Make Your College Essay Foolproof
The work isn’t over once you’ve written your college essay. You need to reread and edit your piece so it is clear, grammatically correct and represents you.
Here are some tips for crafting a piece that will wow admissions officers:
Take a Day Away from Your Essay
Although you might be pleased with what you’ve written, time away from your essay will help you see its flaws. Taking a break allows you to identify things you might have missed or should add to the piece. You also can evaluate whether you’ve struck the right tone. Doing this requires time, so be sure to start your college essay long before the application deadline.
Check Spelling and Grammar
Although it might seem obvious, make sure your spelling and grammar checks are on when writing your piece. Your application will be judged by what you write. Spelling and grammar errors will give the admissions staff a bad impression of you.
Misspelled words or grammatically incorrect phrases are red flags that are easily avoided. Also, make sure the spell check doesn’t automatically substitute a wrong word. Although the tool is handy, it doesn’t always know what you’re trying to write.
Spelling correction software might not be able to correct valid spelling errors, such as substituting it’s for its or there for their or they’re. Print a copy of your essay and read it carefully, instead of relying on your word processor to do all the work.
Also, don’t be afraid to look up a phrase or grammar rule. If you’re unsure what you’ve written is correct, double check. You can search online for answers or consult a grammar manual like The Elements of Style, which is widely used by writers and academics.
Ask a Parent or Teacher to Read Your Essay
Having a second set of eyes review your work is a great way to get feedback on the makeup of your essay. In addition to looking for grammatical and spelling errors, a parent or teacher can help you make sure you’ve highlighted your best qualities and achievements. Again, asking someone else to read your essay takes time, so be sure to start early.
Don’t Overthink It Once You’re Done
After you’ve completed your writing and revision process, trust that you’ve done the right thing. Nitpicking at words and phrases will drive you crazy. If you’ve gotten the OK from a parent or teacher, you’re in the clear.