What Should A College Essay Look Like

They’re also the only opportunity you get (unless the college offers interviews) to showcase your personality, values, and voice.To avoid writing your essay on a topic that might earn you a rejection letter, check out the five topics you should never write about in your college essay below.The 2018-19 version of the Common Application has an essay length limit of 650 words.

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John Mahoney, the director of undergraduate admissions at Boston College, says, “After reading [hero essays], we’d often love to admit Mom or Dad, but the applicant has told us nothing about themselves.” If you write about someone who influenced your life, make sure that you only briefly describe them.

Spend most of the essay focusing on yourself and how your personality or choices have been shaped because of this person.

While this advice may be true for some colleges, for many others it will not be.

If a college requires an essay, it is because it has holistic admissions and wants to get to know its applicants as more than a list of grades and standardized test scores.

In 20, the Common Application had a 500-word limit, but many colleges that use the application thought that constraint was a little too short.

Prior to 2011, the length of the essay was set by the judgment of the applicant (and some applicants who wrote 1,200-word essays showed bad judgment).While the maximum length for the Common Application essay is 650 words, the minimum length is 250 words.I've heard counselors advise students to keep their essays on the shorter end of the spectrum because college admissions offices are very busy, and they will appreciate short essays.However, for any application essay you write, follow the directions.If a college wants a long essay, the directions will ask for it.The essay is typically the most powerful tool you have for conveying who you are and what you care about.If you've chosen the right focus for your essay—one that reveals something meaningful about you—you're going to need far more than 250 words to provide the type of detail and self-reflection that makes an essay effective.You'll find supplemental essays with length limits ranging from 50 words and up. After all, 650 words is not a lot of space in which to convey your personality, passions, and writing ability to the folks in the admissions office. In previous years, applicants could attach their essays to the application, and this allowed them to attach essays that were too long.And with holistic admissions, schools really do want to get to know the person behind your test scores and grades, and the essay is one of the best places for showcasing who you are. With CA4, the current Common Application, you'll need to enter your essay in a text box that counts words.Not all colleges, however, are fans of the shorter length.Some colleges like a longer essay because they can get to know their applicants better, and they get to see how well applicants can sustain focus in a longer piece of writing (a valuable college skill).


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