Things to Remember When Writing a College Application Essay

Allison Schottenstein, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Brandeis University, is studying for her PhD in history at the University of Texas at Austin. Beyond her responsibilities as a student, Allison Schottenstein serves as an editor for Scholar Compass, where she helps first-time college students edit their college essays.

College application essays bring up feelings of worry and anxiety for many high school seniors, but there are several ways you can get your essay to stand out among the thousands of others. Following are just a few things to keep in mind when writing a college application essay:

Be yourself. Every individual thinks and interprets things differently, and writing your college essay is a great time to take advantage of this. Rather than placing too much focus on what you think the admissions office wants to hear, write in a way that is unique and honest to you.

Follow instructions. Colleges typically put a lot of thought into the instructions that they lay out for application essays, so it’s important that you follow them. These instructions may appear repetitive after applying to several different colleges, but they are there for a reason. Make sure all your creativity stays within the parameters that have been set.

Be clear and concise. Even though most colleges do not place maximum word limits on their application essays, making an essay too long can delay the review process of your application. Additionally, long and convoluted essays can be difficult to read and may result in readers losing interest in the essay as a whole.