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Cornell's Education and Learning Newsletter

Educate Cornell’s Five Tips to Nail Your College Essay

Essay writing is simply telling a story. Yet the very thought of writing an essay seems daunting to so many young people. This is because of the starchiness and formality associated with essay writing. It is not surprising then that the prospect of writing a college essay overwhelms and intimidates like no other assignment, especially since it is an invaluable skills in students’ forward pathway into a career.

That fear can lead some students to seek the help of an essay writing company. However, essay helper services are actually doing you a disservice. Think about it. Somebody else thinks for you and creates the product you should be creating yourself. From an ethical perspective, you could be considered cheating as the finished product going under your name has nothing of you in it. Furthermore, it defeats the very purpose of learning because it allows another person to take over your work completely. You therefore sacrifice a precious opportunity to learn and sharpen your skills.

In reality, if you are nervous to embark on your college admission essay, you only need some expert advice and guidance to get you going and to kindle your latent creativity.

Think about your college essay writing exercise as telling a story. Your unique story.

Here are 5 tips to write an essay that will impress the Admissions Board of your dream college and set you off on a vibrant, creative exploration of thoughts and nuances you never thought possible.

  1. Brainstorm extensively – speak with people you can trust, get guidance and come up with different ideas.
  2. Choose a compelling theme – Think of what makes you unique. Remember a touching, heartwarming incident or a painful one, and how you handled it.   Why is it special to you? If it is a painful experience, let it show a positive impact on you. Show that adversity has strengthened your character and made you a better human being.
  3. Choose imagery and vibrant language – Your special story needs to come alive and jump out of the page. Get guidance on words of color and appropriate imagery you could use.
  4. Be clear, concise and focused. Let every word count. Don’t ramble and get side-tracked from telling your story. Make sure you have a distinct and relevant introduction, a tight-knit story that flows through the body copy, and a memorable conclusion that wraps up the story convincingly. Keep it simple and lucid. Avoid run-ons that will confuse the reader. Keep your sentences short and the word count to about 500. Write as you would talk – with honesty. The Admissions Officer will thank you for it.
  5. Edit and proofread repeatedly and get feedback – Make sure the story flows smoothly. Ensure the grammar is flawless and words are not misspelled. Your essay should have distinct quality as you reach for feedback from your trusted peers and advisers.

 With a little bit of expert guidance, you will find that telling your story to College Admissions is not that daunting after all. You might even enjoy it.

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