If are a senior in high school and are applying to college, the chances are you will be required to write a college admission essay or personal statement so that the admissions officers will have an opportunity to learn more about you.  This essay is often considered to be one of the most important aspects of a college application and has the potential to make or break an admissions decision.  However, there are steps that you can take to make your essay stand out in a large applicant pool and improve your chances of being accepted.

1. Choosing a Topic

For many students applying to college, choosing a topic to write about is the hardest part of the college admission essay process.  Choosing the right topic is a critical component of producing a good essay that will engage the reader.  Today, most college essays are so clichéd that the admissions officers barely give the applicant sufficient attention.  As a result, it is best to choose a topic that is original and that will stand out in a large group of applicants.  In most cases, the best college admission essays elaborate on a relatively insignificant incident in the applicant’s life.  It is best to focus on one experience rather than trying to fit your entire life into the essay.  Try to choose a topic that is original and will help the admissions officers understand your character.  Do not choose a topic that is intended to impress the college, since admissions officers tend to dislike these applicants.  You want to come across in your essay as modest and fun and as the type of student that would contribute to a college atmosphere.  If you have done something truly unique in your life or have endured a significant hardship, feel free to write about these topics since they can often make great essays.  However, it is important to think carefully before jumping into a topic and consider how the admissions officers will react to reading your essay before you begin writing.

2. Writing the Essay

After you have chosen a good topic to write about, it is time to begin writing.  Try to begin with a statement the will attract the reader’s attention and gradually transition into the primary purpose of the essay.  When writing, it is best to maintain a single focus rather than jumping from idea to idea.  Since you want the essay to come across as original, try to keep the essay personal with the primary focus being on your inner thoughts and opinions.  Furthermore, keep the essay concise.  The entire essay should be only around 500 words.  For most students, doing this is challenging since there are so many details that can be added.  In the context of the essay, never ramble on about something and add unneeded details.  Never adjust your essay by incorporating principles that you believe admissions officers will want to hear such as compliments about their college, how much you care about doing good in the world, and how much you will add to a college campus.  Most importantly, reveal your character.  If you are a funny person, try to add a little bit of humor to the essay without coming across as unprofessional.  No matter what tactics you decide to use to write your essay, make sure the finished product is engaging and pleasing to read.

3. Proofread your Essay

After you have finished writing your essay, it is important to proofread and revise.  It is critical that your essay has no grammatical or spelling errors since these mistakes will not impress the admissions officers.  Remember, this is your opportunity to showcase your writing skills so you don’t want to submit your essay with errors. Try to have someone else proofread your essay such as a teacher, parent, librarian, or friend since other people often catch mistakes that you might miss.  In addition, make sure your essay has gentle transition and flows well from idea to idea.  Although the essay is supposed to be personal, it is still important to keep it formal.  Try to avoid using contractions, slang terms, and clichés.  Finally, make sure you edit out any fluff and unneeded details since they tend to take away from the point of the essay.  After proofreading, the essay should be concise, polished, and engaging with a personal tone.  If the essay meets these criteria, you are ready to submit it to the college.  For more information and advice on how to write an amazing college admission essay, there are many great online resources that provide support and offer good sample essays.