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College Essays: 4 Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for your college essays!

1. Be creative and take a risk

If your Common Application is slightly lacking extracurricular activities or you’re not as satisfied with your GPA, essays are a great outlet to make your application competitive. You need your essays to stand out and the best way to showcase this is to take risks with your writing. The best way to go about this is to be as honest with yourself as possible. Why do you really want to attend a certain university? What do you bring to the university? What makes you… you?


Not once, not twice, but a minimum of four to five times. Of course no one’s perfect, but a series of misspelled words carries through your entire application; it shows carelessness and tardiness. I strongly encourage you to read aloud your application multiple times prior to submission.

3. Revise and rewrite

Your first draft is never your best draft. Take time and work through your essays, paragraph by paragraph. Pay particular attention to grammar, sentence structure, and word choice. However, do not simply substitute words just because they sound “fancier.” It still has to make sense. “Astute” is a synonym for “intelligent,” but carries a much different meaning. It’s easy to spot such words. Your attempt to sound smarter can backfire quite easily. At the same time, do not shy away from such words! If “flabbergasted” describes the situation, use it! Just don’t bite off more than you can chew. 😉

4. Peer review

Getting insight from another individual can very useful. People can suggest remarks that you may have never thought of or had overlooked. The important things to note about peer review is that the remarks made are merely suggestions. If you disagree with a comment made, you are not obligated to make the said change. At the end of the day, it is still your essay. I also suggest avoiding underclassmen edit your essays. If possible, have a teacher or qualified family member look over and provide feedback. It could even be your recommender!

All in all, the admissions process is extremely stressful. However, rest assured, everything will be okay. Every institution is comprised of individuals that are smart and talented. Your admittance or rejection into a certain university is not a reflection of your self-worth. It is not a reflection of your intelligence. That said, I wish you all best of luck with your application and hope to see some of you at Rochester soon!



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