Writing the College Application Essay: Ten Words That Will Improve Your Essay , No. 2

This blog is the second in a series called, “Ten Words That Will Improve Your College Application Essay.” In each of the blogs, I’ll examine a key word as it relates to writing the college application essay, and describe how it can help you.

The word for today is “resist.”

There are several ways this word relates to your college application essay, the most important of which is, “Resist the urge to write.”

In the healthy desire to complete their essays, students sometimes start writing before they have fully explored their options for a topic. They get an idea, like it, head for the computer. While this approach can produce an effective application essay, there are times when a more compelling topic can be found, just by continuing to search. My suggestion, then, is that even when you’ve found a topic you like, keep going deeper. You can always come back to that first idea, but you might also find a better one.

“Resist the urge to write” also refers to the actual writing process. Students, again with good intentions, will sometimes jump on the writing before they have developed a solid structure for the essay. This can lead to a disorganized essay and word count issues. Instead, it is always better to create a strong outline and then work with that – moving ideas around, adding, deleting, refining – until you know exactly where you are heading with your essay. It may take some time upfront, but will save hours of frustration on the other side.

Another way the word “resist” will improve your college application essay is to use it as a reminder that Admissions Directors are extremely aware of when a student is selling him or herself. And they will resist that. The stronger approach is to write an essay that speaks for itself in terms of positioning you as an attractive applicant, that demonstrates your maturity and strong character rather than states it directly.

That’s about it for “resist,” although if any of my readers have an additional way this word can improve your college application essay, I’d love to hear it. In any case, stay tuned for more words in the weeks ahead.

For more personal help with the college application essay, please contact Craig Heller directly at 818-340-1276 or [email protected].

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