College Essay Tips

As you are putting the finishing touches on your college essay, let me give you some tips to proofread by:

  1. Don’t make the mistake of taking a backseat in your own essay. Your transcript is about you, your recommendations are about you, your interview is about you, and, thus, your College Essay should be about you. If you want to write about someone important who was a positive influence in your life, you should let your reader know how you were influenced – how your life changed.  The focus of your essay should NOT be about all the great things your Grammy did and how you hope to be like her some day.  Too much focus on Grammy will make us Admissions Counselors want to admit your Grammy and we will completely forget about you!
  2. Proofread, proofread, profreed (whoops, *proofread* – see it’s important). Proofread is not the same as Spellcheck.  Ask solid writers who are familiar with your voice and your style to read your essay in order to correct grammatical errors, offer advice, and make suggestions.  These proofreaders should be mom, dad, a mentor, that great English teacher you had last year, your best friend, etc.  All of these people know you. They know your style, your voice, your humor.  They know what you are trying to say and they want to help you say it in a concise and efficient manner.
  3. Punctuation goes INSIDE of quotations. “Don’t put punctuation outside of quotations,” cried the pained Admissions Counselor, “because I don’t enjoy reading it.”  Follow that example and you’ll be golden in most American English scenarios (if you speak/write British English, then disregard, good neighbour).

This is not a complete list of tips.  See your local MLA manual, English teacher, and Guidance Counselor for a full list of do’s and do-not’s for the college essay.


Dan Weagle ‘08

Admissions Counselor

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