5 Tips for Better College Application Essay Revision
Revising your college application essay can be a daunting and stressful process. Along with all your college entrance exams, you also need a strong college application essay. However, if you follow these five measures when revising your essay, you can be confident in the fact that you have produced a professional representation of yourself, which will significantly improve your chances of being accepted by your chosen college.
- Have someone else analyze your content
It can often be difficult to analyze your own writing and determine whether you have expressed your message effectively. One method of checking this is to write down in one sentence what you want the message of your application essay to be. Then remove your introduction and conclusion from your essay, and hand the main content, as well as the brief sentence which you have just written, to someone else to read. Subsequently, they will be able to tell you how similar your content is to the actual message you wished to impart. Therefore you can revise your essay in specific areas in order to convey your message more effectively.
- Make your application unique
It is fundamental that your application essay appears unique. When revising your essay, ask yourself; what does this essay impart to the reader about me? Analyze the terminology you have utilized throughout the essay in order to gain insight as to how you have portrayed yourself. For example, is the language too informal or simplistic? Furthermore, is there anything within your essay which defines it as memorable? You do not want colleges to gloss over your essay and add it to the masses. If your essay is too generic, it lacks creativity. You need to engage and sustain your reader’s curiosity with your application essay, in order to make sure they remember and recommend you. Deliberate on what it is about certain academic subjects which interests you and attempt to convey this passion and emotional investment within your essay.
- Structure is key
Fluidity is crucial to the success of any college application essay. If paragraphs are disjointed, it appears as if you do not care enough to correct your essay. You need to ensure your thoughts flow properly, and that the evidence you have included supports each of the relevant points you have made. Moreover, step back and look at the shape of your essay. Are the paragraph lengths consistent? If you have one short paragraph and then one long diatribe, you risk your essay appearing imbalanced. Similarly, vary the length and structure of your sentences. If they are all short; your essay appears simplistic, whereas if they are too long; you run the risk of rambling. Furthermore, your introduction and conclusion need to integrate with the rest of your essay, rather than simply providing bookends. Your introduction should instigate the content within your paragraphs, whilst your conclusion should draw naturally from your earlier paragraphs and provide a clear and concise final point.
- First sentences are important
The first sentence of each paragraph should be clear, concise and detail the content of the following paragraph. It needs to be detailed such that, if someone was only to read the first sentence of each of your paragraphs, they would still be able understand what the entirety of each paragraph would be about. Bear in mind that admissions officers have thousands of essays to read. Therefore your essay needs to grip them, engaging their curiosity and leading them through your arguments, without requiring them to decipher your intent or message.
Scrutinize your essay. Read it once, then read it again. Then once you have finished, read it again! Check every single punctuation mark, every capitalization, and every quote for typos. Check the spelling and grammar and if you are unsure of anything, ask someone else to read your essay and advise you. There is a wealth of online resources which provide help and advice on grammatical checks as well as the content of college application essays as well as entry tests. Keep rereading and altering the spelling, grammar and style of your essay until you are completely confident that it imparts what you want to say, how you want to say it. This way, when you submit your college application essay, you can remain confident that you have produced a cogent, fluid, grammatically correct essay to the best of your ability.
This article was written by George Campbell. George is a freelance writer from Birmingham, England. He has been a teacher for four years and loves writing about education, but he is versatile and he also writes across a variety of other topics. You can stay connected with George through his Google+ profile and Twitter.