College Admission: 5 Quick Tips

In the article below, I go over 5 ways to quickly and effectively improve your personal statement so that you will stand out to the reviewers. If you’re interested in improving your personal statement, contact edtingbychristina@gmail.com or check out editingbychristina.com.

#1 Applicants are afraid to feel vulnerable, and therefore, write generic and boring college application essays. When writing your essay, make sure the reviewer understands who you are as both an academic and an individual. Your unique personality and goals make you memorable, and therefore, makes your application stand out to the reviewer. Before starting the writing process, think for a few minutes about what makes you unique (separate from your academic achievements). For example, why do you want to go to college, what have you done to prepare for college (i.e., volunteer, play sports, work, perform in theater, etc.), and what you want to gain by attending college. There are other areas in your essay where you will discuss your academic achievements, so make sure the reviewer also understands who you are as a person separate from those achievements.

#2 A common mistake applicants make during the college application process is not answering the essay prompt. Applicants apply to multiple colleges and as a result, tend to reuse essays to speed up the process. However, this is a mistake. Every college application has a unique essay prompt, and although prompts may overlap, it’s important to take time to answer each prompt thoroughly. To answer a prompt, I recommend drafting an outline since it saves time, allows applicants to organize their thoughts, and allows applicants to devise a plan before beginning the prompt writing process.

#3 Nearly 135,000 freshman and transfer applicants applied to UCLA in 2019. Only 20,000 applicants were accepted. With an acceptance rate of 15%, it’s important to write an essay that makes you stand out if you want to be accepted into a competitive college. Realize that a reviewer reads the same prompted essay from every applicant; therefore, convince the reviewer why you are the best applicant. Be honest with yourself, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Before writing the essay, think about all the events that have defined your life.  Did you overcome or are working to overcome a learning disability? Did you volunteer at a retirement home on the weekends? Did you have to work to support yourself or your family? Every story will be unique, but it’s important to share that story because these events made you into the person you are. By explaining why you are different from the other applicants, it will make you stand out among the crowd and most importantly, the reviewer.

#4 When writing a college application essay, start the process 2 months before the application is due to give yourself time to organize, write, and sort your thoughts. Scheduling 2 months ahead of time, allows you to complete 2-3 major essay revisions and give your essay to your letter of recommendation writers. The application process has many steps, and it’s always best to start early.

#5 You volunteer at a retirement center, run cross county, sing in the choir, take AP courses, collect stamps, and travel to Italy every other summer! There are so many things that make you unique—how could you possibly put all of these experiences in a two page essay? Word of advice: Don’t

 When writing your college admissions essay, keep it focused. For example, while volunteering at the retirement center you developed a friendship with one of the retirees. Every Sunday you helped them sort and organize their stamp collection, which inspired you to start your own because of the rich history of each stamp. On your family trip to Italy the summer between your junior and senior year you made it your mission to find the rare Mona Lisa stamp printed in the early 1900s. Not only were you able to find the rare Mona Lisa stamp, you were also able to find multiple other rare stamps. The best part of finding these stamps was that you were able to share them with your friend from the retirement center! These experiences have inspired you to pursue a major in History, with a minor in Italian at the university. 

So even though you weren’t able to include all your achievements, a focused and exciting story was written that tells the reviewer a little bit about yourself and why you want to major in a specific degree.


If interested in improving your personal statements contact me
at editingbychristina@gmail.com or visit editingbychristina.com.

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