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6 College Admission Essay Hacks Every Student Needs to Know

by Carol Barash, PhD, on Aug 20, 2015 4:59:24 PM

by Carol Barash, PhD, founder and CEO, Story2, and author of Write Out Loud
© 2015 Story2. All rights reserved.


Colleges use your essays to decide between thousands of students who look the same on paper. Here are six quick tips to write authentic college admission essays that stand out from masses of students with similar grades and test scores.

1. Planning pays off: You can’t write a great essay the night before it’s due! Taking the time to organize your essays will save you time in the long run. Get everything organized with the Story2 EssayBuilder.

2. Build a bridge: A great essay creates a connection between what you’ve done in the past, and what you will do in the future. Work back and forth between moments that have shaped you into who you are and a precise picture of what you’ll do in the future.

3. Reveal your character: Admission officers want to see your unique perspective; show it to them in your essays. Each essay should show a different part of who you are.

4. Stay in the action: Many students write essays about their ideas, but personal stories--the details of real life--are much more likely to connect with admission readers. So start with a moment of change or growth, and draw your reader into that moment.

5. Tell the stories only you can tell: The best essays come from your unique experience. Show your readers what the world looks like from your point of view. Where do you live? What does it look like? Who else is there? What do they say?

6. When in doubt, write out loud: When you’re confused about how to finish (or even how to start) an admission essay, tell your story to a friend, or even to yourself. Speaking activates creativity and gets you past where you’re stuck.

Want help? Story2 has helped more than 20,000 students find stories from their own experience and shape them into authentic college admission and scholarship essays. It’s simple to use, and it’s free.

Topics:college admission