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College Essays. Do’s and Don’ts. Peterson’s Best College Admission Essays by Mark Alan Stewart & Cynthia C. Muchnick. DO Favorite Teacher Coach Arch-Rival Struggling Student at School Neighbor Distant Relative DON’T Immediate Family Best Friend Dog/Cat. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


College Essays

College EssaysDos and Donts

Petersons Best College Admission Essays by Mark Alan Stewart & Cynthia C. MuchnickPersonal Relationships and InfluencesDOFavorite TeacherCoachArch-RivalStruggling Student at SchoolNeighborDistant RelativeDONTImmediate FamilyBest FriendDog/Cat

IssuesDOIndividual RightsConsumerismFairness/JusticeFree TradeInternet Issues (privacy, alienation, education)

DONTEnvironmentWorld PeacePrejudice/DiscriminationDrugsCrime

Significant EventsDOOrdinary field trip turned unexpected adventureSong, Poem, Novel that made a deep impactUnexpected gift from unexpected sourceAn informal social situation that you replay over and overTeachers or authority figures let their guard downDONTCollege Admission ProcessBig Trip to Faraway PlaceWilderness SurvivalWinning/Losing a GameHow Hard Work Pays OffMost unforgettable experience

Personal QualitiesDOThose little habits that sometimes annoy othersA time you put your foot in your mouthAn attachment to a personal possessionStudy habits you would like to changeYour unusual awkwardness in social situationsDONTList of your favorite thingsYour determination and tenacityYour diversity

Theme and ContentDOConvey a positive messageStrive for depth, not breadthConvey your true and genuine thoughts/feelingsWrite about something you feel strongly aboutWrite about what you know or have experienced firsthandWrite about other people as well as about yourself

Theme and ContentDONTTry to sell yourselfWrite an important or scholarly essayTry to guess what the admission committee wantsRehash what the reader already knows about youWaste your essay to explain red flags in your applicationWrite anything that might embarrass the readerWrite an essay that reads like a newspaperEven think about mentioning popular TV shows, movies, musicians, or actors

Structure and FormatDOKISS Keep It Super SimpleUse logical, frequent paragraph breaks

DONTLimit yourself to the 5 paragraph essay format you learned in English classUse poetry unless its the only way to get your message acrossUse drawings unless you are a serious artist

Style and ToneDONTTry too hard to be funnyInsult or offendWhine, complain, or appear bitter, sarcastic, angry or boastfulCome across as overly humble

Opening SentencesDONTIntroduce yourself to the admission committeeHello, my name is.Ask the readers permission to tell him/her about yourselfPlease permit me to discuss myReiterate the topic or question or itemize the points you will make in subsequent paragraphsIn this essay you will read aboutI will discuss

Opening SentencesDO start your essay with:An enigmatic statement that makes the reader wonder to what or to whom you are referringAn obscure quotation (avoid popular quotations)A thoughtful questionA trivial observation that anyone can relate to but that nobody else would ever think to mentionA paradoxA gross generalizationA confessionAn overly obvious statement

Essay EndingsDO end your essay with:Closure a sense that you have come full circleFinal sentences to end any suspense and to answer any question that you might have posed earlierShort, forceful sentencesDONT end your essay with:Words like finally, in sum, or in conclusionRepeat or sum up in any wayEnd your essay with a quotation

Final GuidelinesDO Use analogies, but dont overdo itIncorporate dialogue into your essayMix up sentence length have more short than longUse an active voice instead of a passive voice(active) The applicant wrote an outstanding essay.(passive) A less-than-outstanding essay was written by the applicant.Proofread and ReviseUse ample margins 1-1 on all sidesUse high resolution laser printerUse highly readable fonts and a font size of 11 or 12


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