College Admissions Essay Help

3 Tips for the Essay Process

50 per day.

That’s the total number of essays the average college admissions counselor may read in a given work day.

(Not to mention, each of those essays is typically 3 – 5 pages long.)

So, now that you know what your audience is dealing with, how do you get your college essay to stand out from all the others?

3 Tips for the College Essay Process

The Essay Format. 1. The opening line in your introductory paragraph is your make-or-break opportunity with the admissions counselor. Capture his or her attention with an interesting thought… and close your lead paragraph with a statement that opens up your essay’s main point. 2. The next few paragraphs or so are your example copy: the specific, vivid details that illustrate your essay’s theme. 3. Close your essay with a single paragraph: a conclusion of your insights and your takeaways.

Intellectual Curiosity. Specificity matters. Rather than state your academic interest in English and the classics, explain your specific interest in The Great Gatsby, for example. To be even more specific – and to distinguish yourself further from your competition – draw some parallel between the book and an observation you’ve made.

The Right Way To Edit and Proofread. The normal college essay contains many unnecessary words. After you’ve taken your mind off it for a few days, read back through the essay and remove any words and statements that don’t need to be there. Also remember that “meandering” statements are admissions killers. Why use 30 words if you only need 10? Proofreading: Spell check the essay, then ask someone better with grammar than you to read your essay… red pen in hand.

Bonus Essay Tip: Also be aware that colleges are increasingly using plagiarism checking technologies to monitor essays turned in by prospective students. In fact, one such technology sniffs out essay plagiarism on the internet well enough that it’s being used in schools all over the world.

Click here to read about the College Application Checklist.

To your successful college search,

Scott Weingold

P.S. Here are a few Do’s and Do Not’s you’ll want to remember for your essay:


Spend as much time as you need to think about the topic you’ll write about.

Make the essay as presentable as possible, and be sure to stay within the essay’s format.

Do Not’s:

Write about a topic you’re unfamiliar with (or not passionate about)

Submit the first draft of your essay

Attach extra pages

Related Articles:

The College Video Essay

College Admissions Strategies

How to Master the SAT essay

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1 Comment

livelybrowsersOctober 19th, 2010 at 9:54 am

Thanks for good stuff

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News,, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.