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Tips for Writing an Exceptional College Essay

Your college essay should be honest, personal and share what makes you unique. As you write your essays, carefully consider your topic choice, reflect on your experiences, be yourself, avoid repetition and set aside ample time, and don’t forget to edit. Essay Coaching may also help you prepare your essays.

Topic Choice

Your essay should discuss something you, not the admissions counselors, care about. If you are passionate about the topic, you will be able to write quickly and easily. Avoid reusing essays even if the questions are similar.


You may open with a story, but move on quickly. For example, what did you learn and how did the event shape you? Your story should provide insight into who you are, your strengths and how you overcome adversity. Although you may discuss a past event, focus on the future.  

Be Yourself

Your essay should reflect your personality and communication style. Therefore, avoid using a thesaurus.

Consider your readers. Make the essay enjoyable to read and avoid obscure references. Humor should be used sparingly, and avoid inappropriate or generational humor.

Time and Writing Process

Start your essay early so you have plenty of time to revise and make it great. Follow the instructions, including topic and word count, exactly.

Develop an outline to organize your anecdotes, examples and other information. Spend extra time on the first paragraph and final paragraphs, which should grab the readers’ attention and leave an impression, respectively.

Avoid Repetition

Do not repeat or contradict information that is in your other admission documents, such as your resume, letters of recommendation or supplemental essays. Although your theme should be evident throughout the essay, do not state it or the point of your essay.

Revise, Revise, Revise

When you finish writing, have a few people, including a teacher or counselor, read your essay and give you feedback. Then, edit the essay for content, grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Choose your topic carefully, and use it to reveal yourself and reflect on your experiences. Be yourself and manage your time during the writing process. Avoid repetition and revise your essay carefully.

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