Admission Essays & College Application Essay Writing Help

(Updated on March 28, 2018 by Michelle Williams)


High school seniors who embark on the complicated road of applying to an academic institution learn quickly that the majority of academic institutions require that students submit a college application essay along with their application.  Some universities even require more than one report; however additional reports might be optional.  The good news is that the university consideration process is generally completed while students still have the advantage of having their high school instructors, counselors, and mentors available to critique their college application essays.  No student is expected to go it alone.

College Application Essay

College application essays are generally creations that ask prospective students to explore a particular event in their lives, a goal they would like to achieve, or the reason they would like to study at the university they're applying to.  Some universities will direct the college application essay by giving applicants the topic on which they're to write.  But, even a topic such as "how I spent my summer vacation" invites more thought for a college application than it did as a high school freshman.

When a college application essay invites students to write about their summer vacation, the university wants more than merely an itinerary of what the student actually did during his/her summer vacation.  The student who fails to delve properly into the subject matter is likely to have his/her application summarily rejected.  What the university wants to know is what the student did during his/her summer vacation that mattered, not literally all of the activities in which he/she participated.  Of course, there's the rare student who can make a trip to Disneyland read like well-written literature, but, for the most part, the university is looking for something that sets the student apart from the thousands of other submissions that university recruiters will have to sift through.

Many learners pay little attention to the university consideration paper.  They are convinced that it's merely a way for university recruiters to make sure that they can read, write, and follow instructions.  And, in a way, they're right.  It goes without saying that the student who fails to pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation isn't likely to have his/her college application land in the "accepted" pile.

However, the college application essay is more about differentiation than anything else.  The universities that student's apply to are bound to receive applications from thousands of qualified applicants every year.  There has to be some way to evaluate students on qualifications other than grade point average and extracurricular activities.  The student who finds a way to use his/her college application essay to make himself/herself stand out in the eyes of the educational institution recruiters is the student who is most likely to receive acceptance letters to one or more of the universities of his/her choice.

Writing Admission Essays

An admission essay is different from the type of essay that a student would write for a class because it's both personal and persuasive.  Unlike most academic essays, which discourage the inclusion of the writer's personal life, the goal of admission essays is to both effectively describe the applicant so that he/she is memorable/unique and persuade the institution that the applicant is worthy of admission.  

There are two general types of admission essays.  The first type is completed in response to a specific prompt or question set forth by the institution.  The second is a document in which the applicant is instructed to describe his/her reasons for wishing to attend the institution or program and explain why he/she is qualified.  These essays will look different in final form; however, there are two imperatives when writing either type: (1) it must be flawless in its presentation and (2) it must set the applicant apart from other applicants.  

First, some advice regarding presentation.  Remember that the person reading the paper is likely reading dozens or even hundreds of admission essays from similarly qualified applicants.  That means that little mistakes matter, and can accumulate to hurt the overall score.  Grammar, spelling, and formatting should be perfect.  Enlist the assistance of a friend, teacher, or writing center to check over the report during various phases of the writing process.  

If the paper is in response to a specific prompt issued by the institution, be sure to adequately address every aspect of that prompt or question.  Failing to touch on all parts of the prompt will make the applicant appear careless.  If the paper is a general report detailing the applicant's desire and qualifications for admission to the program, it should equally address both of those points.  

Now, a few words regarding the second admission essay imperative.  Remember again that person is reading dozens or hundreds of essays.  If that reader is going to remember an applicant, that applicant must distinguish himself/herself from other applicants.  Whether it's an admission essay for college, graduate school, law school, or a specific program within such an institution, admission essays are likely the only component of an application that allows the individual to be more than his/her grades and distinctions.  The admission essay is the opportunity for the applicant to emerge as an individual rather than a pile of transcripts and recommendations.  In the effort of being unique, be honest, sincere, and candid.  Don't state the obvious.  If the admission essay is for medical school, the applicant shouldn't write an entire essay about wanting to go to medical school because he/she wants to help others.  Hopefully, all medical school applicants want to go to medical school because they want to help others.  Dig deeper than that, and be sincere and honest.  Being real will make an essay stand out.

Entrance Essay Writing

An entrance essay is a short text composed to convince an institution of a student's qualifications for entry into that institution.  Most often, an entrance essay is part of a student's application for college or graduate school, and is one of several factors considered by an admissions committee when determining who will be admitted.  For that reason, an entrance essay needs to be unique and memorable in order to distinguish the applicant from other applicants.  

An entrance report is different from most academic writing because it's personal and it's typically required to be brief.  Many report assignments will have a word count requirement, but usually that requirement is a minimum.  Entrance essays often have a maximum word requirement—meaning they can't go over a certain word count.  

Entrance reports should summarize the reasons why the applicant is qualified for entry into that institution and develop that individual as a well-rounded person.  They should highlight the applicant's achievements and attributes, but also be genuine and well-rounded by suggesting room for growth and how entry into that institution may assist in that growth.  

An entrance report shouldn't simply assert the applicant's wish to attend the institution, but explain why.  It should mention the names of professors, programs, or other distinguishing aspects of the institution that attract the applicant, and suggest reasons why these unique aspects are appealing.  This demonstrates that the applicant has a genuine enthusiasm for the institution.  

If the paper is in response to a specific prompt issued by the institution, the applicant should adequately address every aspect of that prompt or question.  Failing to touch on all parts of the prompt will make the applicant appear careless.  If the paper is a general report detailing the applicant's desire and qualifications for admission to the program, it should equally address both of those points.

The entrance essay is likely the only component of an application that allows the individual to express his/her individualism.  Therefore, the applicant should attempt to depict him/herself as he/she really is by being candid and sincere.  

Finally, entrance reports should be 100% error-free.  Little mistakes matter, and can accumulate to hurt the overall score.  Grammar, spelling, and formatting should be checked and rechecked to ensure the report reflects a professional and conscientious student.  

ACT Essay

The essay section of the ACT college entrance exam requires students to compose one well-developed essay in thirty minutes.  Though the prompt will vary from test to test, the ACT essay will always be a position essay, meaning students are required to assume a position on the topic at hand and write convincingly about the merit of that position using evidence and reasoning.  

Though writing an ACT essay will utilize many of the skills taught in high school English classes, an ACT essay differs from a typical high school essay because it must be fully executed in the span of a half hour.  Most high school teachers encourage students to go through many stages of the writing process before submitting a finished essay; on the ACT, there isn't that luxury of time.  Therefore, the writing process must be condensed to allow for the full development of an idea within a brief time period.  Below are some guidelines to follow:

The prompt should be read carefully.  Twice.  ACT essays often present a prompt that's a paragraph or longer.  It is imperative to know exactly what the prompt is asking in order to respond to all of its components.  Be sure to address each aspect of the prompt.

Next, use five minutes to create a sketch of an outline.  The test doesn't allow time for a detailed plan of the report, but have an idea of the points that should be addressed and the evidence that will be presented.  Though it may be tempting to forego the outline in an effort to begin writing immediately, remember that planning the paper is often the most difficult and time-consuming part, and is easier to do before beginning than in the midst of composition

In the first paragraph, describe the issue being addressed in the document and present a clear and specific thesis statement.  The thesis should identify the writer's position on the topic and briefly describe the three or four points that he/she will make in defending that position.  Remember when composing the thesis statement that it doesn't need to be profound—there isn't much time for profundity on ACT essays—it just needs to be clear and take a position.

The body must follow the thesis plan by allotting a paragraph to each of the assertions from the thesis statement.  Each paragraph provide evidence and/or examples that supports the writer's assertions.

The conclusion shouldn't simply summarize the body of the document, but should comment on how the point and evidence presented in the report further or bolster the position the writer has taken.  

The best preparation for a timed essay test is practice.  The more experience one has with fast essay preparation and execution, the easier ACT essays will be.

How to Write an Application Essay

When learning how to write an application essay, you must leave a good impression.  Regardless of what you're applying for, the chances are good that you'll be facing a great deal of competition.  At major universities such as Stanford, the admissions officers generally read 16,000 or more application essays per year.  Therefore, it's particularly important that you find a way to make yourself more appealing than the other applicants.

When completing application essays, it's important to remember that you're trying to share a little piece of yourself with the reader.  Therefore, you need to take steps to avoid being artificial or gimmicky.  Rather, try your best to let the "real you" shine through with your application paper.

First of all, don't try to be overly creative with the format of your document.  Although it may seem like a good idea to fold your application essay into origami in order to get yourself noticed, these shenanigans will only serve to annoy the admissions officer.  Simply write the assignment on a plain piece of paper and pretend that your audience is someone who you know well, such as a favorite aunt or uncle, rather than someone who holds the power to determine your future.

Since you're trying to help the admissions officer understand who you are, be honest as you write your application paper.  At the same time, exercise caution when attempting to interject humor into your application essay, as the person reading your application may not share your sense of humor.  Simply tell a story about something that happened in your life, such as a personal failure or triumph or something that happened to you while volunteering or on the job.  The best application essays are personal but not sentimental.

One common mistake made when writing application essays is the tendency to brag or be boastful.  Although it may seem like a good idea to describe all of your accomplishments, this makes for an ineffective application essay and ends up sounding more like a resume than a good story.  

You should also avoid having someone else write your document, as this will be easy for the admissions officer to spot.  The "voice" of your report should sound like it's being written by someone of your age group.  Similarly, avoid using online samples of application essays as a framework for your document.  Although these can be used to help inspire you, writing one that's formulaic will fail to catch the essence of who you really are.

When you do tell your story, try to be as descriptive as possible.  You can use the thesaurus to help you come up with descriptive words, but avoid using one to help you come up with big words that sound impressive.  Rather than trying to sound like a genius, you should work at painting a vivid image in the mind of the reader.  In this way, you'll leave a lasting impression that will help you get your foot in the door.

Writing an Admissions Essay

An admissions essay is a form of personal writing used to positively persuade an institution regarding an applicant's qualifications for entry into that institution.  It differs from typical essays in that it has only one audience—the admissions committee of that institution—and only one purpose—to persuade that committee to admit the applicant.  Many writers struggle with admissions essays because they're a form of writing not taught or practiced in school, and for that reason, many writers compose admissions papers that fail to convince institutions of their merits.  Following are a few guidelines to keep in mind when composing an admissions essay for any type of institution or program.

Be familiar with the institution.  Mention the names of professors, programs, or other distinguishing aspects of the institution, and suggest reasons why these unique aspects are appealing.  This demonstrates that the applicant has a genuine enthusiasm for the institution and is familiar with its programs and accomplishments.

Point out achievements and experiences that the institution would find particularly valuable.  For instance, if the admissions essay is addressed to a university with a strong renewable energy initiative, the applicant might draw attention to his/her involvement with environmental clubs or organizations.  

Attempt to be genuine and well-rounded by pointing out accomplishments but suggesting room for growth.  Admissions reports shouldn't be merely a list of accolades.  Most people strive to do great things or achieve in some way because of past failure.  Therefore, an applicant should be sincere and honest about his/her desire for improvement in a certain area and how that institution might assist in that development.

Do not risk appearing unprofessional by complaining about another institution or program, a grade received, or any other personal grievance.  The general tone of the paper should be positive and reflective, even about negative experiences.  

If there's part of an application that needs explanation—for instance a "C" on a transcript amid a host of "A's," use a portion of that essay to address it.  The admissions essay is the applicant's chance to both introduce herself, explain his/her qualifications for admission, and, if need be, explain or defend some of the less impressive parts of his/her transcript.

Finally—admissions reports should never be completed the day they're due.  Allow time for multiple drafts, and have a friend, teacher, or writing center look over the final copy.  A fresh set of eyes is an invaluable writing resource.

Writing a College Entrance Essay

When completing a college entrance essay, you must remember that you're trying to achieve major goals with your document: you're trying to gain admittance to the college of your choice while also showing the college admission officer that you're more than just another face in a crowd.  Of course, the topics of the college essay can be quite varied and the type of paper requested can vary from one institution to the next.  Therefore, there are no hard fast rules when it comes to the mechanics of completing a college paper.

In addition to the basics of good writing, such as using proper grammar and punctuation, as well as well-constructed sentences and paragraphs, there are many other things you should consider when completing a college paper.  Your main objective, however, is to be sure to answer the question.  Avoid the tendency to run off course and discuss something that isn't truly related to the topic.  Also, be sure to address every aspect of the question or writing prompt, as many college essay questions contain multiple parts.  Failure to answer any portion of the question can prevent you from getting into the college of your dreams.

Another goal when completing a college essay is to be original.  Remember, the admissions officer will be reading hundreds, perhaps thousands of essays.  As such, you need to write something that will help you stand out and get noticed.  Use descriptive words and an active voice while painting pictures with words.  At the same time, don't look up every word in a thesaurus in order to impress the admissions officer with big words.  While you do want to use some variety with your words, you don't want the report to come across as stuffy either.  Use words that appeal to the five senses rather than to the brain.

While you need to be creative with your document, you also want to be yourself.  Make sure that your "voice" shines through in the paper that you write.  Remember, the report isn't all about showcasing your skill; it's also about demonstrating that you're the type of person the university needs to have on campus.  Therefore, when addressing the writing prompt, try to focus on your feelings rather than your actions as this will help personalize the story and help the admissions officer get to know the real you.  

While the entire college essay is important, you should spend the most time working on your introduction.  After all, this is where you'll first grab the admission officer's attention.  Your introduction will leave the first impression, so make sure it's a good one.  Avoid summarizing in your first paragraph and try to make it intriguing.  That way, the admission's officer will want to read on in order to learn more.  Raise questions and appeal to the emotions and you can be certain the entire essay will be read.  

The remaining paragraphs, except for the last one, should all support the introduction you have developed.  Be sure you have a logical flow from one paragraph to the next.

When completing the final paragraph, it's your last chance to leave an impression.  Avoid simply summarizing what you already wrote.  Rather, expand upon the ideas or connect it to your introduction in some way in order to bring balance to the entire paper.

Application Essays

Nearly every college application requires that the applicant complete and include an application essay with his/her submission.  Although the application essay is rarely so long that students may feel it might be too difficult to write, the brevity of the assignment often belies the paper's importance.  Application essays are often what separate acceptable applicants from those who will not make the grade.  In a sea of qualified applicants, the application essay can be the determining factor for many students.

But, how does a student complete an application essay?  What information should be included in an application essay?  What makes a good application essay?

Far too many learners rush through the writing of their application essays when they should take the time needed to produce the highest quality report possible.  After all, being accepted into a top school might be at stake.

The topic of the application essay is generally provided by the school to which the student is applying.  In general, application essays require either that a student provide a longer answer to one question or shorter answers to a series of inquiries.  Either way, the applicant should give a great deal of thought to the topic.

Many schools require the applicant to address why he/she would be an appropriate candidate for the school, program, and/or field, as well as provide personal background information.  Application essays are highly personal and can include stories and anecdotes that individualize the document.

All application reports should consider the audience.  Far too many learners write what they find important with little consideration about what information the reader is interested in gathering from the work.  Although an application essay has to assure the reader that the applicant is prepared for entrance into the particular program to which he/she is applying, it must also remain rather generic in that a specific and detailed play-by-play of the applicant's goals isn't necessary.  

The writing of a great application essay goes through several drafts before it's perfected.  The writer has to concern him/herself with not only good style, grammar, spelling, and other technical components of writing, the applicant must also consider the voice, motivation, and politics of the report, as well.  The writer must ensure that his/her application essay isn't offensive/inflammatory, but completed in a calm, rational manner that truly reveals his/her own feelings on the topic.

College Admission Essay Help

A college admission essay is a writing prepared by an individual who is planning to attend an institution of higher learning.  Admissions officers evaluate the report based on content, grammar, and style.  College admission essays usually answer a question provided by the college.  Unlike personal statements, college admission essays must follow the typical format of an expository paper.  It is necessary for the college applicant to understand the purpose of the report and to follow the steps to completing a quality paper.

The purpose of most college admission essays is to introduce the applicant to the representatives of the college.  The admissions committee must be able to determine whether or not an applicant has the potential to be a model student.  In addition to high school records, SAT test scores, and the application itself, the college admission essay serves as an important source of information about the applicant.  It shows not only the writing skill of the student but also his/her critical thinking abilities.  Because the admissions officers are seeking individuals who can communicate well, the report becomes an essential part of the admissions process.

The main steps of completing a great college admission essay are brainstorming a list of succinct answers to the question and selecting the best three answers or concepts.  The applicant must develop a thesis statement about those three concepts.  The thesis statement is always the last sentence in the introduction and helps the reader to understand the main points.  After beginning the report with a good introduction, the student should complete a paragraph for each concept.  This will help to produce a standard five-paragraph essay (the conclusion will be the fifth paragraph).  The student must remember that he/she isn't completing a personal statement unless the question asks for personal information.  Most college admission essays ask open-ended inquiries that require the applicant to write about topics such as human interest stories, current events, and famous people.  

College admission essays allow the college officials to see what kind of person is interested in their school.  They are specifically looking for people who know how to thoughtfully and creatively express themselves.  A strong candidate for acceptance will complete a thorough response to an inquiry that reflects the college's vision for success.  Understanding the purpose for the document and following writing steps will enable the applicant to improve his/her chances for admission.

College Application Essay Topics

A college's application instructions will indicate what topic students should consider when selecting a subject about which to write.  All potential applicants have to do is to gear their college application essay topic toward the subject matter indicated in the application.

Still, many learners have no idea how to come up with a college application essay topic that sets them apart from the thousands of other applicants.  And, since there are many learners with stellar grades and well-structured extracurricular activities, it might very well be the essay that makes or breaks a student's chance for admission.  So, the trick is to select a topic that makes the application stand out among all the others that college recruiters have to wade through.

College application essay topics should reflect the individuality of the student.  There is no harm in the student writing about his/her athletic abilities, the family vacation, or even his/her pet turtle, as long as the report reflects how the selected topic makes the applicant different, or special.  The college application essay topic that the student selects—and how he/she presents that topic—reveals much about the student's attitude and personality.

Students often wonder why the college application essay topic is so important.  Simply put, the college views each student's essay as a way to get a feel for that student's creativity, writing ability, personal values, and critical thinking skills.  The way that each student uses such tactics as persuasion, organization, and basic writing skills reflects that student's capacity to compete and thrive in the college environment.  

The fact is that there are generally no right or wrong college application essay topics.  Students are encouraged to exercise creativity and a great deal of thought when selecting their topic and writing their document.  And, although there are few "wrong" topics, students are still advised to refrain from selecting a college application essay topic that's offensive or tasteless, since such topics almost never elicit positive reactions from recruiters.

College Admission Essays

Most universities ask prospective students to submit a college admission essay along with their application.  College admission essays are required so that universities can learn more about a student than what is presented in his/her transcripts and test scores, as well as assess a prospective student's writing abilities.

A college admission essay is essentially a personal essay in which the writer describes why he/she wishes to attend the particular institution.  However, college admission essays will differ from the type of personal essays that a student has completed in his/her high school English class in that they must be tailored to a specific aim, which is to inform the admissions committee of the institution about the student and to persuade that committee that he/she should be admitted.  Most personal essays are completed with the aim of promoting reflection in the writer and enjoyment in the reader.  In an admission essay, a student must blend his/her skills of persuasion with his/her skills of entertaining and reflecting in order to create a short but comprehensive text that informs, persuades, entertains, and reflects all at once.

The admission report should inform the admissions committee of the student's attributes, achievements, and goals.  This means the student should discuss why he/she believes he/she should be admitted to the institution by informing the readers about his/her academic performance, extracurricular life, and academic and career hopes for the future.  It should also inform the committee about the reasons why the student wants to attend that specific institution.  This should be tailored to the institution, and should mention specific aspects of the college that the student finds particularly suited to him and why.

At the same time as it's informing, a college admission report should persuade the committee to admit the student by presenting information that's of particular interest to the school.  Besides a good academic record, this would include achievements or activities that reflect the values and strengths of the college.  For instance, if the university is known for its focus on engineering, the student would perhaps highlight his/her experience with his/her high school's engineering club.  

College admission essays will never be great works of literature.  However, they should still strive to entertain on a very basic level by presenting a coherent, genuine, and aesthetically appealing text that engages the reader rather than bores him.  Thus, a student should strive to use interesting language and illustrative details and include honest reflection and commentary.

A college admission essay is completed for an audience, but it's also an exercise in self-reflection.  Beyond the personal benefits of such reflection, the readers of the paper should be able to see that the student is self-reflective and emotionally mature.  

All college admission reports should be grammatically and stylistically flawless.  To this end, they should be thoroughly proofread multiple times and by multiple parties.

Sample Admission Essays

If a student needs to complete an admission essay for a college or an academic program, he/she may benefit by reviewing a sample admission paper.  After all, students rarely get feedback on their admission essays since the reports aren't completed for a particular course.  Therefore, by looking at sample admission essays, students may be able to get a better idea of what kind of information and format that should have with their own documents.

The first thing that students need to do in order to get the right kind of sample admission essays is to review the admission essay requirements.  Different schools have different report topics and requirements.  For example, some schools may require learners to write just 500 words about themselves.  Other schools might ask students to write very specific responses to specific questions.  

Some students have been able to get a hold of sample admission papers that have been successful for admission into a particular school.  For example, if a student is trying to get into a business school, he/she may be able to find sample admission essays that were completed by students who successfully became enrolled in the school.  

There are many different sources for sample admission essays.  Some students may contact the alumni association for a school to see if any students would be willing to share their sample admission paper that has worked.  Other students may be able to receive copies of successful sample admission reports from the schools themselves.  Some students even look online.  

When looking online for a sample admission essay, students need to keep in mind that the reports may or may not have been successful for students.  Therefore, learners should be able to interact with the publisher to find out what feedback and results the student achieved .  Students should always look for high-quality reports when looking online, as well.  

There are many differences between different types of projects.  However, one of the distinguishing characteristics that students will notice when they review sample admission essays is that admission essays focus on the student's point-of-view and experienced.  The point of admissions essays is for students to express themselves.  Admissions counselors will review a student's responses and determine whether he/she is a good fit for the school or not.  Therefore, students need to be aware of the characteristic of an effective admissions essay and write based on those characteristics and not on the characteristics of other types of academic works.

Writing Admission Essays Properly

When completing a college admission essay, your primary goal is to share something about yourself that helps to set you apart from the other applicants.  Since there are likely to be thousands of people applying for acceptance to the school and only a limited number of spots available, you need to do everything possible to differentiate yourself from the competition.

In addition to simply following the general rules of good essay writing, which requires that you have a strong and interesting introduction, a logically flowing body, and a conclusion that leaves an impression upon the reader, you also need to avoid making some common mistakes that are found in admission essays.

One of the biggest mistakes that college hopefuls make when completing their admission essay is trying to philosophize.  Remember, you aren't trying to make a profound statement with your admission essay and you aren't attempting to take a stance on a particular issue.  Rather, you're trying to share something about yourself with the admissions committee.  Therefore, you should focus more on a person or event that has an impact on you and describe its effects rather than making a profound statement about society in general.

Another common mistake that's made when writing admission essays is overuse of the thesaurus.  While it's good to use the thesaurus in order to make your work more descriptive and interesting, you shouldn't use one in order to use "big" words that you normally wouldn't use.  Overusing the thesaurus results in an application paper that doesn't reflect the real you and may even lead to clunky writing that's difficult to understand.

As you plan your admission essay, you should also focus on just one event or topic about which to write.  Remember, your admission essay isn't a resume.  As such, you shouldn't attempt to cram every great thing you have ever done into one report.  Resist the urge to impress the admissions committee with a look at all of your awards or experiences.  Rather, impress them with your ability to tell a good story about just one event or experience.

As with all good writing, you should also avoid the use of cliches or the use of other terms and themes that are formulaic in nature.  Some themes that are overused in admission essays include: winning one for the team, discovering that money is the root of all evil, espousing religious beliefs, and taking in the weak and the poor.  Try coming up with a different idea that provides a unique perspective that will show the admissions committee who you really are.

Of course, it doesn't matter how great your ideas are if you have grammar errors, punctuation errors, or flaws in your logic or the flow.  Therefore, you should set the report aside for a few days and then re-read it before sending it in.  make sure that the paragraphs transition nicely into each other and that the sentences flow well and you'll be certain to have a winning paper.

Personal Essays

A personal essay is one that a learner will need to write about an opinion or personal matter that relates to the student.  Personal essays are usually assigned for English classes, as they're writing exercises that can help learners to refine their writing skills by thinking critically about matters that relate to them.

There are many different reasons that a professor might assign a personal paper.  In most cases, personal essays are high school assignments, as it's easier for students to write about things that they know (such as themselves) when they're learning how to craft essays.  Personal essays may also be assigned for a college class if a professor wants students to think critically about a particular topic.  

When a student needs to complete a personal essay, the professor will usually assign the topic of the report or describe the purpose.  For example, some students may need to describe an event that scared them.  Other students may need to write about a scary topic, such as their opinion on the death penalty for murder.  

To write a personal essay, students need to think critically about a topic so that they can then describe their feelings and opinions in detail throughout the document.  Some personal essays may also require that students describe events that they have been through or their reaction to an event that they have learned about.  

Personal reports should follow the same format as all other reports, except for the fact that they should be first-person and subjective.  

Unlike many other types of academic writing, personal reports should usually be first-person and subjective.  Students should make "I" statements, such as "I think," and "I would like."  The personal essay usually helps to describe a student's point-of-view.  Personal essays also usually incorporate a student's experiences that led to student to have the point-of-view that he/she has.  A personal essay may also describe an event in a student's life.  

Other types of academic writing are usually objective and completed in the third-person.  While a point-of-view may be inherently present in other types of writing, the point-of-view isn't the focus of the writing, like it's in a personal paper.  Also, other types of writing requires that students perform research on a particular topic in advance, whereas a personal essay can usually be completed based solely on experiences or existing opinions.  Therefore, personal essays are distinct from other types of academic works and writing on many levels.

Writing Personal Essays

When completing a personal essay for graduate school, your main objective is to simply sell yourself to the application officer.  In other words, you're trying to convince the application officer that you're unique and that you're worthy of being admitted to the school.  There are two different types of personal essays—or "personal statements"—that you can write when attempting to get into graduate school: "general" or "responsive."

If you're given free reign to complete a personal essay on a general topic of your choice, you'll have the maximum amount of freedom you could possibly have.  In many cases, applications for law school and medical school ask for a general personal paper.

With the personal paper that's completed to answer a specific question, you'll be asked to respond to a question that's personal in nature.  These types of report questions are often found with business and other types of graduate school applications, with the question typically having something to do with the profession.  In addition, some will ask multiple questions.  In the case of the personal paper that asks you to respond to a specific question, the key is to make sure you answer the question completely and that you don't veer off into another direction.

Regardless of the type of personal essay you're asked to write, there are several things you should ask yourself before you begin work.  For example, you should try to determine what characteristics you have that make you distinctive, special, or unique.  Further, you should try to determine what events in your life helped to shape you and make you the person you have become.  By considering these factors, you can develop an angle that will help to set you apart from the other applicants.

You should also consider the reasons that you became interested in this field when trying to shape your response to a personal paper.  In addition, you should consider the characteristics and traits that you have that make you particularly well-suited to working in this profession and the insights you have gained while being involved in the field.  Furthermore, consider the many different ways you have increased your knowledge in this field, from classes to workshops, from personal experiences to on-the-job training, your learning has likely been shaped in a number of ways.

When completing personal essays, you might also have the opportunity to discuss your career goals and to explain any discrepancies you may have on your academic record.  For example, if your GRE or LSAT scores were low, but you had great grades, you might mention that you have difficulty taking tests.  You can also mention any obstacles that you have had to overcome while working toward your career goals.

Remember, your personal report should help the application officer gain a much deeper understanding of who you are.  Therefore, it should be very personal in nature.  At the same time, you must make sure that it's grammatically correct, that it has proper punctuation, and that it has a logical flow, as well.

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