A typical college essay topic goes something like this: “Evaluate a significant experience, achievement risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you,” or “Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.” Here’s how to break it down — and maybe even discover something about yourself and have fun along the way!
– Select a strong topic by brainstorming and discussion with friends and family.
– Imagine you are writing to a specific person, rather than an unknown admissions officer.
– Write an effective introduction.
– Add dialogue.
– Use description.
– Step outside the narrative to emphasize the significance of the topic and lessons learned.
– Make connections with outside texts, events, or ideas.
– Write an effective conclusion.
For sample models of successful college admissions essays; see this website http://www.collegeboard.com/student/apply/essay-skills/index.html with critiques.
– Ask a teacher to proof-read your essays to receive feedback and revision suggestions.
– Allow yourself time to draft, review, and polish college admissions essays.
Adapted from “Demystifying College” by Jessica Singer Early and Meredith DeCosta-Smith in Educational Leadership, November 2010 (Vol. 68, #3, online only), http://www.ascd.org.