How To Complete An Application Essay Without A Hitch

The application essay is an important aspect of applying for various academic institutions and programs. This form of persuasive writing is commonly seen as a part of college applications, graduate program applications, internship applications and applications for special academic programs.

Application essays are, by far, the most common part of the college application process. Due to this, it's perhaps a common and quite contentious topic among prospective college students. That doesn't mean, however, college application essays are inherently hard to write.

Complete An Application Essay—Without A Hitch

Application essays are essentially a summation of a student's overall impression of their school of choice, their academic career and why they will be a good fit for their school of choice. While some schools do provide a topic for students to write, most application essays more or less follow the aforementioned theme.

Before Writing The Essay

  1. Carefully read the essay's instructions, including any included topics, its instructions and any other guidance provided by the educational institution.
  2. Understand what essay to write. Most application essays come in two forms: a one-page essay covering a single topic and a multi-topic essay answering several short questions.
  3. Research the field, the school and the school's program. It's unwise to begin writing if one doesn't know anything about their institution of choice.
  4. Examine yourself for qualities fit to add to the essay—otherwise, be honest.

Writing The Essay... The Easy Way and the Hard Way

There are several ways to approach writing an application essay. Here are several of them:

Free Writing (The Easy Way)

Examine the essay topic or questions and think about them; if it's necessary to do research, go ahead. Then, write about the topic for 30 minutes to an hour.

Free writing is essentially writing what you know and feel. It's also important to answer these questions as you write:

  • What do I want my readers to know?
  • How should they feel when they read this essay?
  • Have I articulated my ideas in a compelling or interesting way?

Clean up the essay for grammar, punctuation and organization after letting the essay 'rest' for a while. Organize your ideas by finding the most memorable, relevant and/or concrete statements to base the main essay around, removing most generalizations that don't contribute to the overall picture.

Research, Organize And Then Write (The Hard Way)

Research your topic extensively and take notes. Then, with your notes, start writing for up to an hour or two—whatever works best. This method works best for multi-topic essays that require applications to answer several questions in their essay.

Researching first best helps you organize your topics before writing more about them. If you just jumped right into the essay as if free writing, you'd essentially have to complete more work to 'clean up' the essay, as they say.

After working on the essay, clean and organize the paper as you would with a free written application essay. Don't forget to have peers and family read through, too.

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