College essays are competitive. These days, the competition is so fierce that even if you have a unique topic and spend hours outlining it, there's still no guarantee you'll be accepted to your school of choice.
Simple Words with Direct Meaning
Use words you used in school, avoid flowery language. If you are writing about something that you did in school, then use words and expressions that you used. You don't want to sound like someone who is not part of the set. Your essay is never lacking for words. Use any or all of them! Don't leave out any interesting word, play around with sentences and find the perfect synonyms for your topic.
The college essay is the time to write in words who you are. It is the same as if you were to tell the college about you in an interview.
Use the content from your answers from the question "Tell me about yourself" to kickstart your essay.
Name-dropping Says Nothing
Try to remember even the common names of people you meet. Instead of saying, 'My parents once went to this place in New York', write about your experiences there and why you like it. Don't know what experience is? Talk about why a museum attracts you or how reading a good book has inspired you in some way.
English or Engrish?
Get your tenses right, no spelling errors, typos, careless leaps of logic. Go over it again and again until you fall in love with the sentence. These mistakes will cost you if you make them, and if the errors appear, you will surely stand out, but in a bad way!
Write Short Sentences Instead of Long Ones
Readers lose attention when sentences are too long. It becomes hard to grasp the meaning of the sentence and one has to re-read it to understand it. To express your thoughts eloquently, keep your sentences short. Sharp. And Concise.
Condense Your Essay
Your essay should have all the information it needs and every word typed has to mean something. Pare down your essay - the shorter and less, the better! If you find that you are writing too much, then make sure you pick the most important facts and use them to show your personality. If your essay exceeds 500-1000 words, they will likely be skipped and your chances of getting into university is pretty much over. Instead, only write the number of words that are required to get your point across.
Your Introduction Should Impress
If you are wondering how to make your essay stand out, then the introduction is the place to start. Your essay should grab the attention of the reader and if you can do that, they will want to read more of it. Summarize the main ideas in your main idea paragraph, which should be short and sweet.
Conclusions Should Not Be Repeated
If you start to repeat yourself, you are just proving to the admissions officer that you aren't a good writer or how forgetful you are. So, what do you do? Always remember your essay introduction and make sure your conclusions don't repeat what you already said.
Passion Should Come Through
No passion in your essay and you're not going to be read. Passion is the key to a great essay, so show it! If you can't show it, just tell them how much you want to go there and why you want to be part of that institution. Do your research on the school and tell them why they want what you have to offer.
Go for Original Ideas
It's time to figure out what your passion is and how you can create a unique essay. Think of something that is not yet written about, but which is still interesting and will be appealing to read. Think about ways to make your essay stand out, and let the ideas flow from your fingers onto the keyboard.
Use Non-Academic Ideas
Every applicant is highly likely to write about how good the college they are applying to is, why they want to get in and trying hard to prove their worth. If you become like everyone else and repeat the same (talking about school and academic topics), you blend into the crowd and you aren't unique. To avoid being bland, stand out in your essay by using ideas outside the classroom - use random words like hotdog or mountains to trigger the start of the sentence and write about other things besides school.
Writing an essay is similar to putting up content in your resume. Some things you should say, and hold off on the rest of the things that don't supplement.
Edit, Edit, Edit Your Essay Before You Submit
If you want your essay to stand out, then you have to spend time editing it. Follow normal rules of grammar and spelling. Make sure you proofread all the parts of your essay and correct all your mistakes before you submit it to the teacher in case there are mistakes.
You should be yourself, not someone else. Write about the experiences you had that made you who you are today. Not what other people tell you, but what is inside your head! Don't pretend to be something or someone else, because that's a bad idea.
Originality is the Key
Your essay must stand out from the rest of similar essays, and that's why you should use your own point of view. Don't repeat things other people said (and better) in their own essays! It's also easy to identify even a slightly plagiarized phrase or maybe two if you are not paying attention, so be careful with this one!