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There surely is a college essay format to help you get going and make your mark.
Formatting college essays is a learned skill. Simply follow basic guidelines on formatting college essays and you can come up with a memorable college essay.
Every college admissions office is flooded with almost identical applications that come with the pre-requisite test scores, transcripts, application form, and essay.
Now, it is the essay that sets each student apart. It is your chance to demonstrate your writing skills and your ability to narrate in a logical and organized manner. Your essay will give the admissions team an indication of how articulate you are and how well you will fit into the college besides conveying your values and preferences.
Every college will give you essay topic options in the application form. These options are usually general to give you the liberty to choose and write as best as you can.
The essay is, however, a reflection of you. It will give the admissions team an inkling of your personality so choose a topic that will project you in the best light. Make sure the topic isn’t something that the admissions team will find in other documents that you submit. Be sure to choose a topic that doesn’t bind you and gives you the freedom to fly while expressing yourself.
Begin putting together your essay long before you get caught up in the mentally exhausting application activities. Write while you are still fresh and energized and have the time to re-write and fine-tune your essay. This cannot be a last-minute effort as your essay can well be the decider of being accepted or not.
Weigh the pros and cons of your chosen essay topic with your family and perhaps some friends. They will be in a better position to analyze and list your core strengths. In fact, they may even help you identify some of your idiosyncrasies that will validate your strengths.
Your first few lines should engross the reader. You should narrate an incident or various events in your life that have shaped you into who you have become. It needn’t necessarily be an achievement but what you write should be like a window through which the reader has a glimpse of you and your life.
Try to write in your voice. That way, you will write originally and whatever you write will ring true.
You can opt to write using a narrative or montage structure.
It is like a story. You will write about an incident in your life.
It will have:
Read an example of an essay that is narrative: https://www.essayedge.com/blog/sample-college-essay-after/
Read 50 successful Ivy League Application Essays along with an analysis of the essays: http://www.qianmu.org/u/lystu/school/file/0hme5mn180002vc/0hmlotdce00040a.pdf
Just like the name suggests, it is an amalgamation of snapshots comprising various events, qualities, skills and values that you wish to highlight. However, you must write about them in such a way that they will appear inter-woven. It’s like the innumerable frames of a movie that play back-to-back to give us a moving experience. Your montage narration will be snapshots that are not linear in narration like a movie is but how you juxtapose them and connect them will make it a readable story.
It is very much like the trailer or promo video of a yet-to-be-released film. It is various events and qualities of the main protagonist are so well montaged that even though you see just 90 seconds of the movie, you get it. Both structures work well depending on what content you wish to share. While the Narrative Structure is linear and sequential, the Montage Structure is composite.
Once you’ve completed the essay, it’s time to check if it will carry you through. Read your draft once again and then answer the following questions:
After answering the above questions, be sure to check that your essay is within the stipulated word limit and then get down to the task of tweaking and editing it.
Your essay must be error-free. So after you’ve proofread it, get your family or teacher to do it too.
Read it out not just to yourself but also to your family, peers or teachers. Hear your essay and pay attention to the comments and further re-edit your essay and perhaps seek their help in further fine-tuning it.
Once you’ve given it your best shot, take yourself away from your essay. Set it aside for a day and then go through it one final time to be sure that you have a cracker of an essay that will help you sail through.
Read about how some students went about writing their essays: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/09/how-they-wrote-and-rewrote-their-harvard-admissions-essays/
Read successful Harvard application essays: https://www.thecrimson.com/topic/sponsored-successful-harvard-essays-2019/