How to Write a Winning College Application Essay?

Learn how to write a winning college application essay?
Submitted by IncludeHelp, on APR 22, 2022

Getting into college is one of the most important decisions a person can make. After fighting your way through a mountain of paperwork, application forms, as well as tests, it's time to make the final step and write your college application essay. For better or worse, your college application essay can have a huge impact on you getting admitted into the college of your choice, even if your test results are lackluster. It seems like a chore, and it sort of is, but it's better to look at it as an opportunity, since it's one of the few chances to have your voice heard directly.

And when it comes to actually writing your college application essay, we have got you covered with our list of best tips you can rely on. Keep on reading to find out more.

1. Write about Something That Matters to You

Your average college essay is about 500-600 words long, so it might not seem like enough when writing about something that matters to you personally, but brevity is key here. If you are writing about a life-changing experience, such as visiting a foreign country and experiencing different cultures, focus on the stuff that is strictly about you and how it has made you a different and/or better person. Avoid writing about how your flight was or how the weather was. Write about the essence of your trip and why your stay there was so meaningful.

If you are a college athlete, for example, you can write about a game that had the biggest impact on you, whether it was a huge loss or a thrilling victory. Share what you have felt at that moment, and what you learned from the experience. If your application essay is still over the suggested word count, you can get some of the online essay writing services to help you edit it.

2. Start with a Strong Introduction

Saving the best for last might work in some cases, but when you are writing your college application essay, you need to make sure that your introduction is killer. College admissions officers read through a ton of essays, which is why you need to capture their attention right off the bat. What should you go with? Well, you might start with an interesting anecdote that flows seamlessly into your essay or with a particular talent or character trait of yours that you think sets you apart from all the other candidates. Let them know who you are and what's important to you.

3. Find the Right Tone

This is arguably the trickiest part about writing your college application essay. If your writing tone is really serious, then your essay might turn out a bit too heavy. This is why it’s important to balance things out with a touch of carefully placed humor. Your essay is definitely not a stand-up special, but inserting a clever metaphor or comparison here and there can go a long way. Just be careful not to overdo it. Adding some levity is good, but it can’t replace substance. Think of it as adding spice to your meal. A little bit goes a long way.

4. Avoid the Usual Cliches

Hundreds of other applicants will be applying to the same college as yourself, and by the time the admissions officers are done reading all of those essays, they will have seen every single writing cliche out there. The best way to stand out is to avoid them. Don’t write cliched phrases or empty platitudes that have been used by just about everyone. Of course, you should definitely focus on your achievements, but in a way that is not self-aggrandizing. Be proud of what you have achieved, but at the same time, show some humility. And if really want to stand out, focus on your achievements that demonstrate your generosity toward others.

5. Edit and Proofread Mercilessly

Once you have finished writing your essay, forget about it for a few days, and then come back to it. It will be much easier for you to spot grammar, spelling, and stylistic errors, as well as to gauge the strength of your writing and your arguments. Check to see if your essay has any superfluous sentences or if it’s unnecessary wordy. There are plenty of tools online, such as Hemingway Editor, which can help make your writing more succinct. Finally, get someone else to read it too, such as your former mentor or professor, and ask for feedback.


Writing a college application essay is more tricky than it might seem at first, but it doesn't need to be if you decide to implement the writing tips we have laid out in this article. We hope you will find them helpful. Good luck!

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