My #1 college essay tip? It all boils down to two simple words: be yourself.
Your student should use this opportunity to shed some light on who he is and make a point to be transparent in the essay. College admissions officers want to get to know your student. Pretending to be someone they are not in an effort to impress admissions isn’t going to earn any points when evaluating the application. The officers want to know more about your student, who they are, what is important to them, and why they want to attend their college. They can’t get that information if your student can’t be himself in the essay.
This seems like an obvious point, but many applicants end up writing essays that do not actually shed much light on themselves.
No matter how beautiful the descriptions are, or how emotionally moving the content is, if your student does not relate these thoughts back to himself as an individual, his essay will be ineffective.
A strong application essay allows admissions officers to visualize the applicant behind the numbers, and to know exactly what type of person they are. The essay should make them feel that they have gotten to know your student on a personal level, as if they have met your student face-to-face.
If you don’t follow the “be yourself” rule in the essay, all the waxing eloquent and using all the proper grammar will fall flat. It’s all about your student giving the admissions officer a picture of who they are and showing the college why they should want to get to know them better.
Check out my guide for parents: Parents Countdown to College Crash Course