Having a clear and organized plan of action is so important when it comes to writing your admissions essay. This is where your outline comes in. Pull it back out and get ready to write!

● Revise your outline

It’s time to break out that outline you have been working on and put it to good use! Read over it in it’s entirety and make sure that it is still presenting you accurately to the reader. Go over it with a friend, and cross reference it with the school’s guidelines and any suggestions they may give. Even as you continue through the writing process, never abandon your outline. Make it work hard for you.

● Checks and Balances

As mentioned above, it is important to constantly check yourself to make sure you are meeting the school’s expectations for your essay. Be sure that you are including everything they ask you to include, and not dwelling on subjects that they do not require you to speak about. Here is a list of qualities that I find most colleges are looking for in a candidate: focus, intention, originality, creativity, enthusiasm, determination, mystery, passion, and of course, intellect. Even if it means finding instances in your essay that display each characteristic, it will be worth it. Find opportunities to interject these traits into your essay, but don’t oversell yourself so the essay sounds like an advertisement.

● Answer the question

If you find yourself wondering off topic, bring yourself back to your outline. Don’t go off on tangents about barely related experiences. If the admissions essay asks you a question, it is because they want to know the answer. So give them just that; an honest answer that will give them a clear impression of who you are and why you are suited.

● Don’t repeat yourself

If you have spent valuable time filling out an application, why repeat yourself in your essay? Feel free to touch on things that are significant and relevant, even if they appear on your application, but do not dwell on them. Spend time writing about things that the reader does not already know about you. Organize individual thoughts into miniature theses, with introductions, transitions, a focus and a conclusion. These may all appear in just two to three sentences, but this will make your admissions essay easier to read and remember. Now, that’s a good use of your time.

● Don’t forget to personalize

Personalization is very important; after all, who would get admitted if all essays were the same? But be careful! Don’t be cynical, and absolutely never say a negative word about the college you are writing to. If necessary, censor yourself, and say only the things that will help your case, and nothing that won’t.

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