How To Write a College Essay

How To Write a College Essay

When applying for college, the most common approach involves filling out application forms and sending out credentials and not much is mentioned about college application essays. As such, most students will concentrate on making sure that they have the right grades to get into a certain college. However, this is barely the minimum requirement for getting into most colleges. The greater majority of the colleges will require the students to write a college paper where they detail their aspirations and their values.

Content of this article

  1. How to start
  2. Topics list
  3. Complete guide on writing
  4. Outline sample
  5. Winning strategy

A college application essay is a significant way of letting the panel know more about the student. Using the paper, the students are supposed to detail some intriguing highlights about their person, their educational goals, career goals, why it is they chose the college in question, and what they hope to achieve after getting to the college they chose. A college application essay is an important aspect as it helps the panel, select the best students that show the right kind of motivation, for placement into some of their programs.

How to Start a College Essay

  • A good college essay is not just persuasive, it is a piece that highlights the right attitude towards the college, the personal aspirations, and the vision the student has once they get into the school.
  • The student should be in a position to share their values and dreams they hope to achieve once they get the chance to get into the college in the discussion.
  • The student should clearly indicate, that they have quality personal and career goals, which they feel the college is best placed to meet.
  • It also shows they have done their homework, and understanding how it is the college they have chosen will help them to achieve the same.
  • Clearly indicating the career goals, helps the panel to narrow down on students with a vision.

College Essay Topics

When selecting the right college essay topics, students should be keen to concentrate on the main ideas they are trying to pass on in their essays. By understanding the paper is to be reviewed by a panel, as a way of making sure they get placed into one of the programs at a college, they are able to review their choices. The topic should be professional and at the same time bring out the core values and aspirations of the candidate in the direction they would want to move in the future. The topics for the college essay are usually framed as prompts, which urge the student to come up with an answer. It is from their answer that they are gauged on their values and aspirations.

Below are some of the examples in the form of prompts a student will likely encounter in a college essay request.

  1. What is your story?
  2. What are the learning failures that you have experienced?
  3. What is your greatest achievement?
  4. What challenges have you experienced in your education and how did you overcome them?
  5. Challenge a belief
  6. What are your core problem-solving skills?
  7. Which are the major milestones from your childhood to the moment?
  8. Describe one of the leaders you admire
  9. What is the greatest challenge in society and how would you resolve it given a chance?
  10. Why did you choose our college?
  11. How will joining our college assist you in achieving your goals?
  12. Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
  13. What is the best book you have read this year?
  14. Describe an experience that changed your life outlook
  15. What do plan on doing after you graduate?
  16. Assuming there is only one position at the college, why should you be chosen?
  17. What is it you feel separates you from the rest of the candidates?

College Essay Writing Step-by-Step Guide

  1. When writing a college admission essay, the structure is dependent on the prompt the student is asked to respond to. For example, if the student is asked to respond to a prompt related to what they plan to do once they graduate from college, there is a structure that would best fit the prompt.
  2. It will include an introduction, where the candidate takes the chance to introduce themselves to the panel; relative to their background and their identity, personally and professionally.
  3. After the introduction, the student will choose a thesis statement, that relates to their goals after graduating.
  4. This is then followed by their educational goals after they graduate, their career goals and finally why they chose the college to achieve these goals.
  5. The student may also include a paragraph on the need for their application before they can conclude their essay.
  6. College entrance essays as stated above will have a thesis statement. It is important the student is able to develop a thesis statement that is fitting with their goals.
  7. A thesis statement acts as a guide, on which the rest of the paper is hinged. It is supposed to be framed in a manner that is debatable. This way it gives the student the legroom to discuss all the aspirations and the goals they have with reference to how they feel the college of choice will assist them to achieve.
  8. The key is to frame the thesis statement as an argument, so there is a trajectory towards justifying the reasons in the essay.
  9. It gives the student some aspect of an opinionated approach toward the answer. As such, they are able to give their answer from their point of view, giving the panel a chance to really connect with the student and their values.
  10. When writing a college admission essay, the paragraphs should be organized in such a way they give a different idea from the next.
  11. At the start of the paragraph, there is a topic sentence that gives insight into what is to be discussed in the paragraph.
  12. The sentences which follow act as evidence to support the topic sentence and build on the argument.
  13. The last part of the paragraph acts as the transition into the next paragraph. the paragraphs are usually short and to the point, to avoid redundancy.
  14. The college essay conclusion is supposed to bring to close the argument in the essay.
  15. Using the conclusion, the student will summarize their aspirations and values and then point to why they would want to join the college of choice, and then point out what they plan to do after they have graduated.

Outline sample


  • Thesis statement: join a professionals’ association to gainfully create connections

Body paragraphs

  • Search for the top professional associations in the industry
  • Attain membership
  • Create professional connections



It is important that students use academic sources to improve their credibility. Using academic sources shows the student appreciates the quality work of other academicians and points toward their educational background. The best places to get the sources are from institutional websites.

How to finish a college essay

One of the key aspects of a college essay is, that it should be grammatically coherent. It means, the student should proofread their work to make sure there are no typos and other grammatical mistakes which could easily discredit them. This is then followed by correct citations and making the right title choice.

Writing a winning college essay needs following steps:

  1. Use simple language that is clear
  2. Avoid the use of jargon as this is an academic essay
  3. Clearly indicate the career and academic goals
  4. Make the paper your own
  5. Clearly reference your work
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