What do the colleges want to read in my essay? Most importantly they want to know about you.
A big part of the application is your essay or Personal Statement. This is a pretty big task to undertake for your average 17 year-old, probably a big task for a 45 year-old too. Essentially the college wants to know what makes you who you are. The most important thing you can do is to look carefully at the questions they ask and be sure you are answering the questions. Sometimes students will go off on a tangent that, while important and interesting, doesn’t relate to the question being asked.
This is your opportunity to explain to the university who you are and essentially why they should accept you, so you want to be sure your message is accurate. Be sure you write a rough draft and have two other people look at it. They can give you feedback about what they learned from the essay and see if you correctly conveyed your message. Another good idea is to read the essay out loud; this can help you to see and hear where you may have chosen the wrong word, or omitted an important word.
Be careful with your tone; you don’t want to sound too depressing. If your essay centers around an unhappy experience, as some of these essays often do, you need to create a positive message about what you have learned. You don’t want to have the admissions officers thinking depressing thoughts when thinking about you.
The important point here is this is an important essay; you should make sure it is one of the best essays you have written. Take your time, rewrite, check, edit and make sure it is good.