Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay
Tips for writing an effective college essay.
College admissions essays are an important part of your college application and gives you the chance to show colleges and universities your character and experiences. This guide will give you tips to write an effective college essay.
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Writing a strong college admissions essay
Learn about the elements of a solid admissions essay.
Avoiding common admissions essay mistakes
Learn some of the most common mistakes made on college essays
Brainstorming tips for your college essay
Stuck on what to write your college essay about? Here are some exercises to help you get started.
How formal should the tone of your college essay be?
Learn how formal your college essay should be and get tips on how to bring out your natural voice.
Taking your college essay to the next level
Hear an admissions expert discuss the appropriate level of depth necessary in your college essay.
Student Story: Admissions essay about a formative experience
Get the perspective of a current college student on how he approached the admissions essay.
Student Story: Admissions essay about personal identity
Get the perspective of a current college student on how she approached the admissions essay.
Student Story: Admissions essay about community impact
Student story: admissions essay about a past mistake, how to write a college application essay, tips for writing an effective application essay, sample college essay 1 with feedback, sample college essay 2 with feedback.
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The college essay offers you an opportunity to tell admissions officers a bit about you and demonstrate why you'd be a good fit for their student body. It can seem daunting to get your essay off the ground, but take it step by step with these tips.
Jump to Section
- Before you start
- Writing your essay
- Review and revise
Before You Start
Do some self-exploration. Your college essay is all about showcasing yourself. Think about the strengths and interests you would most like colleges to know about you. What are you passionate about? What's most important to you? What are you best at?
If you need to pick the topic, be focused and specific. Writing about a single experience is usually a good idea; your essay should prove a single point or message. Try to avoid cliché topics like "winning a big game," taking a trip or even dealing with a death, these will not help your application stand out from the group.
Show your thoughtfulness. Be thoughtful in both your topic choice and the tone of your writing. Colleges look for students who have dealt with adversity, have overcome challenges and continue to grow from their experience. Admitting shortcomings is a sign of maturity and intelligence, so there is no need to portray yourself as a superhero; they will see through it.
Get started early. Self-exploration can be fun, but don't procrastinate on the actual writing. You don't want to rush or be up against a tight deadline; it will affect your work.
Create an essay outline. Sometimes creating an outline for your essay can help you get started. It will also help you organize your thoughts and develop a framework.
Writing Your Essay
Read the instructions and follow them. Be conscious of any length limits, and, if the topic is provided for you, analyze the question carefully. You want to be aware of everything they ask and answer everything thoroughly.
10 Tips for Writing a Strong Essay
Use your own voice. Don't use big words just for the sake of using big words. They can distract from the essay when misused. Remember, this essay is about you, so use words you normally use.
Use quotations and examples to show personal detail. Instead of just stating your point of view, you want to make your reader feel the experience. Adding detail will help illustrate your story. But don't use quotations simply to use them; make sure they make sense within the tone of your essay.
Try to be concise. While adding personal detail is good, you don't want to be wordy or long-winded; short sentences can be more powerful.
Don't use slang words. Generally speaking, slang words conjure the feeling of someone being unpolished, uncaring or not that serious. These are three things you don't want your admissions reader thinking about you. Likewise, avoid clichés and overuse of contractions.
Be honest. The point of this essay is to show who you are, not who you wish you were. Stick to what you know and your true personality will shine through.
Don't be afraid to use humor if it's part of who you are. Admissions officers can have a sense of humor too, and, when used appropriately, humor can make you stand out. However, don't make being funny one of your top goals in your college essay.
Review and Revise
Step away from your essay and come back later. Sometimes it helps to take a break from your work and come back in a few days. Review what you've written and make sure it still makes sense and conveys what you want it to.
Write multiple drafts. Sometimes you need to write a couple of drafts to get your essay right where you want it.
Type your essay. No matter how good your essay, if people can't read your handwriting they won't appreciate the work.
Proofread your essay. You want to make sure you've used proper spelling, grammar and punctuation, so ask an expert to proofread your essay.
Get feedback from others. Ask your friends and family to read your essay and tell you what they think. Be open to suggestions and ways to improve it, even if this means going back to the drawing board.
Revise if necessary. You want to edit your essay down to what is important. Make every word count!
Be prepared for every step from picking a school to making a decision.
See the steps to take at each grade level so you can be prepared.
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I’ve seen a lot of letters to past selves. Here’s what I would say to my post-pandemic self, they read. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are the only one you can count on. Slow down. You can’t go through life afraid to live it. You’re going to be so proud of yourself! I even wrote one in 2019, a tough love letter to my twenty-something self. But why look back? What about our future selves? What questions do we want to ask? What do we wonder?
The theme on Wit & Delight this month is “Show Up As Yourself.” So, I was intrigued to write about the possibility of change and speak to a portion of myself I don’t know. I want to explore how the future me might feel. I want to dedicate time to that mystery soul. This person could have children, not have children, experience loss, grow old, find growth, experience unknown pain, and develop new habits. When we write to selves about the past, we know them and there’s a pompous clarity in the writing. Sure, giving advice to our past selves is fun. But is it helpful? How can we best explore who we might become? How can we best break down the walls of the person we’re afraid to see? How do we write about the unknown?
I want to write a letter with more intention. I want to ask questions and discover what scares me about getting older. In a way, that’s what the most honest writing does for us anyway.
When I think about it, we are always (sort of) writing to future versions of ourselves. We write through dreams and aspirations, ideals, and healing. We imagine the future in great depth, struggling to center on the present. But, I want to write a letter with more intention. I want to ask questions and discover what scares me about getting older. In a way, that’s what the most honest writing does for us anyway. Right? Okay, here goes nothing/everything.
Dear future self,
Hi, it’s me from the past. I’m thirty-five. I don’t know how old you are now. I’m envisioning you’re in your sixties. You’ve lived an entire life. You’re as old as your mom was when you wrote this letter. I guess this letter is sort of like inception. I’m so afraid to write this. I’m struggling to imagine who you are. Can I be honest? You’re you, after all. Right now, I feel selfish. I want to tell you all the things I want in my life. I hope you got them. Right now, your thirty-something self is needy. I want a baby. I don’t want a baby. I want more money. I want to live within my means. Beyond my means. I want more time. I want to scoop minutes up and feel like I can’t possibly carry all the hours to the end of my driveway. I want everyone to live forever. I don’t want to experience deep grief. I’m so lucky. I’m so selfish.
If you’re sixty, lucky enough to live until then, I know you’ve experienced pain by now. The deep kind, the oceanic kind, the kind that is so dark and expansive, you wouldn’t be able to explain it to me. Are you okay with that grief? I read this quote in Susan Cain’s book Bittersweet recently (you should read it again and see how you feel). “If we could honor sadness a little more, maybe we could see it—rather than enforced smiles and righteous outrage—as the bridge we need to connect with each other. We could remember that no matter how distasteful we might find someone’s opinions, no matter how radiant, or fierce, someone may appear, they have suffered, or they will.” I didn’t mean to jump right into suffering. That must be my fear pouring through. You’ve always been a deeply melancholic person. You love sad music. You have an acute awareness of passing time. You have a joyful curiosity about specific beauty points in the world. Lately, I’ve identified with the Arabic proverb, “Days of honey, days of onion.” You are the definition of bittersweet. Are you still?
I also read in Bittersweet that, as we get older, we find comfort with the passing of time. I imagine you don’t try and slow it down. You are a quiet way of being, a force of storied tradition, loss, and joy. Does that feel beautiful?
I’m sure you’ve turned toward many humans, loved them, held them, and cared for them. But I hope you’ve done the same for yourself. Somehow, I know you will.
I have some wishes, as well. I hope you transform your sorrow and longings into art. I hope you’ve written a lot of letters. I hope work didn’t consume you, even though you let your job get away from you in your thirties. I hope you gave your parents the stage and the time. I’m sure you’ve turned toward many humans, loved them, held them, and cared for them. But I hope you’ve done the same for yourself. Somehow, I know you will. I want you to remember a few things about this time in your life. I want you to remember how light you felt when you rode Crow, that big chestnut horse you adored. I want you to remember how it felt to see your words in print for the first time, proof you exist. I want you to remember your little yard in front of your first home, the mow lines, and how much you care about grass and impressing the neighbors. I want you to remember late nights in the garage with Jake, refurbishing furniture so everything in your home always reminds you of the work, the polish. I want you to remember the smell of hot tomatoes and summer with your small niece and nephew. I want you to remember their sticky cheeks and bursting, tiny voices. Remember that Jake loves to build you things. Remember the ocean with your mom and sister, how it feels to reach out to them, and love them in the morning fog of Carmel. Remember the Northwoods with your friends when none of you had children. Remember hot, fried buttered buns at fish fries and how much time you had to watch your peonies grow. Remember the feverish wanting of pregnancy , the unknown hope of craving expansiveness, a physical outwardness.
I also want you to remember the hard things. I want you to remember living paycheck to paycheck, not being able to get the things you wanted because you didn’t have enough money. I want you to remember the doctor bills you struggled to pay, crying on the way home from work, not being able to imagine traveling to other countries, and wondering if your life was limited to 200 miles north, east, south, and west of your home. Did you travel more? Do you still feel this? All these things will feel different to you now, perhaps as distant memories. Small moments in your thirties that you’ll read later like you’re starving. Perhaps there’s something else entirely that makes you feel light. I hope you’re still riding. I can imagine you still care about clean yards and a pretty lawn. That’s what makes you a lot like your dad. We carry our family with us everywhere.
When you were in grade school, you’d write long lists of “favorite things” so you could look back years later and read about how much you’d changed. You were obsessed with seeing that, five years ago, you had a crush on so-and-so and loved (god forbid!) The O.C. and the color blue .
All these things will feel different to you now, perhaps as distant memories. Small moments in your thirties that you’ll read later like you’re starving. Perhaps there’s something else entirely that makes you feel light.
Let’s try that again! Right now, I’m really into Brené Brown’s podcast (are podcasts still a thing?), Dirty Shirleys, antiquing, The Vermont Country Store catalog, my Gentle Reminder Calendar , Paper Mate colorful pens , watching Love Island (sorry, future me), dressing like Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated , sleep aids like sipping iced Sleepy Time Tea before bed, horse head bookends, weather patterns, gingham accents, and how Jake looks at me when I’m talking about something I love. Do you still love these things? Do you wish for them? In my Passion Planner , I write down the biggest lesson I learn every month. Here’s what I’ve written this year:
- Resonance is important.
- Nothing beyond love and kindness matters.
- Your anger is you. Not anyone else. Sit inside that.
- Stop anticipating, trust the burn.
- Being uncomfortable is progress.
- Sadness is wide, grief is a close friend.
- Nothing should be rushed.
- You can always go back.
- Hold fear and joy in equal glory. Both can exist at once.
- You are always doing better than you think.
- Dandelions are good.
- To be happy, be more tree.
- Don’t go to a concert high.
I’m sure you have so many to add now. Or maybe you don’t. Or maybe you think these are ridiculous. Or maybe you no longer find the need to make “lesson lists.” I’m happy. I have my hard days. I have bad habits. I haven’t gone to the dentist to fill those cavities, so I hope you don’t have five crowns by now. I am putting a lot of money toward my 401K, so I hope I’m setting you up for success. I’m doing my best. That’s the lesson here. My thirty-something best is hopefully your sixty-something peace of mind.
Will people find this article on the internet in twenty-five years? ( Writer’s Note: Please don’t talk to me about how I’ll be sixty years old in twenty-five years.) Will they find it funny? Weird? I’m not sure. Perhaps, like in the past, internet articles will wash up like a lost bottle in the sea—little shards of the lived. And someday, I will come back to this past self, searching for my future. I might have to print it out, just in case. Either way, I hope you’re happy too. I hope life feels full. I hope the people in your life reflect how you have shown your beacon of light in the world, no matter how faint or how strong. Sincerely, Brittany, your thirty-something (past) self
Lastly, I highly recommend you try this exercise.
Writing to a later version of myself gave me some specific clarity about who I want to be and how I want to grow.
Here are some tips to try to write your own “future-self” letter:
- Write down what you want to remember.
- Write down what you don’t want to remember.
- Write about your favorite things.
- Jot down notes about how you’re feeling right now.
- Scribble down the lessons you’ve learned.
- Ask your future self how you’re different now.
- Lastly, write a note to yourself in a year, three years, five years… put them in an envelope and write down the date you can read them again.
Will you write yours?
Brittany Chaffee is an avid storyteller, professional empath, and author. On the daily, she gets paid to strategize and create content for brands. Off work hours, it’s all about a well-lit place, warm bread, and good company. She lives in St.Paul with her baby brother cats, Rami and Monkey. Follow her on Instagram , read more about her latest book, Borderline , and (most importantly) go hug your mother.
BY Brittany Chaffee - September 20, 2022
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What an interesting thing to do I love this idea!
xo Jessica <a href=”https://anindigoday.com/”>an indigo day</a>
Thank you, Jessica! Let me know if you give it a try!
This was absolutely beautiful – I did not expect to stumble across this this morning. Your writing is soft, and clever, and inspiring. You should be proud of what you created here. Thank you for sharing.
I appreciate this so much 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Trying this exercise truly helped me feel closer to myself and I hope it helps others do too! xoxo
This was absolutely beautiful. I didn’t expect to get emotional reading it but as a 36 year old woman so much of what you said was relatable. Thank you
Thank you so kindly, Melissa! This makes my day to hear you could relate to this letter. It was so meaningful for me to write, so I’m happy it was for you as well!
Amazing article! Thanks for the positive and encouraging words of wisdom! 😊
Thank you so much for reading, Britney! Have a lovely weekend!
Thank you for this. I am 70 and my 8 year old adopted daughter has an assignment to do this very thing. I think it will be a great experience for her. Your words reached my heart and came out of my eyes. Thank you
Hello, Diane. It is so incredible to me that your daughter is doing this exercise! I think I did something like it at her age too and I wish I could find that letter now. Thank you for reading and loving.
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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Expectations — My Future Expectations throughout the Semester and Life
My Future: My Expectations in Life
- Categories: Expectations Life Goals
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Words: 452 |
Published: Sep 1, 2020
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Essay on My Future Goals In Life
Students are often asked to write an essay on My Future Goals In Life in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.
Let’s take a look…
100 Words Essay on My Future Goals In Life
My educational goals.
I aim to finish school with good grades. This means working hard and studying well. I want to understand what I am taught, not just remember it for exams. Learning should be fun, and I plan to enjoy finding out new things.
My Career Ambition
After school, I wish to have a job that I love. I am not sure what it will be yet, but I want to help people and make a difference. It’s important to me that my work feels meaningful.
I also plan to keep improving myself. I want to be kind, patient, and a good friend. Reading books, playing sports, and traveling will help me grow. I will strive to be healthy and happy.
Lastly, I hope to give back to my community. Volunteering at local places like libraries or shelters is something I look forward to. I believe even small actions can make a big impact.
250 Words Essay on My Future Goals In Life
My dream job.
When I think about my future, the first thing that comes to mind is my dream job. I want to become a teacher. My goal is to stand in front of a class and share knowledge with lots of students. Teachers help children learn new things and become smarter. I love the idea of helping kids achieve their dreams by teaching them.
Helping My Community
Another important goal for my future is to help my community. I want to do things like clean up parks and help people who do not have homes or enough food. It feels good to help others, and I want to do my part to make my town a better place for everyone.
Staying healthy is also a big goal for me. I plan to eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables and to exercise by playing sports or going for runs. Being healthy will help me have the energy to reach my other goals.
Learning Every Day
My last goal is to keep learning new things all my life. I want to read lots of books and maybe even travel to different countries to learn about other cultures. The world is full of interesting things, and I want to know as much as I can.
In conclusion, my future goals are to become a teacher, help my community, stay healthy, and keep learning. These goals will make me happy and will be good for the people around me too.
500 Words Essay on My Future Goals In Life
Introduction to my future goals.
Everyone has dreams about what they want to do in the future. I am no different. I have many goals that I want to reach as I grow up. These goals help me stay focused and work hard. In this essay, I will share some of my future goals in life.
Firstly, my education is very important to me. I want to do really well in school. My goal is to study hard and get good grades. I believe that if I can do this, I will be able to go to a good college. Going to college will help me learn more and get ready for the job I want in the future. I also want to learn different things, not just what we learn in school. Reading books, watching educational videos, and talking to experts are all ways I can learn more.
After finishing college, I want to have a job that I love. I am not sure what job that will be yet, but I know I want it to be something that makes me happy and helps other people. Maybe I will be a teacher, a doctor, or an engineer. No matter what, I want to work hard and be good at what I do. I also want to keep learning new things even when I am working. This will help me do my job better.
Health and Fitness Goals
Being healthy is also one of my goals. I want to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. Playing sports, going for walks, and riding my bike are fun ways to stay fit. Being healthy will help me have the energy to reach my other goals. I also want to learn how to cook healthy meals. This way, I can take care of my body and feel good every day.
I also have personal goals. I want to be a kind person who helps others. I can volunteer at places like animal shelters or help clean up parks. Being kind also means being a good friend and family member. I want to spend time with my family and friends and make good memories with them.
I love to see new places and learn about different cultures. So, one of my goals is to travel. I don’t need to go far. Even exploring new places in my own country is exciting. Traveling helps me understand the world better and meet new people.
Conclusion: Staying Positive and Working Hard
To reach all these goals, I know I need to stay positive and work hard. Sometimes things might be tough, but I will keep trying. I will also ask for help when I need it. Teachers, family, and friends can all help me stay on track. I am excited for the future and all the things I will learn and do. These goals are like a map for my life, and I am ready to follow it.
That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.
If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:
- Essay on My Favourite Weather
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- Personal Experience
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My Future Ambition (Essay Sample)
Table of Contents
My Future Ambition (Sample Essay)
While growing up every kid and teenager dreams about what they want to become in the future. We all have different ambitions in life and they usually keep on changing as we keep on growing. Our ambitions define how we act and behave by providing aim to our lives. An ambitious person is much more focused and attentive as compared to a person with no aim in life. Inspiration and influence are the driving forces behind the ambition. People want to become like those who influence and inspire them. I also have the ambition to become a medical doctor someday. In this future ambition essay, I will discuss why I have a strong desire to become a doctor and who is the source of influence for me.
My Future Ambition Essay Example – 700 Word Long Essay
Everyone has a goal and ambition in life. As kids, we all dreamt about what we wanted to become in the future. People usually dream of being rich, living a good life, and owning a huge company, but for me, my ambition is to help humanity by becoming a doctor. My ambition in life is to be the best doctor and serve my community. As a doctor, I will serve my people by offering important medical services to save their lives. I will help the sick and needy patients no matter what their financial position is. Even if my patients could not afford my fee I will help them without asking for money. Unlike doctors nowadays who ask for large sums of money, I will help needy people on the basis of humanity and their smiles will be my fee.
A good doctor gives hope and encourages patients to look at the bright side of life. When I become a doctor, I will help the poor and the needy and will volunteer my services to ease their problems. My ambition of becoming a doctor gives me a sense of direction in life. Being a doctor means studying hard and getting good grades to go to the best medical school. For me becoming a doctor is not just a career, it is a symbol of joy and hope.
The journey is not easy, it requires a lot of sacrifices, but I have confidence that I will become a successful doctor. I will make a difference in my community by treating needy patients and educating poor students for free. I will treat my patient with respect and ensure that patients feel comfortable at all times. I will not ask for huge sums of money even for rich patients because it’s unfair to do so. I wish that I would one day fulfill my dreams to serve my community.
My ambition to become a doctor is not only my dream but also my parents’ dream. They see the potential in me and want me to progress towards achieving my ambition. I remember my grandmother died from cancer because my parents could not afford the treatment expense. My father wept for months after my grandmother passed away and blamed himself because he had no money. I saw my father in pain and agony and I don’t want that to happen to anyone ever again. My father is also proud of my ambition and he appreciates all my efforts to achieve this goal.
When I was a little boy, I always wanted to help those in need. I liked volunteering my services. During my free time, I would take care of my old grandmother who encouraged me to consider a career in medicine. Initially, I thought of being a singer because I loved singing, but I never considered being a doctor because it required much dedication. As I grew up and met many people in need of medical services, therefore I reshaped my ambition and left every other thing aside. I realized that I had the potential of becoming a doctor after I attended my first training as a volunteer at a local hospital. The experience changed my life.
After volunteering at the local hospital, I received positive feedback from the supervisor who recommended me for an exchange program. The program enabled me to get the chance to study medicine in one of the prestigious medical schools in the US. I try to do my best to become a good doctor by studying hard. I have many plans after I complete my studies and become a successful doctor. I also made a vow to myself that I would be faithful to my duties and respectful to my ambition.
Short Essay Sample On My Future Ambition – 300 Word Short Custom Essay
People always ask kids and teens about what they want to become in the future once they grow up. At some time in life, we all have wondered about our future ambitions in life. What we want to achieve or become is mostly influenced by the people and things that surround us. Children and teenagers want to become like people who inspire and influence them. Our ambition gives us purpose in life and we all want to become like someone. For me, I have an ambition of becoming a great dancer someday.
My Future Ambition
As a kid, I always asked myself: “That is ambition important in life?” I realized that ambition depends upon our interest, choice, and our role model in life. I had an interest in dancing and my role model was none other than Michael Jackson. From that day onwards I made dancing my future ambition and started practicing every day to improve my skill. Another reason I chose this as my future ambition is that everyone only wants to become a doctor or engineer. I want to remove this negative stigma when it comes to choosing passion over money.
Why I Chose this Ambition?
It seems odd to people that I have chosen to become a dancer. I chose dancing because it lets me express myself, I feel relieved, and all my stress goes away. I also like the crowd groans when they are just amazed to see you move and I start feeling good about myself.
Other than all that dancing teaches us many life lessons of hard work, patience, determination, and consistency. These lessons don’t just make you a better dancer but also a better person in life. Through this ambition, I also want to eliminate all the negative stigmas associated with a creative career path. I want to tell people that engineers, lawyers, doctors, and scientists are not the only four professions in the world.
In Conclusion, everyone should be free to choose his/her ambition in life. Just like my parents, all parents should allow their children to choose any profession they want to. On the other hand, teenagers should also get good grades to enter their profession without a problem.
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FAQ About My Ambition In Life Essay
How to write an essay about your future ambitions.
To write an essay on future ambition you have to tell about your ambition and then explain why you chose this ambition and what you want to achieve.
What Are Some Examples Of Ambition For The Future?
Doctor, pilot, soldier, engineer, lawyer, teacher, and scientist are some examples of most common future ambitions.
Is ambition important in life?
Yes, ambition is very important in life. Without any ambition, you will feel like you have no aim and that’s not good for emotional and mental well-being.
Home / Essay Samples / Life / 20 Years From Now / My Vision for the Future: a Fulfilling Life in 20 Years
My Vision for the Future: a Fulfilling Life in 20 Years
- Category: Life
- Topic: 20 Years From Now , Future Plan
Pages: 1 (464 words)
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