Ways to write a common application essay

February 17, 2015

Content common application letter

The Common Application Essay – Some Pointers

In case anybody reading isn't aware, the common application essay is part of what is known as the common application. Here is how it works. As a potential college student, chances are that you are interested in applying to a variety of colleges. This could mean filling out a separate application for each college and submitting a separate admissions essay for each college. Now, imagine if you only had to do that one time, and that one step put you into the running for admission to a variety of colleges. This is the point of the common application, and the common essay. This could mean that your FSU application essay and your Rutgers application essay could be submitted at the same time, along with all of the other mandatory application information. Of course this isn't limited to undergraduate studies; it is also possible to submit an MBA application essay via the common application. Now, we have to talk about the hard part. Submitting an application essay through the common application means that you only have one chance to get it right. This means that you need your essay to please admissions counselors from a variety of schools who have a variety of points of view. Here are some pointers that will help you produce a “winning” essay.

Don't Panic

Yes, this is essay important, but you will get through it. You just need to concentrate on quality. It doesn't matter if you are writing a scholarship application essay or an admissions essay, the elements are the same. What you should understand is that colleges are interested in students who have a story to tell. So, when you write your scholarship application essay, concentrate on that. What is your story to tell?  Have you ever:

  • Lived in a culture different from your own
  • Recovered from a devastating life event
  • Saved a life
  • Made an unexpected friend
  • Won a gold medal
  • Struggled to accomplish something that everybody else thought was impossible
  • Failed and learned from it

Now, you will be given options for your application essay, and currently, there are four. Think about these things as you look at the prompt options you have. One or more will directly relate to an event or experience you have had, and you should select the one that fits the best. Now you have your topic!

Embrace Your Creative Talents

Are you an accomplished poet or songwriter? Do you have artistic talent or a quick wit? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then use these talents as you prepare your essay. Get the attention of the folks who are processing and reviewing your application! Be proud and represent yourself and your talents. It will make you stand out from the rest of the other applicants. If you aren't comfortable with any of this, however, don't force it. Sincerity is also a talent. A well written essay that takes on a genuine and sincere point of view is a wonderful thing.

Look at Samples Online

With a simple Internet search, you will find samples of common application essays that are regarded as exceptional and/or especially creative. Read through these, and use them to give yourself some ideas for your own personal statement. You will see the following characteristics of these great essays:

  1. The introduction is rather stunning – it will begin with a short grabbing statement or a short anecdote. And the rest of the introduction will introduce the main point or “theme” of the essay.
  2. The body paragraphs will be impeccably written, with strong topic sentences, great detail, and the use of strong descriptive words that appeal to the senses.
  3. There are good transitions between paragraphs, so that the entire essay flows smoothly.

Perfect grammar, excellent grasp of vocabulary, and a variety of sentence types show that the writer has taken the time to really polish the piece.

Look for Writing Help

If you are really stuck, you should get some help. Is there an English teacher to whom you can go? Is there a family member who is a great, creative writer with good ideas? You can also look online for professional writing assistance. There are a lot of online writing services who specialize in college application essays. You can find a personal consultant to assist with the composition or to review, edit and polish what you have already written!