What is this handout about? The aim of the handout is to assist you in writing and improving your personal statement needed for your internship, graduate programs, or particular academic programs. When a student needs to write a funny college admission essay, it means that he or she seeks an opportunity to enroll in college or university. College admission essay papers typically do not exceed 2 pages. When you are limited to 500-600 words in writing, you must be particularly careful choosing your words. Depending on the institution to which you apply, you may be asked to write different kinds of admission essays college admission essay format such as personal statement, statement of purpose, and others. You will hardly find any recommendations that fit all admission essay situations. What you need to know is that your task is to present yourself in the best possible light, as a person with bright talents and diverse personal traits. This is how you can successfully enter a college or university of your choice.
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Prior to Writing
Mind that your application essay always affects your progress and career ambitions; so, it is a must for you to concentrate on composing it, with sufficient care, thought, time, and effort devoted to this piece of writing. Although brief and concise, it should give a full picture of your professional aspirations, benefits of the program to you personally, and your role in the program if you are accepted. Do not be too serious. Sometimes a funny college admission essay can be more winning than a well-thought but boring text. Do not be afraid of any challenges. Do not set a strict deadline for writing this essay. Spare enough time to get ready, write the draft, get it read by your friends, revise, amend, improve, and then finalize.
First of all, be careful with instructions. If you are given certain directions, you should follow them. If you fail the instructions of the application essay, the board reading through the essay will conclude that you cannot be considered a successful applicant. You are always given certain word count limits and page limits. It is a wrong approach to write more or less, than you are asked to.
There are two main forms of a personal essay for college:
A general question for a one-page essay
Several specific questions to get short essay answers
It Is Important to Do Research Before Writing. What Should You Consider?
What is your main goal? Why have you chosen this exact area of study? It may sound obvious, but sometimes it is challenging to specify the reasons why you what to enter this exact field. Try to define both the shortcomings and advantages over other fields. Recollect when you got interested in the study. What are your priorities right now? After a brainstorming, write down the best ideas.
Why have you chosen exactly this program? Why do you find this faculty special? Do you like the offered courses? Which facilities do you believe are the most essential for your progress? It may happen that you can think only about general things, without anything particular in your mind. Then it is recommendable to read through the college brochures, attend some relevant events, or meet other students or faculty members. It is always better to be honest in your essays as your false pretense will always be seen easily. For example, the main reason why you want to choose exactly this program is an excellent beach not far from the campus. Maybe, you want to get a nice line in your CV or just want to get a prestigious job and earn good money. If you present those reasons explicitly, you may appear too superficial and be viewed as not a very valuable asset for the company. However, if you turn your reasons into positives but still tell the truth, it will be a great option. You can still refer to a location as one of the aspects of your choice, but the main arguments can be special attachment to a place or need in people of this particular field. You can write a serious or funny college admission essay and find the way to make any selfish reason legitimate.
Try to remember special details to excite the readers’ interest. Are there any anecdotes which can motivate them to pay attention to your personality? Is there anything in your life experience, education, family background, values, or talents that can make you look special in the eyes of the college board? What has brought you to this particular career? What can be interesting for you? What is your main motivation? Have you got any particular skills which may differentiate you among the others: in the areas of communication, management, leadership, research, and so on? Why should you be chosen as the best among other candidates?
Try to be honest when you answer those questions. You may even ask for some help from your friends or family members because those are the people who know you personally. Make a list of your unique traits of character and strengths. Think about illustrations of each of the characteristics or ask your friends to remind you some. For instance, if you see yourself as a diligent person, try to think about a special incident when you revealed this trait of character.
Writing the First Draft
College application essays are not easy to write. When you work on the papers about historical events or characteristics of certain animals, it is clear what you should write about. However, when it goes about you personally, you may be confused at first. Try starting with the use of a free writing technique. Look through the prompts and questions again and then just write whatever comes to your mind for about twenty minutes. What would you like the college board to feel? What do you expect then to think about when they will be reading your paper? Now it is time to collect the ideas, not caring about organization, grammar, spelling, or punctuation.
When the time is over, stop writing and read through what you have got. Select only the most meaningful and relevant statements, eliminating all hackneyed ideas, common phrases, and threadbare thoughts. Saying that the classes of Mr. Black changed your life may be true, but the idea is too general to be accepted as an interesting one. Your task is to express specific ideas particularly about you as a unique personality. Do not include any irrelevant achievements of yours even if you feel proud of them. Do not include any controversial ideas, especially if they deal with religion or people’s faith.
It frequently happens that the applicants use a generalization to start the essay and then go on to specific ideas and meaningful thoughts. This approach is fine if the essay is not overstuffed with generalizations. The best general phrase, even if it is written in perfect English, is worse than a specific sentence which brings new insights in your personality. Try to opt for the variant of more personal sentences.
In some cases, applications require not one essay to be written, but a few short answers. Then, try to add as many vivid details as possible and get straight to the point without generalizations.
Having generated a number of ideas, get more selective. Now draw your focus toward your audience as one of the crucial aspects of your essay. You should understand that the college board always has thousands of applications every year. They have seen loads of essays and seek for something special. Your essay is a chance to be noticeable and to communicate with those people who will eventually decide on your future prospects. You would not like to make them offended, bored, or irritated with your writing, so make your own conclusions.
Things to do and do not do
Do help your readers see that you have acknowledged all the benefits, shortcomings, and challenges of the chosen program.
Do help the readers see that you realize how challenging it may be to be engaged in the field. Demonstrate your moral and psychological readiness to your work in the field.
Do demonstrate that you care about the audience and value their time.
Do provide explanations to any personal details your give about yourself (for instance, low grades). Be honest about your weaknesses, but do not focus on them. It will be interesting for your audience to know how you managed to cope with difficulties and failures.
Do not use repetitions. Every sentence is supposed to be meaningful and effective. Do not add sophisticated words just to make the sentences longer.
Do not be too confident or specific about your future goals. You may sound naive if you focus on your ambition to turn the whole area on its head. Remember that your goals might change, and you should state how those changes will affect you and your plans.
Do not use cliches. Justice is important for lawyers as much as helping people for physicians. However, just fancy how many times the college board could see those general phrases and how little they impress.
Let us think about the worst hypothetical scenario: a person in charge of evaluating the application essays has been working at the position for three decades. She is a respected member of the application committee and she has a pile of essays to read today. Your essay gets to his or her hands when she is already bothered, tired, and probably hungry. Your task is to get him or her interested notwithstanding all those negative factors.
A funny college admission essay may be a good solution, but any type of the applications should show that you are eager to follow all the requirements at college, capable to study well, and interesting as a person to have around.
No emotional influence on the readers is equal to a complete failure. Personal insights and anecdotes from your life experience may be helpful in grasping the readers’ attention, but they are rather hazardous. If you overdo and concentrate only on the impressive form, you may lose the readers’ attention and interest. Too much drama will result in hyperbolization of the reality. Passion shown in writing is great if it does not go too far. Ask your friends to read through your drafts to help you evaluate your writing: lookers-on see more than players.
If you read through the guidelines for writing a personal essay for college, you will see an encouragement to take a risk either with unique approaches to writing or adding some daring statements. This strategy can be effective, as it will distinguish you among the others. Impress the reader and demonstrate your outstanding ability to express your thoughts in an original manner. However, mind the risks related to the strategy. Be careful with what you are saying not to sound offensive, careless, or immature. Even if the essay is funny, it should demonstrate respect to the readers.
It is a risk to use irony, stories about personal failures, or fancy stories about the events to-be. There was an essay of an art program applicant who told not about the person he was, but about the person he did not want to be. Another application essay was focused on the background of the girl’s grandmother, and the readers had to infer the relation of the story to the ambitions of the applicant herself.
Thinking about possible risks, evaluate the credentials you have and your chances to get into the program. If you think your chances are low, try some daring approach to make them higher. However, if you see that your success in your hands, be flexible in your choice of the approach to the essay. Nevertheless, make sure that the readers notice your essays among dozens they will read in the same hour.
After the Draft Writing
College application essays get better if they are revised and edited several times. Ask your mother or your best friend for their comments and get to know their point of view. Compare their opinion with your own one and make changes, if you feel like that. Put the essay away for a day or two and then revise it one more time. Repeat the whole procedure again, and only then start proofreading for minor mistakes. Check all the sentences for the careless errors with punctuation, spelling, and formatting. You cannot afford any slips or mistypes in the most important essay of your life.
If your essay looks too lengthy, do not try fitting it to the page size by the change of margins. Reformatting is a wrong approach to revision of the text. If the readers see an excessively long essay, they will be irritated with little margins. Cut the information which is less important. Check the requirements to the essay again and make sure that you have met the word count instruction.
Proofread your essay. Sounds too much? Not really! The result is worth the bother!
Admission Essay Sample
Bonus Tips to Keep in Mind
Present the admissions committee with the best picture of your personality
Writing an admissions essay is a responsible mission. Therefore, you need to begin with the analysis of your college or university’s website. Run through it to understand mission, vision, and philosophy of the college or university of your choice. Make sure you have properly understood the enrollment criteria and application requirements, before you start writing your college admission essay.
Now you can go straight to writing your admission paper. Develop an outline. Include a list of the things you want to discuss in your paper. You can tell the admissions committee why you want to enter this particular university and how you are going to contribute to its positive reputation and image. Be specific.
In your college admissions essay, follow the structure you have developed in your outline. Include some general background information about yourself, your academic achievements, and future goals. Justify your decision for choosing this particular university or college. Include some information on the type of extracurricular activities you wish to be part of, when you are admitted to the university.
The conclusion of your college admission essay should contain a formal address, in which you will tell the admissions committee how essential it is for you to enter the college or university of your dream.
When you are done with the first draft of your paper, put it aside and give yourself some rest. Then, after some time, you can edit and proofread your paper. Cast a critical eye on what you have written. Make sure the meaning of your words is not ambiguous or confusing. Weight the relevance of each sentence and every word.
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