Admission Essay - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Admission Essay

Is anything more dreaded than the essay? It's bad enough having to write one for class, when it's worth 100 points or a percentage of your grade. Now you have to write one that can be the deciding factor on where, or if, you go to college.

Don't panic. First of all, the essay is only one part of the decision process for college admission. Secondly, you're going to do fine – because you know how to write an effective essay. Just follow these steps.

  • Generate ideas.
    • Research the topic. If you are to write about yourself, think about the decisions and actions that led you to this point.
    • Brainstorm around the topic. Spend some time jotting down every thought you have. Don't worry about sounding great right now.
    • Remember to think about how the topic applies to you. The point is to stand out with a unique and personal essay.
  • Draft an outline.
    • Put your thoughts down on paper first.
    • Arrange your ideas in a logical order.
    • Try out attention-grabbing introductions and logical conclusions.
  • Write a rough draft.
    • Develop a theme, or major idea, to make your point.
    • Share how you overcame obstacles or met challenges, but be positive – no sob stories!
    • Show; don't tell. Examples and little stories make an essay come to life and add your individual character to the words.
    • Use transitions to make your ideas flow.
  • Review and edit your draft.
    • Wait a couple of days before this step. You may have new ideas or see ways to freshen your writing.
    • Choose the best introduction and conclusion, or revise what you have.
    • Have two or three adults review and edit your essay.
    • Make corrections suggested by your reviewers.
    • Proofread and have someone else proofread your essay.
  • Make final changes.

 

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