How to Write a Great College Essay

By Stefan Jokowski

The best papers are those that have a purpose. They are more than random thoughts written on paper or trying to fill a paper with the words in order to get the necessary number for an assigned word count. Whether you are allowed to choose your own theme, or if you have strict guidelines, the best papers address one of three areas.

1. Instruct or teach the reader about something

2. Give the reader something to enjoy

3. Move or persuade the reader to feel something or take action

The best college essays accomplish one or more of these goals, along with following some other simple suggestions. Bad college essays do not accomplish any of these goals. An essay can have excellent structure, spelling and grammar, but if there is no purpose, the essay does not accomplish the most important goal there is.

Teach or advise the reader

Admission papers, documents, and scientific articles are designed to help readers learn something. Admission documents often teach the reader about the author. Academic essays often have been assigned topics and essays for grants may the same way. Your readers may already know what you are trying to say, but if you write as if they do not, you will have a great essay.

Give the reader something to enjoy

It can be an admissions paper explaining your unique qualities or a theoretical paper on an assigned topic, leave the reader with something they liked about what you wrote. When writing academic or scholarship papers, it is particularly important for the reader to enjoy your paper. You can do this by writing about topics the institution values, explicitly following the instructions, and coincide with the values specified in the paper. In the paper, write so that the reader appreciates the subject you are writing about. You can do this by making appropriate investigations and using great detail in the descriptions

Drive or change the mind of the reader

Another important goal in the best college papers is to move or persuade the reader to do or feel something. If the reader is supposed to feel emotions, you can use descriptive language to fill the reader with emotions. If the goal is more convincing, think of your document as a "call to action" that will be so powerful that it will command your readers to get off the sofa to follow you.

Follow the instructions

Nothing irritates a teacher or admissions counselor more than to read an essay, only to find that the basic instructions were not followed. The best college essays follow the instructions perfectly. Many admissions officers do not even consider applicants that do not follow the instructions. You can do this by showing that you have done all the reading, citing the appropriate resources, and be sure the product followed the directions.

Do not turn off the reader

Great! You have a finished product! Now, make sure the essay does not contain any of the following problems that are sure to turn off the reader or hurt your chances of admission.

1. Claims not supported - using words like "always" "never," "all", etc. is a sure way to make the document more dramatic than it should be.

2. Writing tone - Do not turn off your readers.

3. Distractions - avoid using a lot of unnecessary punctuation marks like exclamation marks, emoticons and special characters.

4. Wordiness - don't write exceptionally long sentences or paragraphs because it will be hard for the reader to dissect what you are saying.

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