Writing The College Application Essay


Are you in the University Transfer Program here at Alamance Community College and applying
to colleges and universities in order to obtain a bachelor’s degree? If so, you will soon be filling
out college applications, which almost always include an essay section. Sometimes it is hard to
think of what to write about. This workshop will help you to brainstorm ideas for your
admissions essay as well as to write and revise it.
There are two reasons why colleges ask you to write an essay as part of your application:
1. To show the admissions committee who you are, in addition to what you’ve done.
2. To show the admissions committee you can write. (Sparknotes Editors)
Step 1: Brainstorming. First, get some ideas about what you can write about.
The application essay is the only place on the application where you can express your
personality—who you are and why you would be a good fit for a college’s sophomore class.
Imagine that admission counselors are reading hundreds, if not thousands, of applications
quickly. They want to be surprised, excited, drawn in because you are unique, interesting,
innovative, committed, undaunted by failure, fascinating, or somehow different from the crowd.
The college application essay can make your application stand out and be noticed. The essay is
the only place to be creative, innovative, and interesting in the entire application.
List as many things you can think or that are creative, innovative, and/or interesting about
List some things you own, that are in your room at home, that are probably unique to you, and
that let your personality come through ________________________________________
With only an approximate 650 word limit you won’t have space to reveal everything about yourself, but
you will have an opportunity to highlight a slice of who you are. You want that slice to be interesting and
(Sparknotes). College admission counselors want to know how well you write, but they
also want to know about your “thought process, values, preferences and style” (McGinty 11). So
what you write about is as important as how well you write it. It is the only opportunity you have
to tell the application committee a little about yourself, your values, your enthusiasm, your
creativity, and your writing ability. Assume that they have already looked at your grades, your
recommendations, your resume, your application itself—they read the essay last.
What have you done that showed your creativity? ______________________________
What have you done that showed your enthusiasm? _____________________________
What have you done that showed your values? __________________________________
What do you do that people find interesting or unusual? __________________________-
From Alamance Community College’s Writing Center


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