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What is a good strategy for writing a college admissions essay?

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Strategies for writing a college admissions essay include focusing on an event or situation of personal importance or significance, shying away from using others' work, allowing time for rewrites, maintaining a clear focus throughout the essay and proofreading. When writing an essay, choosing a topic that raises questions or explores an unusual subject matter makes a good choice, too. Having others proofread essays upon completion and provide feedback may help strengthen essays and catch grammatical errors.

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When starting an essay, students ideally begin brainstorming, and even writing, well in advance of the deadline. This helps create focused, concise essays. Writing essays about personal significant events, such as overcoming a challenge or dealing with a difficult situation, helps too. Writing about life experiences helps students add emotion and detail to their essays, in turn making them stronger.

After choosing what to write about, students should produce concise, informative essays. Admissions essays average 650 words, as stated by researchers at the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Students should keep in mind the overarching goal throughout, which is convincing admissions counselors why they should be admitted. Highlighting a few noteworthy achievements or accomplishments suffices.

After completing the essay, admissions counselors recommend having a friend or family member proofread the essay for errors. Students may take this time to cut down on wordy essays or elaborate on details if necessary. Before submitting, students should check again for errors, and maintain professional correspondence with the admissions staff, especially when submitting electronically.

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