A compelling university admissions essay can be the difference between acceptance and rejection. Grades are an important part of your application, but they are not the only key component. Your writing will help set you apart from other applicants with similar scores. Knowing how to write an essay will leave a good impression. Think of it as an opportunity to show admissions officers what qualities you have that would make you a good candidate for their school.
You have a unique background and set of experiences; your university admissions essay is a way to share all that with prospective schools. The trick is to write a thoughtful, personal paper about a topic that matters to you. Many applicants try too hard to sound smart, or write about topics they don’t care about to look impressive. All you have to do is show yourself as thoughtful and motivated, and that will demonstrate that you have something to add to a class.
Use these tips to help craft a strong essay that highlights what you have to offer:
- Read the instructions – In all the excitement, you might forget to thoroughly heed the instructions. Follow the application directions to the letter. Failing to comply with guidelines could lead admissions officers to assume you wouldn’t follow the program’s directions. Stick to page and word count limits. The idea is to organize your thoughts according to the rules.
- Organize your thoughts – Start by brainstorming. Take a piece of paper and jot down ideas. Do some research on different topics and ideas that you might find interesting. Then consider which ideas could combine with one another. For example, you can compare and contrast different ideas. Write a rough outline. Think about how long each paragraph should be to express your ideas clearly. Finally, create a schedule as a guide for how much time to devote to your work.
- Be controversial – Many applicants submit bland, safe essays that don’t take a stand on anything. Discussing politics or religion can be a valid approach! Remember to stay balanced and thoughtful, regardless of your opinion. Present your views on the subject, but be fair and logical. Give reasons to support your position. “Avoid speechifying.”
Higher education is the place for discussion of ideas. Your essay is a tool to present your ideas to an interested panel. Some people look for diversity of ideas, so consider sharing some of yours.
- Avoid using cliches – Looking at other essays as research is generally an excellent idea. However, be wary of other writers’ influence. Precise word choices and unique phrases will help your paper stand out from the crowd. Review your work and delete any “old hat” statements. Give admissions something that’s all yours and make them take notice.
- Be careful with humour – Jokes can be an excellent way to get yourself noticed–but use this technique carefully. Your idea of “funny” may differ from that of an admissions’ officer. Avoid one-liners, limericks, and off-colour humour. They may be perceived as unprofessional.
- Show, don’t tell – Avoid simply stating facts and ideas. Admissions officers are more concerned with your perspective on events than with the events themselves. Include specific details and examples. For example, don’t merely mention extracurricular activities. Describe how they made you feel, and what you learned from participating in them. The officers don’t know you personally. Use your words to paint a picture of who you are and what you can contribute to the college or university.
- Know your vocabulary – The words you use demonstrate your mastery of writing, and how well you can make an argument. A university-level essay should display a similar level of vocabulary. Make certain you are using words correctly. Synonyms can have different shades of meaning; the wrong one could sully your message.
Find examples of how words are used before using them. Use plain language most of the time. Overusing big words can make your writing seem pretentious. Think of advanced words as a spice, and your ideas as the main dish.
- Write distinct essays – Every university has a distinct culture. An admission essay is a statement that you are a good fit for that particular school. If you’re applying for more than one place, write a distinct essay for each. Some of your points may not apply to every university. Research and learn about their individual cultures, values, and awards. Tailor your work to make it relevant to each unique mission and values.
- Be concise – Applying to university is much like applying for a job. You are given only so much space to show why you deserve a spot. Meet their specifications, but be brief. Admissions officers have to read several essays each day. You have a few hundred words to grab their attention. Be precise, organize your thoughts, and show that you’re respectful of others’ time.
- Edit – The job isn’t done when you have finished writing. Proofreading and editing your essay is an essential step, and can play a major role in separating your work from the crowd. Check the word count and make sure it complies with requirements. Read each sentence to ensure that your thoughts are expressed clearly. Check for spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. A thorough read-through will help spot errors, and result in a better submission.
- Seek a second opinion – Before submitting the essay, ask for advice from someone qualified. Sometimes others can spot mistakes a writer might miss. If you can, ask someone with expertise in the admissions process. Ask a teacher you trust to give feedback. Ask only a few select people for help; too much feedback can affect the quality of your writing. Remember, the essay should present your thoughts the way you want them heard.
One of the most important things you can do is to start writing early. Give yourself plenty of time to write and finish well ahead of the deadline. Use extra time to fine-tune the essay and make it the best it can be. In case of any setbacks, you have time to edit and rewrite your work.
Good writing skills can help in any facet of life, and they are essential for success at university. A good admissions essay is only the first step. Once you are in school, you’ll need those skills to write quality research papers and other projects. Sometimes, a university workload can be difficult to handle. In that case, give Masters Essay a call for help with writing papers and presentations.
Masters Essay specializes in quality academic writing. For quality research, an organized layout, and logical reasoning, get our writing team on your side. Call us at (647) 436-7280.