Admission, application and entrance essays: writing, editing, proofreading

How to Write a Good Admission Essay for College: Becoming an Expert

The essay is a critical component of any collage application. It is how you get that collection of scores, addresses and times to become an individual person and is your chance to show the school why you belong there. Of course, this can be quite an intimidating process but here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you meet the challenge and write a well-crafted essay.

Study the Assignment

One of the most important skills that you need to attend college is the ability to closely read and follow instructions. Treat the Admission Essay like your first college assignment; read it the prompt carefully and make sure you understand what they are asking for. Also make sure you know the length and formatting parameters. Things like word count and font may seem minor to everything else, but following these directions are just as important. An essay of the right length shows that you are paying attention.

Stay on Topic

When given a very general prompt, “say something about yourself” for example, avoid giving an irrelevant answer. While an essay on how much you enjoy an app on your phone is technically something about yourself, you need to remember why you are writing the essay, to prove you are a good fit for the school. You also do not need to capture the essence of your being in 300 words or less. There is a part of you that wants to attend this school; describe that part.

Be Coherent

As you work through your essay it is tempting to fill space with long lists of your varied accomplishments. Try not to. It makes for a scattered read and leaves your audience to puzzle you out themselves. There will be other places on the application to get that list in; use the essay to show that college ready side of you. Come up one or two of your strong points and then use a handful of events or details that demonstrate those points. That way your audience, the college admission staff, will get a solid idea of how you will add to their school, which will go a long way in their decision process.


It is easy to underestimate a short essay but you would be surprised how many errors can sneak into a few hundred words. Read and re-read your work. Read it out loud. Have friends and family read it out loud. Have a former teacher and the neighbor read it. Also make sure you stick to their word count. An overlong essay will be just as annoying to the reader as a half-length essay.

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