The college application essay is probably one of the most important parts of the college admissions process. It’s where you, “the student” get to use your voice to show potential colleges who you are. It’s a collection of your life experiences up to the point in which you are writing the essay. Sometimes when a student isn’t the most academic or athletic, the college application essay is that one thing that can give the student a slight competitive edge. An admissions officer should be able to read your college application essay and really understand what “you” have to offer to their school. Most importantly, you should be able to convey why you want to attend your desired college. When a student writes a well written essay, it allows someone who’s never met them before to kind of feel like they do know them.

Different types of college application essays:

If you’re applying to a University of California (UC), then you’ll have to answer two of the UC system’s essay prompt questions. Your essays will be submitted along with your electronic application.  You can apply to various campuses with the use of just one application and essay.

The common application essay questions are accepted at over 500 colleges and universities. You can create an account with common app and its fee. Then you can see if the colleges you’re interested in applying to are participating members. The great thing about the common app is that it’s a one stop shop. You only fill out one application and you answer one college application essay question. This then gives students the ability to send out their electronic applications to several universities.

Next, you have some private schools who may not participate in the common app. They will inform students of their college application essay questions during the application process. You can also check the college’s website to see if they have it posted under the, “prospective students” section.

A lot of universities and colleges also have supplement essays that have to be included along with your main essay. These are various questions that differ from school to school. It’s designed to help school officials get to know you, “the applicant,” a little better.

Tips for writing an effective essay:

  • Read all the essay prompt questions carefully
  • Take time to brainstorm your ideas ( examine your values, beliefs and experiences)
  • Be authentic (think about what’s unique about you and your surrounding)
  • Give yourself plenty of time (summer before senior year is a great time for college essay writing)
  • You should have several drafts before you get to your final essay.
  • Have someone proof read it before you submit it with your application