The College Essay-What Do Colleges Look For?

The personal statement or college essay is your opportunity to discuss anything that is not reflected in another part of your college application. Are there questions that college admission officers might want to ask you after reading your application? Universities like to see examples and evidence of what you have done in your life and how you will contribute to their college community.

The personal statement gives you the chance to write about yourself. Writing about yourself can be tough, but once you get a grasp on how to write a good personal statement, you will have no problem. College admissions officers want to know about your goals and values and what you have learned from your experiences. They are looking for students who are mature, honest, sincere and self-motivated.

Students frequently look at the college essay prompts and cannot imagine where to begin. The important thing is to put down some ideas and brainstorm what you could say about each of them. When answering the personal statement questions, it is important to show, not tell. Find stories from your experiences that will illustrate these ideas. This provides you a chance to reveal your personality, insight, and commitment. The danger is that it is open-ended, so you need to focus

College admissions officers may have hundreds of college essays to shift through, so making yours unique gives them something fresh to read and a renewed interest in finding out more about you. It is always a good idea to mention a few statements about the school you are applying to and why you are interested in attending.

If they ask a specific question, make sure you adequately answer that question. If they list a specific length requirement, make sure you are within its limits. The questions may be similar, but the intent behind them could be completely different. Give a sincere effort and find out what the college is looking for with their questions and answer them all as if it is the only school you are applying to.

Composing a college essay can be intimidating, so I encourage you to begin well before the deadline in order to take pressure off yourself and improve the quality of the final draft. Read the application instructions carefully. Have someone else read the personal statement for clarity and grammar. Have someone who does not know you well read the essay for content and interest. Most importantly, draft and revise until you are satisfied.

Finally, remember that a personal statement is about you. It should not be a laundry list of your accomplishments, but more events that have shaped your interests, attitudes, and academic focus. This is your opportunity to sell yourself and improve your chances for college admissions.

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