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Guide on How to Write an Unforgettable College Essay

Date published: | Maria Haesen

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How to write the most unforgettable college essay?

Most selective educational institutions require you to submit an essay or any other kind of personal statement as a part of your application. This gives you a unique opportunity to speak directly to the admissions office. The decision that admission officers must make is way more than just about your grades or extracurricular activities. Such a procedure offers students a chance to showcase their personalities, so they want you to make a full story about your interests, your values and your character.

For many students, the essay section is one of the most stressful and exciting parts of the college admission process. And that’s reasonable: most students have little experience writing personal essays.

So learn the tips that will help you improve process of writing.

Make the reader look for answers in your paper

It doesn’t mean using straight questions in the text, so the reader will be seeking answers to them. But you should make him wonder: “How this story is going to end?”, “What does the author actually mean by that?”, “Which connection exists between all of this?”. The best way to make it happen is to start your essay with a hook that will motivate the reader to find out more. For instance, you can compose: “I was sitting in the back of the overcrowded auditorium and couldn’t even imagine that I’d soon be standing center stage”. It creates a powerful emotional impulse, making the reader want to know how it will continue.

Do not make your past the center of the plot

Admission officers look for essays where students underline the future goals they want to accomplish. So, your storytelling should focus on your learning and developing yourself to achieve set objectives. Don’t do it with just a brag or detailed description. Your text structure has to have the moment of revelation: what exactly have you learned from your experience? How have it affected you as a person? Any educational institution doesn’t want you to focus exclusively on the past. They want to help you bring to life your primary targets, but they need your strong will to let that happen. Even if you put any past event in your text, try to create a strong connection of how big an impact it made to make you a better person now.

Show stories as examples

Stories about specific event or experience is a brilliant way to grip your reader. Show with shining examples how big an influence it had on your mindset and how it changed your set of priorities and valuables. Such revelation creates a stronger connection between you and the reader than when you tout a strength.

Give it a twist

If it is possible within the context of your essay, twist your story or expose something unexpected, some details that your readers wouldn’t have seen coming. It will instantly make your essay better.

It can even be explained from a psychological point of view. Knowledge on its own affects our perception and can trip us up in many ways. For example, a puzzle always seems easier to solve after we learn how to solve it. Once we know what team won the basketball game, we usually overestimate how likely that outcome was. Greats of literature and cinema always knew this and used this technique to their advantage to craft portrayals that would make the audience want to review crucial points of the story. For instance, the end of The Sixth Sense repeats a few earlier scenes of the movie to make the audience understand that the character of Bruce Willis has been dead the whole time – a fact that seems clear in hindsight. That is also one of the reasons why writers add false clues to their works. Taking this into account, movie spoilers do not seem that bad after all. Statistics show that even when the plot twist is already known, the audience doesn’t buy it right away. Nonetheless, some studies have shown that spoilers can boost enjoyment for viewers because they can process and understand the story better.

Avoid summarizing

Dodge explicitly that is stating the point of your essay. It’s less sufficient when you spell it out for someone. You need to get rid of every single “That’s when it hit me,” “I realized,” and “The most important lesson of my life was…” It’s excessive, unconvincing, and takes the reader out of the reading flow. Here’s what can you do instead – let them read between the lines of your story and leave the meaning of the story up to their interpretation. Don’t say something like, “And that’s how I learned to appreciate little things in life,” because your audience should already understand it. When you watch a movie, the expression of the actor, the sigh, or the closing door sound can speak way louder than words. Even if your actions are small, they can still be loaded with deep meaning. It can even be deciding to smile, dance, or hug someone. It just has to represent that you’ve made a decision, taken a risk, or changed yourself.

So, these are the best tips for your essay. Feel free to use them and enjoy the boost of your essay writing.