How to Write an Admission Essay

academic applicationAn admission essay is an essay that a student writes when applying for a university or college program. It is normally not more than two pages long (around 300-500 words), so you have to be concise in your thoughts and choose your words carefully. There are various types of admission essays: statement of purpose, personal statement, letter of intent, etc. There is no single guide to success when it comes to admission essays. Every admission essay has to be unique and demonstrate your specialties, your attitude and your personal traits that will help you successfully enroll in the institution of your choice.

Steps For Writing an Admission Essay

1. Carefully read through the website of the university or college to which you are applying. Be sure that you fully understand the mission and the direction of development and values that your university or college proclaims. Furthermore, each educational institution may also have some specific requirements to narrow down and simplify your essay.

2. Make a short list of points that you wish to emphasize in your admission essay. Make sure you include answers to questions such as: “Why do I want to study in this particular institution?”; “What makes me suitable for the program I chose?”; “What past experiences of mine will help me better adjust to the new environment when I enroll in the university/college to which I am applying?”

3. Plan your essay structure before you begin writing it. Start with general information about yourself, mentioning only the most relevant and preferably recent experiences that relate to your major. Then write two or three paragraphs about your motivation and rationale for studying at this particular institution. End by mentioning the extracurricular activities and hobbies that you are interested in, and how these activities correlate to the institution you are applying for.

4. Conclude your admission essay with a sentence addressing the committee or board of your college directly. In a formal manner, let the person reading your admission essay know how much enrolling in this institution means to you and that you will be looking forward to the decision of the board.

5. Lay your writing aside for some time and then do a thorough proofreading. Consider revising those parts that are too general or do not have a clear meaning to them. Make sure that every sentence in your admission essay is not just a general statement about how much you want to become a student of this particular institution, but also presents your personality, motivation and abilities that relate to the selected discipline of your future major.

Key Points to Consider

  • When writing an admission essay, it is crucial to settle on the appropriate tone. It has to be formal but not too business-like. It has to demonstrate your positive attitude and respect for the committee, but at the same time it has to be tailored to suit the specific institution to which you are applying. Be sure to browse through all the webpages of your selected college or university, and get a clear understanding of what sort of tone would be most appropriate when applying to become a student of this particular institution.
  • Write every admission essay from scratch, even if you are applying for the same program at several institutions. Try to approach every admission essay from a new perspective based on the values and mission of the particular institution, as well as the specifics of a certain program or course.
  • Be unique in your admission essay. Remember: your essay has to be different from all the others. Make it is zestful by personalizing the general essay structure and adding particular emotions to enrich your writing. Make sure that the committee will have a clear and true picture of your personality, experience and skills after reading your essay.
  • Choose a maximum of three major points. Develop each point in a separate paragraph. Instead of including too many details about yourself, focus on these three major positive traits that best emphasize your beneficial qualities for the program, course, or institution.
  • Be logical in your writing. Instead of jumping from one idea to another, create a clear outline of how you wish to present yourself; in what order you will formulate your thoughts; at which point will you switch from personal traits to relevant practical experience, then to background information, or hobbies and interests, and so on. Make sure that your essay flows smoothly in a particular direction–the one you opted for when listing major points in your draft earlier.

 

Do and Don’t

Do

  • Do use persuasion techniques to make your reasoning sound more grounded and to effectively present yourself.
  • Do start writing your admission essay ahead of time. Allow at least a day to study each university or college to which you are applying; at least a day or two to brainstorm key points and ideas on which you will base your essay; and at least a day to let it lay aside after you have completed the first draft, so that you can later take a fresh look at your work and refine it.
  • Do thoroughly proofread your admission essay several times.
  • Do be creative. Make your admission essay stand out by mentioning what characterizes you as a unique applicant (can be a specific skill, past experience, cultural background you come from, your academic or career achievements, etc).
  • Do include only relevant information. If you have a hobby that has absolutely nothing to do with the program for which you are applying, think twice before you take up 30-50 words out of the limited word count for your admission essay to describe this hobby.
Don’t

  • No committee is seeking the flawless “know-it-all” type. As long as you have enough motivation, interest and willingness to learn, you are a great candidate.
  • Don’t use pre-made templates available online. Avoid using trite expressions and clichés.
  • Don’t just write specifics about yourself if they do not truly relate to the main question of your admission essay. Most universities and colleges will formulate a specific question or two to answer in your essay.
  • Don’t start right away, or after only taking a glance at the booklet, brochure or website of the university or college to which you are applying. Be patient enough to read the key information about the campus, staff, programs, mission, values and history of the institution, prior to starting your essay.

Common Mistakes

  • Repetitions throughout your admission essay are usually a sign that you do not have much to tell the committee about yourself. If you believe that some personal trait or past experience of yours is extremely important, instead of repeating it several times, mention it only once, but give a vivid example or briefly outline a real-life situation to help the reader form a better picture and, in doing so, remember this particular bit of your admission essay.
  • A dryly written admission essay has a strong chance of failing. Do not confuse “formal” language with “dry” language. Using emotional adjectives and adverbs is not necessarily taboo. As long as the situation or experience you are describing calls for a bright and colorful description, go for it.
  • Overloading your admission essay with first-person pronouns. While your essay does have to be personalized, too many me, my, I, and mine will only make it sound self-indulgent and immature.
  • Using passive voice too often is another mistake that many applicants get trapped into, trying to sound more sophisticated and formal. Make your admission essay vivid and lively by using active voice, as this will help create a more positive image of your personality.
  • Writing in long confusing sentences, as well as run-on sentences. This is why you have to proofread your admission essay a few times. If you cannot follow your own idea halfway through the sentence, rephrase it into several short and simple sentences. Remember, reading and understanding your admission essay should be a pleasure rather than a tough, mind-boggling task.

Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic admission essay writing tips and rules, you can check out our admission essay samples to link theory with practice.

3.8/5

Samples for Admission Essay

Admission Essay Sample

When I am asked why I decided to apply to the University of Anthropological Research at the age 33, my answer is that it took me a long time to admit what I wanted to do in life. Coming from a family of psychologists, I did not really have much of a choice...
Popular 339
3.7/5

South Carolina University

As long as I can remember, my favorite question has been, “What if?” As a child, I could turn any subject into a serious discussion following this question. When I heard that something was impossible, I would immediately ask: “What if it was possible...
201
0/5

Admission Essay Sample

I find it fascinating how the human brain functions; how it takes a millisecond to make a decision while this process may in fact rely upon the knowledge and experience gained throughout one’s life. Psychology is an incredibly exciting and significant pr...
142
5/5