Your essay should tell your readers, who are admissions officers, something about you beyond the rest of your application materials such as your GPA and SAT scores. Your narrative essay should reveal both your unique perspective and your writing skills. Don't pick a topic or story that could easily be told by someone else. The most common college essay topics relate to sports or mission trips. Think about what you want your readers to know. What story do you have to tell? Your essay should not be an epic tale of your life, but provide insight into who you are, and how you make a difference. What are you passionate about? What are the pivotal points in your life thus far? Your essay should reveal one small story or a moment in time. Be sure and capture your reader's attention immediately with a startling statement, a funny example or an anecdote. Journalists call this a "hook" and speech writers call it an "attention getter." Your content should be focused and have a clear theme. Conclude by referring back to your introduction to give your essay a sense of balance. Above all, you want to keep your reader, reading! Avoid writing an essay that will embarrass the reader and don't try and sell yourself. Just show that admissions officer who you are. Be succinct and make every sentence count. Write, read aloud and rewrite. Proofread and edit. Stay within the required word count. Abraham Lincoln once wrote: "I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn't have the time."

Last Modified on September 10, 2014