Personally Speaking

Simply put, your admission essay is all about you. When a school reviews your application, admissions officers learn vital information about your achievements and your performance in school — but your essay is your best chance to be yourself. After all, you can’t sum up who you are in a few blanks on a form.

Choose a topic that interests you, because you’ll write a better essay in the end. And remember, what you say is just as important as how you say it.

Here are some steps to follow, tips to guide you, and choices to consider when sitting down to plan and write your admission essay:

Essay Writing continued…


You’ll want to start your essay writing process by outlining and planning your draft. Remember to have a clear focus supported by research you’ve done. When you work out your first draft, be sure to include plenty of details, too, to make your writing compelling and substantive. Finally, allow enough time for editing — and get a friend or family member to read your draft, too — so you can correct errors and rewrite any sections that aren’t clear. Consider putting your essay aside for a night and coming back to it later. You may feel differently about something you wrote before.


FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS :: Remember that those reading your essay want to hear about you, so keep your focus clear throughout your draft.

BE ORIGINAL :: Avoid cliché language that sounds like anyone could write it. Keep your statements personal, accessible and informative.

SURPRISE THEM :: Use your essay as an opportunity to communicate something about yourself that your application can’t say. Don’t talk about things the reader will already know from reviewing your application.

BE YOURSELF :: Write the way you normally speak. That doesn’t mean using slang or casual language, but it also doesn’t mean using lofty, unrealistic words when everyday ones will do.

TAKE YOUR TIME :: Start early enough so you don’t have to rush. Give yourself plenty of time to do the best you can.


What you choose to write about is your decision, but it can be one of the most important aspects of your essay as it’s reviewed. Don’t worry about choosing a far-fetched topic that you think no one else will use. It’s not as important to choose a never-before-seen topic as it is to write a focused, clear and informative essay about your topic. Remember that your choice can say a lot about who you are — your interests outside the classroom, your personal values and the way you think. Let your essay topic choice speak for you.