Viewing entries tagged
writing college essays

Writing College Essays: Five Myths You Need to Know

Writing College Essays: Five Myths You Need to Know

The college application process is stressful. From deciding on your dream school, prepping for the SAT or ACT, to finishing all those applications, the task can feel near impossible. It's not - and neither is writing a college essay that works. To help our college-bound high school seniors, let's debunk some myths surrounding writing a persuasive college essay.

Myth #1: "I have to write the greatest essay in the world."

Every student wants to stand out, but you don't have to write the Iliad or the Odyssey to do so. The college essay is your opportunity to showcase your achievements and contributions. However, what most people don't realize is that they overindulge and exaggerate when talking about themselves. Admissions offices can read right through self-praise - what they are looking for is authenticity. Emphasize achievements or lessons you have learned that highlight your best traits. Tell a story about your experiences. What have they taught you? The truth sounds a lot better than you think.

Myth #2: "I'm not creative."

You don't have to be creative to write a successful college essay; but you have to be personable. Don't regurgitate the same answers for every application. Admissions offices can tell when an application has been recycled. Add your own flair to each essay. Whether that be in your tone, content, or writing style, be sure to do something unique with each essay so that your reader remembers it.

Myth #3: "I should limit my number of applications because college applications are expensive."

You're right, applying to college gets expensive - but just like scholarships, there is money out there for applying to college too! If applying to college is out of your budget, contact the admissions office of the school you're applying to. They can give you forms to apply for a fee waiver. The process may seem cumbersome, but a free application will be worth it.

Myth #4: "I can wait until tomorrow."

Just do it now. Are you one of those people who writes something ingenious at the last minute? Your brain actually works better when you exercise it. That exercise will make your ingenuity a habit instead of something that saves you when you're under pressure. Your college essay does not have to be perfect the first time. Prioritize consistency over the grandiose last-minute essays and the result will be a well-written and concise articulation of why your dream school needs you.

Myth #5: "I have to know what I want to study."

No, you really don't. If you know what you want to study, good for you! However, having your mind made up about your future has no sway on your ability to write a persuasive college essay. A large part of college is figuring out what you want to do - that's why you're going. So when you write, talk about your interests and passions to showcase your potential. Try adding how you think the school will help you hone these interests. That way, your application will be unique and tailored to the school.

See? Writing college essays isn't as intimidating as it may seem. Keep these myth busters in mind the next time you're stressed about the college application process and you'll be good to go. Remember to always run your essays through a proofreading service like Scholly Editor for the finishing touches!

Need help paying for college after you get in? Get matched to scholarships instantly when you build a profile on Scholly.

Rome wasn't written in a day.

Rome wasn't written in a day.

So you wrote your first, or your second, or your fifteenth scholarship application essay for college and you didn’t win yet! After that intensive scholarship search (or with Scholly not so intensive), you just haven’t won. You might be feeling a little down on yourself or thinking that ‘this is just never going to work’! One thing you can’t do is undervalue the experiences and the practice you’re receiving from filling out those scholarship applications. Each one that you fill out gives you a little more knowledge and a lot more clarity in writing to the prompt and expressing yourself appropriately. Always remember that skills are like muscles, you have to exercise them and work them out in order for them to grow.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and an award winning scholarship application isn’t typically written out of the starting gate. Get other people like your counselors, parents, and other people you respect to review your essay and help you apply to scholarships for college. Don’t take too many opinions but 2-3 people will help you guide your essay in a way that really shines. Here’s the caveat; the more essays and practice that you do doesn’t always equal better. Learning and improvement take repetition and reflection

Make sure you’re constantly assessing what you can do better and incorporate that into your next scholarship essay. This is the art of scholarships for high school students. Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. It’s up to you to stick it out through the tough times, keep writing, and win those scholarships! Don’t let the lack of responses or edits from your mentors sway you from excelling. Every roadblock is meant to be shattered through and every challenge serves as an opportunity for you to grow.

Take the long view and see every essay and writing example as testing your talents and growing your scholarship winning abilities. You are a winner, and with the right writing under your belt, you’ll build the confidence and competence you need to succeed. Here’s to Rome not being built in a day and you writing your own scholarship winning essay!