Student Voice of Denver South High School

Tips For Writing College Essays

October 6, 2017

It’s that time again! While I’m sure at this point you’re sickened by the thought of college applications,
your essay is a vital part to creating an accurate depiction of your character. Whether you have a 4.0 or a
1.0, your essay can sway you towards acceptance. It’s important to keep in mind that no matter your
circumstances, you have a story to tell. So without further adieu here are some tips for your college essay.

1. Get Personal. Use a topic that engages interest. Whether that ignites tension or energy, you are
avoiding boredom. This is a personal essay not an academic paper. Remember that the same
person reading your essay has probably read 100, just within that day. So stand out!

2. Make a couple drafts(or a million). While you should already be aware of this, don’t wait until the
last minute! Your idea needs to be original and the best way to achieve this is by seeing if your
essay stands the test of time. Wait a week after finishing your draft and see if it still holds the
same impact. Even scribbling down ideas as they come is a great way to find your voice. Which
brings me to yet another incredibly important point, voice. It’s what distinguishes you from the
hundreds of other applicants and allows the admissions to view you as more than a name on a
paper.

3. Write informally and make your essay long. Don’t immediately start at a 650 word limit. Write a
novel and see what portions resonate. Edit out anything that isn’t essential to the theme.

4. Remember your circumstance. If you have strong academics and extracurriculars I’d suggest
recounting a time where you experienced failure or struggle. Not necessarily the time you didn’t
make the football team but instead a time that shaped you.

5. Don’t feel the need to have a major accomplishment to produce your essay. While you may not
have found a cure for cancer, there is certainly a time you pushed yourself to achieve.

6. Don’t make excuses. No admissions counselor wants you to justify a bad grade, a poor test score,
or a suspension, whatever. Move on. How did you grow? What crafted the person you are today?

7. Talk to someone. Whether it’s Meredith in the future center or your personal counselor, get a
second opinion on your writing(preferably from a professional.)

With all of this in mind remember that a college just wants to see a genuine student who’s grown over
their high school experience. In the wise words of Mr. Jacoby your college essay is “A chance to
showcase who you are in a creative way.” So depict yourself in a light that represents your true character.