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How do you go about writing a College Personal Essay?

Writing a college personal essay is one of the easiest but most ambiguous part of the college application process. Easy because it does not need any preparation for an exam and taking the exam within a given stipulated time and Ambiguous because it is going to be evaluated based on the admission board’s opinion on it. Anybody can write it, so what will set apart your college personal essay? How do you go about writing a college personal essay?

The following are a few tips:

Clarity of thought and purpose

Your college personal essay is going to portray who you are to the admission board. Be clear about the ultimate goal. The purpose is to convince them why you believe you are a good fit to that college. So, write your essay with this in focus. Try to steer clear of verbose and lengthy paragraphs that detract from the essence of the essay.

Uniqueness and Personal touch

The admission board members read hundreds of college personal essays, make sure yours is not a copy paste of essays written by others. It has to be something unique, what is your passion, what is your learning experience in your high school, what sets you apart from others, etc. It also has to be personal, in the sense, write about your ambitions, your dreams, how college education will help you realise them.

Answering “Tell us your story”

Apart from the above two tips, remember to not to mentally freeze when asked this question about telling your story. It is not about writing a detailed essay on what happened to you, or what is going on in your life. It is a deeper question that you should step back and reflect on. Do not start writing immediately but stop and think about what really is your story. Where do you want to be five years from now, 10 years from now? Why are you applying for this college? What do you want to learn as a person by spending four years in college?

Revision and Correction

Writing the college personal essay is definitely not a one-day job. Set aside two days per week to write the essay, starting well in advance. Once you have finished writing it, please revise it several times. Check for the overall flow, correct any grammatical and spelling mistakes, fact check the essay for any errors. Above all, there should be no contradiction with any other records submitted to the college admission board.

Guidance of Teacher

While the words in the college personal essay should be yours, you must always review it with a teacher or college counsellor who can read your essay and give feedback. Do not send your college personal essay without showing it to at least one teacher. As a high school student, you may feel what you have written is enough, but you may get valuable inputs on what you have missed out from your teacher.

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