A Final Checklist - Showcasing Yourself in Your College Application Essay

Seniors, here's a final checklist for your College Application Essay.


A Senior celebrates his essay’s completion.

You are finally finished.  You are ready to tuck away that thesaurus and celebrate.  But wait, here’s a final checklist before you press the “send” button.

1. Did you revise carefully?

Don’t expect that a first draft will get the job done. Everyone needs to revise. Colleges want to see that you have good ideas AND that you are a good writer.  Once finished with a draft,

  • Read your essay out loud. It’s a fast way to catch simple mistakes.  Ask a trusted friend or family member to read it and note what he/she learned about you.
  • Does this match what you want the colleges to know about your strengths?

2.   Does your supplemental essay say MORE about you?

Colleges really want to know why you would fit well into their campus/academic life. Help them out. Learn particulars about the college from the college newspaper and/or from reading online.  Match the school’s strengths with your own passions/interests.(i.e., They have a great debate society, and you love debate.)

3. Were you authentic in your essay?

Essays that stand above the rest are personal, well-written, and tell the reader something he/she didn’t already know from your application.  A candid student of mine wrote, “I enjoy listening to and sharing secrets with my younger cousin who has a learning disability.” So showcase yourself!

4. Did you eliminate clichés and hackneyed phrases?

 “An amazing summer job” or “He was as cool as a cucumber,” should be eliminated.  

  • Avoid  redundant passages.  You’ll hear them when you read essays aloud.
  • Use rich details to make your essay sparkle.

5. Check with the experts?

On Writing the College Application Essay, by Henry Baud, is a classic source.  Short on time? You can hire a coach to read your essay online, giving you the confidence that your essay puts you above the rest.

Theresa Michna, M.A. coaches students on writing their college essays. An expert on  SAT/ACT/GRE prep for over 15 years, she is a former Adjunct at Pace University and Manhattanville College.  She teaches English at the French American School. She holds a B.A. from Cornell University, M.A. from Indiana University, and Cambridge University (CELTA) in E.S.L.  For more, visit, www.TheresaMichna.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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