If you are wondering how to write a Common App essay, keep these tips in mind: don’t go for the topic everyone else is writing about. This means avoiding the pitfalls of turning your essay into a manifesto or a list of things that went right in your life. Instead, try to focus on what sets you apart from everyone else. These tips should give you the confidence to write your Common App essay and impress the admissions committee.
Avoid turning your main essay into a manifesto
Don’t turn your Common App essay into a manifesto. While journaling is a great practice, writing about it for the Common App is not. The most obvious reason for this is that it can make you sound too lucky, and admissions officers don’t want to read about your privileged life. Using big words and jargon in your Common App essay is a surefire way to turn it into a manifesto, so try to steer clear of them.
Instead of focusing on an overarching theme, college admissions advisers have some tricks for crafting a great Common App essay. One such trick involves breaking down your topic into a series of parts and writing paragraphs about them. For example, rather than writing about the most recent events of your life, you should focus on a specific moment, or an interesting conversation you had. In other words, instead of writing a manifesto, write a brief description of your favorite thing about your life.
Avoid picking a topic that everyone else is writing about
Don’t pick a topic that everyone else is writing about. The Common App essay is intended to give the college admissions committee a better sense of who you are as an individual. Focus on describing your personal experiences and interests, and don’t mention a specific college or stream. If you find that most students are writing about the same topic, consider preparing a secondary essay to expand on the main one.
While it may seem tempting to write about the same thing, this is a huge mistake. If you’re able to find something that relates to you, it will make your essay stand out from the crowd. The same is true for the Additional Information Section on the Common App. Unless you’re applying to a college with strict rules about this section, you can mention COVID-19 as a general topic.
Avoid turning your main essay into a list of all the things that have gone well in your life
While writing a gratitude journal is a great habit to develop, it’s not a good idea to use it as the central premise of your main essay. Writing a gratitude journal makes you sound privileged, which is not the intended effect. The central premise of the essay should be that you have learned and grown. The other side of gratitude is to show how your actions have affected others.