Hopefully some of you have already started your college application essays after my previous article ran earlier this month. To continue our quest towards creating meaningful college application essays, here are a few more tips:
Tip #1 – Do Not Delay. This is a repeat from the last article because you need to understand how long the process will (and should) take. Students who work with me and my colleagues begin the process as early as the summer right after their junior year. This is not meant to make you hyper ventilate and feel as if you have missed the boat, but it should be a wake-up call to you that the application essay is not something you slap together like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It must be written with care and thoughtfulness. Start today!
Tip #2 – Ask for help. Ask older siblings, older friends/teammates, teachers, coaches and even your parents about what they wrote about in their college essays. You may be surprised by the topics they have chosen and it may spark an idea for you. Reading example essays are also helpful. There are many books out there with example essays that you can check out at your local library or in your high school’s college & career center.
Tip #3 – Get to the Point. Your essay should get the reader right into the meat of the story straight away. Don’t waste too much time “setting up” your story. Some college admission reps have less than 5 minutes to read each essay so you need to get them into the main points as soon as you can.
Tip #4 – Don’t be a Downer. Stay upbeat and positive and avoid being negative. No admissions reader wants to walk away feeling sad and depressed after reading your essay. If you have had obstacles to overcome, you can certainly talk about it, but don’t dwell on it. An admissions counselor will want to hear about your resilience in overcoming the difficulties in your life, not an entire 2 page paper describing every detail.
Tips #5 – College Application Essays are NOT English Essays. You do not need to set up your essay in a 5 paragraph format complete with a thesis, concrete details, or a conclusion. However, even though this essay is unlike a formal English research paper, there still needs to be some level of formality to it. Therefore, avoid the type of language you typically use only in the company of your buddies (e.g. anything bleep-able, “so cool, awesome, badass, that sucks,”).
Karen is a college admissions expert with specialized knowledge of the collegiate rugby landscape. She is a credentialed guidance counselor backed by a team at Dunbar Educational Consultants with over 130 years of combined experience in this field. She is also a former Division I Rugby player at University of California at Davis, National U-23 Team player and currently on the USA Rugby Referee circuit. With her deep knowledge and strong ties to the collegiate rugby world, Karen is the best resource for families searching for the best fit college for their young rugby player. Various packages are available to suit every family’s needs. To schedule a consultation and discuss client options, please call Karen at (310) 497-0619 cell or email