How to Write Essays for US College and University Application?

How to Write Essays for US College and University Application?

If you have started thinking about your college application essays, here’s what you need to know: your experiences make your essays.

US colleges and universities practice holistic admissions, which means that they are looking at their applicants as being whole individuals with their unique set of experiences and learnings. For this reason, your college essays need to reflect the values and skills you have developed as a result of all those wonderful things mentioned in your résumé. With academic preparation always at the back of your mind, it is unlikely that you will remember stories that have contributed to your application in so many different ways. Whether for the Main Common App/Coalition App essay or the Supplemental Essays, you will need to keep ready the story you want to share with colleges.

Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Create a Running Résumé – Write up your activities (big or small) in a resume format. Not only would this be useful for constructing your application, but you will also be able to edit and share this résumé with colleges.

  2. Draw a Visual Organizer – I recommend using visual organizers to map your trajectory for every extracurricular activity undertaken from Grades 8-12. You may use this as a tool to express anecdotes and takeaways, as mentioned below.

  3. Write anecdotes – There is always a story that drives you to take up a certain extracurricular activity. Your essays are about these observations, choices, and actions. Admissions Officers want to know about it, either through your main Common App/Coalition App Essay, supplemental essays, or Additional Information section. Write these down in the Visual Organizer or in an excel sheet or simply in your personal diary.

    For instance, you may have built an app that helps the elderly or identifies gender biases? What motivated you to do that? Was it because you noticed someone going through it or did it stem from personal experiences? Or was it simply because you read it on the news and decided to make it your mission to solve the problem? Either way, store these pieces of information in this document.

  4. Mention takeaways – Students often find it difficult to pen down their takeaways from a project.

    Here’s what you need to elaborate on:

  • What did you learn in the process of undertaking a project or extracurricular activity?

  • What values did you demonstrate and learn?

  • What skills did you develop?

  • Were your beliefs challenged and if so, in what ways?

  • How do you see yourself taking forward this project in the future?

5. Talk to mentors/advisers: It is always a good idea to learn from your mentor/adviser what they felt about your unique contributions and the way you handled your work.

  • How did you manage your responsibilities?

  • What do they feel you learned from the task?

  • What could have been done differently and why?

It is never too early to start working on your COLLEGE ESSAY PREPARATION DOCUMENT. You may start grades 8 or 9 onwards since activities take time to build and develop and you may be learning so many new things every single day. In my opinion, take a pen and capture them as soon as you can.

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