Skip to main content
Make a Plan

How to Write a
College Essay

The college essay is one of the few chances you have in the college application process to express yourself. So make the most of this opportunity to leave a lasting impression by following our tips on how to write a college essay below.

The college essay is one of the few chances you have in the college application process to express yourself. So make the most of this opportunity to leave a lasting impression by following our tips on how to write a college essay below.

Begin

  • Start Early and Broadly: Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm, and write down all of your thoughts. You can then narrow it down to the most interesting details.
  • Use Your Own Work: It might be tempting (and certainly easier) to copy the work of someone else, but colleges have zero tolerance for plagiarism (and usually detect it).

As You Write

  • Tell Your Story: Write about you, not someone else, and explain something that's personal to you. Write in your own voice, from your own perspective.
  • Hook the Reader: Open with a statement that's engaging, and follow it with well-structured paragraphs and a strong conclusion. Use your imagination and take risks while remaining true to your personality.
  • Share New Information: Don't waste time writing about something that's already in other parts of your application. That is an opportunity to tell the admissions staff something that they don't already know about you.
  • Open Up: Be introspective, descriptive, and candid. Reveal meaningful things about yourself that you don't often express.
  • Follow the Rules: Respect the time of the college admissions staff and stay within the required length of words.

Review

  • Seek Input: Ask a parent, friend, or teacher to read your revised draft and tell you — honestly — if it's well written, compelling, and an honest reflection of who you are.
  • Proofread: Pay close attention to grammar, correct all typos, and double-check that your essay meets the college's length specifications.
Share FacebookTwitterLinkedinEmail