Jared P.
Jared P.

How to Write a College Application Essay in Simple Steps

11 min read

Published on: Jan 4, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023

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So you're graduating high school and looking into colleges. An essay or a personal statement is one of the essential components of your application. It is a part of essay writing and writing one has the same components as any essay.

You may be wondering: what is a college application essay? Why do I have to write one? And most importantly - how can I make sure that my essay will help me get into the school of my dreams?

Applying to college can seem like a daunting task. It's important to make sure you write and format your application essay correctly.

In this blog post, we will provide you with tips on how to do just that. We will also provide you with some examples of successful college application essays.

Follow this complete guide and you'll be on your way to submitting a great essay.

What is a College Application Essay?

A college application is a type of essay students need to write when applying to college. It provides an opportunity for them to open up about themselves and showcase their personalities.

It provides admissions officers with a glimpse into who they really are, and why they should accept them as an applicant rather than someone else. It is different from a scholarship essay and must not he confused by it. Both of these essays have different aims.

How Long Should a College Application Essay be?

College essays are not that long, and it is important to keep your word count below the recommended amount.

The Common App, another popular platform for college application essay help, suggests an appropriate range of 250 - 650 words for this type of paper.

Longer essays can lose the readers' interest while shorter ones may not cover enough information about you as a person.

Why Write an Essay for College Application?

The college admissions process is competitive, with thousands of high-achieving students vying for a few spots. With so many qualified candidates in the running, it can be tough to stand out from among them all.

However, an impressive college application essay could make all the difference.

To stand out from the crowd, you'll need to make your application essay memorable. In many cases, it may even be what leads the college towards accepting or denying your admission.

The college application essays are an applicant’s opportunity to let the admissions board know about their unique story. These essays allow you to share information, such as aspects of your personality, that is not mentioned on your application forms.

Therefore, colleges look for creative and well-crafted essays. They want to see that you can write an engaging argument with supporting ideas, so it's important that you write well.

They use the essay as part of their application process to help them determine whether or not someone would be a good fit at their institute.

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How to Start a College Application Essay?

If you want your college application essay to catch someone's attention and make them interested in what is going on, then it needs an engaging beginning. Starting off with something interesting will capture their interest from the start.

It is also known as personal statement that is submitted along with the admission application.

Here are a few ways to start your college admission essay with a hooking introduction:

1. Full Hemingway

You can start with an engaging image-based description. Don’t reveal too much at the start and let the details engage your readers.

2. Mini Hemingway

Capture your readers with a short description of an event, memory, or a situation that is vivid enough to capture your readers’ attention. Keep them hooked with descriptive details of the event.

3. The Philosopher

You can begin by asking a philosophical question that you are passionate to talk about and that will get the readers interested in what you have written. Present your viewpoints to show your creativity and intelligence.

4. The Twist

Another good way is to start by talking about something specific, like your most recent experience or what's going on in your life. Build certain expectations from the readers with your narrative. Then take those emotions one step further with an unexpected outcome, leaving the readers wholly engaged in your writing.

5. The Confession

Admitting to something that you or others might judge you for is an impressive way of drawing attention and hooking the readers.

6. A Random Personal Fact

One way to start an essay is by presenting a random but interesting fact about yourself and then describing how this relates back in some way or form to your essay topic.

7. An Anecdote

You can also begin your essay by telling a short story. Include dialogues if you think they can make your story more engaging.

How to Write a College Application Essay?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an essay for college application. Follow these steps to ensure that you compose a compelling essay.

1. Choose the Focus of Your Essay

The very first step to writing a college application essay is to decide on the focus of your writing.

Choose the type of essay you want to submit. This will provide direction for the rest of your essay writing.

Following are the three major types of college admission essays:

College Application Essay TypeDescription
“You” essayThe “You” essay is a great way for applicants to share their personalities with the readers. This type of personal statement requires you to be honest and creative, but most importantly it wants information about who you are as a person.
“Why Us” essayThe “Why Us” essay gives valid reasons for joining the university you want, so do some research on them. Present solid arguments and details about why being a part of that particular school would benefit you and them in various ways.
“Creative” essayThe “Creative” essay allows students to show off their creativity and capability to write and think outside the box. It is a good opportunity to present your knowledge and ability to express.

After you’ve decided on the type of essay, choose an appropriate college application essay prompt. This will be the focus of your writing.

Ensure that you select a prompt where you can effectively present yourself as unique and valuable to the school.

2. Construct an Outline for Your Essay

The next step is to gather your ideas and construct an outline to organize them. Divide your main ideas into paragraphs and your points further in them. Your outline will act as a roadmap for your essay and guide your writing.

A college application essay outline, just like any other essay, has three components: the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion.

3. Start Composing

Once you have your outline, all you need to do is start writing your essay in the following way:

  • Write an Engaging Introduction

    Sometimes, it is hard to know how to start writing an introduction. There are many different techniques that can be used for introducing yourself and your topic in the right way so as to not only get the readers hooked but also keep their attention throughout. For an engaging introduction, follow the techniques discussed above.

  • Compose Your Main Body

    The main body serves as an opportunity for you to introduce who are and why you matter. Depending on the type of college application essay you’re writing, you can keep the focus on yourself, reasons why you should be admitted, or on the prompt of your choice.

    Provide some background information about yourself. The goal is to give the admissions committee an idea of who you are as an individual. You can discuss why you want to attend the particular school you are applying to. Highlight your noteworthy achievements.

    Keep in mind that the essay should be personal and interesting, so don't be afraid to share something unique about yourself.

  • Conclude Strongly

    As you wrap up your essay with some final thoughts, be sure to include how the school's program will help prepare for college and life after graduation. The conclusion of your essay should carry over the themes found within the rest of the essay.

4. Review Before Submitting

So, how to end a college application essay? The last step before submitting your application is to review your essay. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself to see if your essay is up to par:

  • Is my content cohesive? Is my tone constant?
  • Are there any grammatical or punctuation mistakes?
  • Does it follow the required formatting guidelines?
  • Is my essay unique?
  • Does this give information about me that the rest of my application doesn’t?
  • What image of me does my essay portray?
  • Is it interesting and engaging?
  • Will it make the reader want to know more about me?
  • Will it make the admission officer consider my application?

How to Format a College Application Essay?

There is no one specific answer when it comes to a college application essay format. Different institutes may have different requirements. Usually, it is a lot like a 500 word essay with an exception that it has different aims.

However, there are some general guidelines that you can follow. Use the following format for college application essay if one is not specified:

  • Line spacing should be 1.5 or double-spaced.
  • Leave a one-inch margin on all sides.
  • Your font choice should be easy to read, such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial.
  • Use 12 points for font size.
  • Left-align the text.
  • Each paragraph's first line should be indented.
  • As for the structure of your essay, you will want to have an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Use MLA, APA, Chicago, or Harvard styles for formatting and citations, if not specified.

Here’s an example of a college application essay format for your guidance:

College Application Essay Examples

Now that you know how to write and format your college application essay, it's time to get inspired!

Here are a few examples of successful essays that helped students get accepted into their desired schools.

College Application Essay Tips

Need some inspiration for what to write about in your college application essay? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • An experience that helped shape who you are as a person
  • Reflect on a time when you overcame adversity or faced a challenge and what you learned from the experience
  • A personal story that is meaningful or interesting
  • Your favorite academic subject and why you enjoy it
  • A hobby or activity that you are passionate about
  • A time when you questioned or challenged a belief or an idea
  • A topic idea or concept you find interesting
  • How do you want to impact the society
  • What values are important to you
  • Something that makes your background, identity, interest, or talent unique and meaningful

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College Application Essay Topics

How to write a good college application essay? Here are some tips on how to make your essay stand out. Keep in mind the following as you write:

  • Start your essay early. There are many students who put off their application essays till the end but lose track of time and start rushing when the deadline is near. So, start writing as early as possible. This will give you ample time for revising and editing so that it can be submitted on time.
  • Use your unique voice. Your college application essay should be a reflection of your personality and who you are as an individual. Be sure to talk about what makes you unique, and avoid using clichés.
  • Focus on one main topic. You don't want to try to cover too much ground in your essay. Instead, focus on one specific experience or accomplishment that you want to share with the admissions committee. This will allow you to go into more depth and give the reader a better sense of who you are as a person.
  • Do some research. Invest the time to study your college of choice so you can offer genuine reasons for why you're interested in studying there or what appeals to you the most.
  • Refrain from simply discussing your academic results or test scores. The admission staff will obtain that information from the other materials you've submitted with your application.
  • Don't just emphasize your extracurricular activities. Instead, talk about the knowledge you've gained from all of those experiences.
  • Keep it concise. The admissions committee will likely only spend a few minutes reading your essay, so you want to make sure that you get your point across quickly and effectively. Avoid rambling or going off on tangents. Focus on making every word count.
  • Edit! Once you have a draft of your essay, it's important to go back and revise it until it is as strong as it can be. Don't be afraid to cut out any superfluous information, and make sure that each sentence is clear and concise.

    Have someone else read your essay and give you feedback; sometimes it's helpful to hear an outsider's perspective on your work.

This blog post gives you an easy-to-follow writing guide and perfect examples of well-written college application essays to help you get into the school of your dreams.

While the process can seem daunting, using our guide will help make the task less overwhelming. If you follow our expert tips, you’re sure to produce an essay that will make admissions officers sit up and take notice.

If all of this sounds like too much work or you would rather not deal with the stress, reach out to YourEssayWriter.net for a professional college application essay writing service. We will employ only the best essay writer to you who can take care of all your needs.

Contact us today to get more information or to place your order. Rest assured, our reliable service will ensure complete success for you.

Jared P.


Jared P. (Linguistics, Education)

Jared P is a well-known writer and writing service provider with over fifteen years of expertise in the field. He has a Ph.D. in English Literature and has spent his entire career assisting students in achieving their academic objectives by offering expert writing help.

Jared P is a well-known writer and writing service provider with over fifteen years of expertise in the field. He has a Ph.D. in English Literature and has spent his entire career assisting students in achieving their academic objectives by offering expert writing help.

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