try not to use overly long or ambiguous words and fancy vocabulary as a means of impressing your readers. This might appear showy and artificial.
- Adhere to the guidelines you are given in relation to length (number of words/pages), font style and size, and so on. In some cases, these essays need to be typed while in other cases they need to be hand-written. On some occasions, the essay should be included in a designated space on an application form and on other occasions, it should be typed or written separately. Regardless of how wonderful your essay is, it will make a poor impression or may even get you disqualified if you fail to heed the instructions you were given.
- The overall appearance of an admissions essay is crucial. Words should be spelled correctly, all punctuation and grammar rules should be obeyed, and your paper should be neat in its presentation. Members of the admissions board might not meet or see you in person so this all-important essay may be the one and only basis on which you are chosen. Although it may be untrue or unfair, an error-laden and messy essay can indicate a candidate who is poorly qualified and does not care.
- Remember to save your written work! It is quite acceptable to use the same (modified) essay – or ideas from a previous essay – for numerous applications. However, it should be revised for each new situation so that it specifically addresses variations in topics and/or questions. While an essay may be re-used for different purposes, your readers should feel it was originally crafted in response to their particular question(s)!