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3 Do's and Don'ts of Writing Your College Essay

Your college essay is the personal portion of your application that shows admissions counselors who you are beyond grades and extra-curricular activities. Presenting your personality and answering a prompt in a profound manner can be a lot to handle for a short essay. Below are tips experts at THiNK PREP have compiled to facilitate your writing process.


1. Remember First Impression Matters

Engage your reader with a compelling introduction that commands attention. Your essay acts as a first impression on the Admissions board. Make your introduction the most memorable part of your piece to smoothly segue-way into the body paragraphs.

2. Include a Distinct Conflict, a Defined Resolution

The word limit is 650 words. It's best to write about a conflict you've already resolved or an experience you've had sufficient time to reflect on. That way, you can present your story, and what you've learned, into a tight package for readers to digest quickly.

3. Show Your Self on Campus

Not literally (though visiting colleges is a recommended experience) but express yourself enough in your essay to depict traits that Admissions can imagine manifest on campus. Admissions counselors are always impressed with students who show they can be assets inside and outside the classroom: show yourself.


1. Copy Essays You've Seen Online

There are a plethora of great essays that college counselors have praised online. While tempting to model your own essay after such examples, it's best to be as original as possible. Millions of students apply to college every year; they have probably seen the same examples you have. Take the valuable aspects of each model you've seen and make it your own.

2. Excessively Use SAT Vocabulary

Students are overly eager to use the terms they've learned from studying the SAT; only knowing a word's definition and not its application, they use advanced vocabulary erroneously. Rather than including such words to compensate a lack of content, students should write a great story in their own words and use SAT vocabulary to positively accent their work.

3. Forget to Double-Check College Names

To express marked interest in a school, some students include names of buildings, locations, and classes exclusive to a school. This can please some counselors, but often students forget to exclude such terms in their other submissions. With writing one essay being an arduous task in itself, we recommend that students write an essay that can be use for every application.

THiNK PREP offers College Counseling services, led by experts, including a former Harvard Admissions Interviewer, who have over a decade of experience. Our consultants help students prepare for every step of the application process, from college choice to interview prep. Our counseling and academic prep has helped students enroll in top schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, and Boston College. To receive guidance on your road to success:

Email us at: Give us a call at: (212) 686-5077 Visit us at:

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