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Patch Blog: College Advising--How to Write the Common Application Essay

Writing the Common Application Essay doesn't have to be a brutal experience. Write about what you care about and you'll shine.

Summertime is a great time for swinging in a hammock and letting your mind run free.  Are you ready to use your hammock time to write your common application essay?  Or are you the one who swims to the bottom of the pool whenever you think of such a monumental task?  Start early and have no fear!  Below are a few tips to help you write an essay that will be fun to write and won’t be lost in the pile!

  1. Make yourself interesting.  If you are interesting, your writing will be, too.  Think deeply about your life and experiences, or simply read the newspaper and find an issue that you care about. Choose a topic that moves you greatly.  If you feel a surge of passion about an incident or issue, so will your readers.
  2. Write long, then pare it down.  500 words isn’t much.  Make it 750 or a 1000 (like the old days) and then cut it down to 500 words.  It is so much easier to take out the extras in a long essay than to build up a shorter one.
  3. Add a bit of visual detail or dialog.  Help us experience your world by taking us there through descriptive images.
  4. Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly.  Try writing without any adverbs or adjectives, then add in a few as needed. 
  5. Edit, edit, edit.  Read your essay aloud to a parent, teacher, friend, or the face in the mirror. Sending a slightly flawed essay may reflect badly on you.  By hearing the words read aloud, you will catch everything from punctuation to spelling to lapses in logic.

Enjoy your writing and be proud of what you say!

--All the best from PerfectFitCollege.Net

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

martin press July 31, 2012 at 02:38 AM
There was a blog post on the Huff Po College page about why you should write your common app essay now. Was written by a guy that owns a college essay comp called yourbestcollegeessay.com Good article! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-s-schwartz/five-reason-why-common-app_b_1669480.html
Patti Brugman August 01, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Dear Martin: Exactly! Now is the time! And today is the day: August 1st is the day the Common Application officially opens for business. Thanks for you comment and the link!

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