How To Write An Admissions Essay

how to write an admissions essay

Article structure

  1. How to write an admissions essay
  2. Structure
  3. Sources
  4. Revision

How to Write an Admissions Essay

Joining college is a dream for many individuals, and the application process is perhaps one of the most daunting experiences for many applicants. As a part of the application process, potential future students are required to submit an application essay. This essay is essentially a personal statement that allows the applicant the show the admissions panel who he or she really is. In essence, it is a mirror through which the admissions panel views each applicant, and this greatly influences the selection process. As such, it is vital that each applicant has a strong and unique application essay that increases their chances of being admitted into the college of their choice. The common application is used by many applicants in seeking admission into their desired colleges. This is a college admission that applicants use to seek admission in colleges and universities that are members of this organization across the USA. Regardless of whether the applicant uses the common application or not, it is vital that one has a good application essay to ensure that they present themselves in the best light possible and also to increase their chances of admission significantly.

Along the same vein, it should be noted that there are various types of college admission essays. However, these are relatively simple seeing as they are classified according to the level of education an applicant is actually pursuing. To elaborate on this, there are application essays for college, university, and graduate school level. While the intricate details that one presents on these essays may slightly differ, they basically take on a similar format. For college admission essays, the main goal is essentially to show the admissions panel that you are a candidate that stands to add value to the college. Additionally, the essay should be a picture through which the applicants present themselves in terms of their personality. In order to achieve this, applicants can rely on using three main questions in the application essay for college that serve to demonstrate their personalities.

These are:

  • ‘why this college?’,
  • ‘why you should be admitted into the college’,
  • ‘what value do you stand to bring to the institution?’.

Through this application essay outline, applicants can paint a picture that shows why they are the best fit for the college, as well as why they should be granted admission.

Insofar as graduate school application essays are concerned, much more detail should be provided by the applicant, and especially personal details that demonstrate the applicant’s interest and motivation for joining graduate school. This is often because graduate-level study is more demanding than college level and typically seeks to increase knowledge in a particular field of study. By demonstrating their personal drive, interest, and motivation, applicants stand to increase their chances of being admitted into the graduate school of their choice.

In all the above-mentioned application essays, topic selection is of paramount importance. This is essential because while an application essay is meant to highlight the applicant’s personality, it should also address a topic that clearly resonates with the applicant and their desire for admission into the college, university, or graduate school. Seeing as the essay is meant to present the applicant in positive light, applicants should choose a topic that not only shares their personal story and journey but also that presents their dedication and creativity. By using their own voice, applicants can present themselves as authentic. Moreover, keeping the focus of the essay narrow allows readers to follow the narrative of the essay, which resonates positively with many admissions panels.

There are some common prompts that are regularly used in most college and graduate school application essays. These include:

  1. What extracurricular activity has been meaningful to you and why?
  2. What book do you love and what most resonates with you in it?
  3. What is your story?
  4. Why are you interested in attending this school?
  5. Do you believe we can learn from failure and why?
  6. Who do you admire most and what inspires your admiration?
  7. Do you believe beliefs can be challenged and why?
  8. Describe your transition from childhood to adulthood and what you learned from it.
  9. Explain how you would solve a problem and why your solution is appropriate.
  10. What do you love most about your life and why?

The outline that is used in an admissions essay is of paramount importance. This is because it essentially directs the flow of the essay and provides a more congruent and coherent presentation of one’s narrative. Like most essays, the outline of the essay should take on an introduction-body-conclusion format. This is the most widely used essay format, and it also allows for the easy presentation of one’s ideas and thoughts in the essay.

For instance, given a prompt such as:

“Why do you want to attend this college”

an applicant, regardless of their level, could respond in the given below outline for their admissions essay.

Common structure

Introduction tips

  • It should be led by an attention-grabbing opening sentence. In this way, it ensures that the reader commits their attention to reading the essay which is vital in ensuring that one’s personality and thoughts are understood by the admissions panel;
  • It could also include a short anecdote that previews the main points to be addressed later on in the essay;
  • For maximum efficiency, the final sentence in the introduction should state the thesis that the applicant has selected clearly and in as few words as possible.

Body tips

In this section, the applicant should ensure that they expound on their thesis with stories, life experiences, and personal observations. In reality, this is section that allows the applicant to fully demonstrate their personality and their thoughts towards the prompt given. Moreover, it gives the applicant an opportunity to tell their story in their own voice. It is always recommended that:

  1. Applicant uses personal experiences, opinions, and thoughts as much as possible, as these convey plenty about one’s personality and character;
  2. To ensure student writes a coherent application essay, it is always advisable to limit each idea or thought to its own paragraph, while ensuring the use of transition words between sentences and paragraphs. This works well towards ensuring the reader’s attention is maintained as they read through the essay. The use of short, complete, and elaborate sentences is also highly encouraged.

Conclusion tips

The conclusion for the admissions essay should summarize the main points of one’s argument as elaborated through the body of the essay. The conclusion should not provide any new information and should re-affirm the thesis of the essay as presented in the introduction of the application essay.

Choice of sources

To always guarantee a good essay, applicants should use sources that are relevant to the program that they are applying to join, and also to the narrative that they will be presenting in the essay. This is important because it ensures congruency of relevance throughout the essay, which helps to drive home one’s main points to the admissions panel. Such sources are often identified from the internet and from local libraries.


Finally and most importantly, all essays must be proofread and revised thoroughly to ensure they are free of mistakes. To ensure this, it is advisable to have one’s friends, parents or teachers read the essay and provide their feedback as a form of getting admissions essay help. This helps to improve the quality of the essay. Thereafter, all citations should be provided. Finally, the applicant should choose a title for the essay. This is done last to ensure that the title choice fully reflects the content, opinions, and thoughts presented in the essay.

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