College Application Countdown: The Essay

SCV_Quote_XmasEssayCollege admission application deadlines are looming and you don’t want to skimp when it comes to finishing up your college application essay. Explore Smart College Visit’s tips for better essay writing.

When I kicked off our Christmas celebration by reading a letter I wrote to my family about what Christmas meant to me, I was not surprised my sentiment was met with a collective eye-roll and plenty of snickering topped off by my son’s exclamation: “I didn’t know Christmas had an essay requirement!”

While I voluntarily contributed an essay to engage and inspire my family, many college-bound teens will be adding the finishing touches to required college application essays. As the rush to meet application deadlines approaches, rushing to finish your essay is the last thing you want to do. Make time to write, rest, and review.

Write it right:

Write with passion and honesty. Write from the heart. Colleges Want You to Get Real. They also want you to follow the word limit. If the requirement states 500 words, write 500 words. Don’t go over. Keep in mind admission counselors have to read all of these essays. You want yours to stand out but not because you did not follow directions.


After writing your essay, walk away. Take a break and go do something else for a while. When you return, pick up your essay and read it through aloud. Edit, rewrite, and run the spell-checker.


Go back to the essay requirements stated on the admission application and treat these as a checklist. Review your essay to make sure you’ve met the requirements. Run spell-check once more. Print your essay and reread. Once you can check this off your list, you’ll be free to focus on the finishing up the application before the deadline.

To ensure your essay won’t be met with eye-rolls and snickering, check out these guides to writing college application essays: