No task fills a high school senior with more anxiety than the task of writing an essay for the college application. And this anxiety is highly justified. If a person is asked to summarize the last seventeen years of his life in 500-600 words, and that too, while highlighting their unique personal traits to stand up against the thousands of other applicants, he is bound to be anxious. Whether it is a highly mundane question about a daily life experience, or about some politically burning issue of the time, students tremble at the thought of being judged on the basis of their essay. Many revolting thoughts take birth in the mind. “If I use some fancy words for myself, will I sound arrogant and rude?”, “ If I don’t use them, will I be able to present my personality in the essay?”. A high school senior’s mind is filled with confusions about the essay.

Here are a few tip on how to write the best College application essay:

1. Be compact and concise

One of the most common mistakes that students do while writing the essay is that they overwrite it. Although, the minimum word count for the essay is 250 words and there is no upper limit, the students should understand that every admission officer has a huge stack of essays to go through everyday. The officer hardly spends three to five minutes on each essay. If you write a really long essay, you might do nothing but strain his patience. So, one should try and be concise and stick to the point.

2. Be what you are, don’t pretend to be someone else.

It is a popular belief that the colleges tend to nod to the disadvantaged students. Due to this, many students try to roughen up their backgrounds. The students  should understand that if their life so far did not consist of a shattering experience, it’s not their fault. Students should understand that fabricating such an experience or event is only going to make it worse. The officers go through a stack of these essays everyday. Therefore, your forced insights will be easily caught.

3. Take into account the college’s point of view

At the end of the day, it’s all about what the college wants. Every college wants to accept a student who will study, graduate and become successful in the world. The college wants its name to be associated with the success of its student. It is the job of the applicant to make the college believe that he is such a student. It is really necessary that you present yourself as someone who has a passion for learning, who has the ability to think critically and someone who is really passionate for success. This is something that the admission officers look out for. The applicant should try to present these qualities.

4. Don’t try so hard!

One of the biggest mistake that the applicants do is trying way hard to impress the admission officer. If we think from the student’s point of view, this mistake or tendency is highly justified. Since it is the question of getting admission in their dream college, the students find it hard to believe that a simple and true essay can get them through. The applicants should understand that their essay does not need to look like it’s written by someone like Shakespeare. In fact, these essays should read like written by an intelligent and smart 17-year old high school student. The examiners are tired of reading about the times when you won a high school basketball championship or some other great deed. It is the everyday objects that the examiner finds really interesting to read about.

5. Share moments from your life

Since the examiner spends an average of five-six minutes on an essay, it is really important to engage him from the starting. It is really common to find an essay being started with a catchy line. Therefore, instead of this, the applicant should try and share a moment. But while sharing this moment, applicant should keep in mind that it cannot be any moment from his life. It needs to be a mini story that should grab the reader and involve him. It should be a story that reveals your character and personality. It should be a story that describes how it shaped you into what you are today and what you will be tomorrow. It is really important to reflect the self awareness from the very beginning.

6. Leave the thesaurus

The applicant should always remember that there is a special portion of the application designated to show off the repertoire of words. Therefore, the task of showing off the vocabulary should be completed there only. There is a reason why the essay is called ‘Personal Essay’. The applicants are expected to write in the exact same manner in which they would speak. The usage of difficult words in the personal essay does nothing but makes the essay sound unnatural and distances the applicant from the examiner. The real motive of the essay is to build a connection between the applicant and the examiner. The usage of SAT words serves the exactly opposite purpose.

7. Use the essay to tell something your application can’t

It is well known that most colleges don’t have the time or bandwidth to research every individual applicant. The college and the examiner can only know as much as the applicant puts in front of them.  If the applicant does not tell them something, there is no way that the examiner can connect the dots. Because at the end of the day, the examiner us just another person reading the essay. The applicant can be a person with brilliant self awareness, crystal clear thinking process and amazing abilities, but until and unless he puts something on the essay evident of these traits, the examiner cannot know about it. The applicant should imagine he is talking to the admission officer in person and answering the question, “Why should we take you and not any other applicant?”. That’s how the applicant can bring out the best essay out of his mind.