Guest Post

Guest Post: Are My Admission Essays Done? A Quick, 5-Step Checklist Before You Press Submit

Comments Off on Guest Post: Are My Admission Essays Done? A Quick, 5-Step Checklist Before You Press Submit 04 December 2015

FullSizeRender

When writing admissions essays, it can be difficult to decide where to end.  You might ask yourself if you did enough proofreading or you may want to add in or take out ideas from your draft.  Unless you have a clear plan, you could continue to edit your essay forever! In this guest post, Carol Barash, founder and CEO of Story2, gives you a useful checklist to help you decide if you can finally call your essay finished.

Your essays are an essential part of your college applications, and sometimes it’s hard to stop revising them and say “I’m done!” But how do you actually know when your Common App and other college application essays are ready to submit? Trust your gut, but first work through this 5-step checklist:

 

  1. Do I draw the reader in from the first sentence?

Don’t start your essay by stating the obvious: “Hi, I’m a senior in High School, and I’m writing this essay so I can get into college.” The first sentence of your essay should draw the reader into your story like a MAGNET. Jump right in. Here’s an example: “I woke up to a splash of water on my face. ‘Get up,’ Juan said to me, ‘We’re moving.’”

 

  1. Do I show how I learned, grew, or made a difference?

This is the PIVOT—a turn in the action when you risk something, learn something, or try something new. It’s where you change or take action in some way. The PIVOT shifts the direction of your story and keeps the reader engaged.

 

  1. Do I end in the action?

Your ending should not summarize what you’ve already told the reader. Instead your final sentence, the GLOW, should end in the action, creating a lasting impression and leaving the reader wanting to know more about you. Here is an example from one of our students: “And though it was no masterpiece of genius it was a working robot.”

 

  1. Have I replaced general things that many people can say with specific Details, Dialogue and Description from my own experience?

You can make every sentence of your essay more powerful by replacing general ideas, as well as thoughts and interpretations that happen in your own mind, with actions that take place in the world of shared human experience. Sensory details, dialogue (what people said), and physical description (such as where you are and who else is there) make your essay uniquely your own, while drawing the reader into your unique experience.

 

  1. If it’s a supplemental essay for a specific college, have I done the research to show how I would take advantage of their people and programs?

In supplemental essays, colleges want to see your interest in their community specifically and why you would fit in. Before you write the essay, make sure you understand the values of the college—talk to current students and do research. Think about relevant activities you’re involved in now, and then build a bridge to show what you will do in college and beyond.

 

Avoid the temptation to over-edit your essays. Many students take writing that is fresh and edit it so much that they lose their voice and personality.

 

Think about the stories that only you can tell. The Story2 online EssayBuilder is here to help you find your unique moments, and turn those moments into powerful personal essays. It will help you get all your essays organized, too, and it’s free for all students in the College Greenlight community by using the code GREENLIGHT at checkout. You’ll start by telling your story out loud to activate your creativity and memory. When you tell your story out loud, you’ll find specific details without even trying.

 

In working through EssayBuilder, you’ll move from general ideas that many people can say to a story that reflects your unique character and point of view. Revealing your character is your best bet for winning admissions and scholarships at the most selective colleges.

 

Need help figuring out which stories to tell and how to tell them in your college admission and scholarship essays? Call 800-206-5530 or email getstarted@story2.com to learn more about Story2 written feedback and online coaching.

 

© 2015 Story2. All rights reserved.

 

 

Comments are closed.

Join us!

Create a free profile and...
  • Discover more than $11 billion in scholarships and merit aid
  • Get your college matches and see which colleges want you
  • Instantly see your admissions chances for getting into the college of your dreams
Create My Profile Now