Write Your College Essay

Write Your College Essay

Does this picture sound familiar? Last year, you were looking forward to a carefree senior year. College applications can’t be that bad, right? Now, you’re drowning in an endless sea of questionnaires. You wish you could grab your freshman self by the neck and force her to sign up for more clubs, participate more, get better grades. And, worst of all, you somehow are expected to humbly compile everything good about yourself into a six-hundred word paper. 

If so, you are not alone. Most every senior at Magnet is hustling to complete and submit college applications, including the dreaded college essay. But never fear: along with the help of our wonderful AMHS English Department, I have compiled a list of tips and advice to help you write your college essay!


Ms. Akery- Address the Prompt

Ms. Akery reminds students of a simple yet often forgotten fact: the prompt is the guiding force of the essay. “Very often, students get caught up in sounding intelligent and forget to address what the prompt is actually telling them to do,” she explains. “When you are given a prompt for an essay, ask yourself, ‘What is this prompt asking me to do and how does it want me to do it?’ If it sounds overly simple, that’s because it is and should be!” 


Ms. Benton- Have Your Own Voice, and Beware Narration

Ms. Benton emphasizes the importance of having your own voice. “Remember that your insights may come across as more common than you realize, so you need to put a spin on them to show your personalized experience,” she advises. She offers the example of a former Magnet student who wrote about receiving a suture kit at the age of thirteen, her appreciation for the support of her family, and the ways she began preparing for a career as a surgeon. 

Ms. Benton also advises students to avoid writing an extensive ‘plot summary.’ “While the prompt may ask you to tell about a time…, it likely is seeking to learn about how you learned, changed, grew, etc. not just the incident itself.” She advises students to break up any narration with analysis and active voice!


Ms. Smith- Do Your Research

Ms. Smith reminds us that every university is different in their expectations, and that it is impossible to give any advice that could cover every situation. She suggests that students use the wide base of online resources and information dedicated to helping students write their essay. She advises students to “make sure the sources are reliable and then read a few tips from each one.” This variety of advice will allow students to model their essay properly while also providing a unique perspective.


Good luck to every senior applying for college this year! I hope this advice helps.