How to Sell Yourself to a College in Your Admissions Application


A big part of college application essays is selling yourself. You are your biggest promoter and supporter. For the basic college prompt of why do you want to attend *blank school*?, there lies the hidden blessing when it comes to showcasing yourself. Colleges want to see through your essay how you would contribute to their academic and campus life, and they want to see what personality or admirable qualities they could admit to their school by accepting you.

It is your job to convince and persuade them that you will be a valuable member of their student body.

Here are factors that you should definitely include in your essay to highlight your place in their school.


List Your Skills

Colleges want uniqueness and usefulness. Mention in your essay what skills you've collected inside and outside of the classroom that will be useful and unique to their institution. Include volunteer work and employment skills that you've learned and applied in real life.

Don't be shy to also include awards and memorable mentions that you've earned in your community or school, to display in your essay that you can actually utilize your skills to make a change in your school or community. Most importantly, integrate into your essay how you used those skills in your academic or work life and how you can use them to improve or contribute to the school you are applying to.

Example: As the student body President, I have obtained many leadership skills, and plan to continue my expansion with leadership positions beyond my high school education. I want to be involved in causes I find important, like for example the Breast Cancer Research Foundation that operates in the Medical School at your university.



Don't hide your admiration for the school you're applying to. Include the courses and programs you are excited about and explain how you would benefit from those classes. Also, write about the causes and organizations the school has, or is a part of, that you are very passionate about and admire.

Tell them why this is the place for you.

 Even look for nearby organizations by the school and talk about how you want to use the knowledge and skills you will surely gain from their education to make a change around the community. Show them that you will also be a good representation of their school by sharing, not only what you would like to do at the school, but what you would like to do beyond it.

Example: The agricultural program holds such rich opportunities to learn management skills that I would surely utilize in other areas, like my goal to intern for Disney Animal Science and Environment. I believe I can gain the skills and knowledge from the astounding teachings from the agriculture professors to manage my career goals.


In your essay, empathize about how you want to learn. Show how determined you are to learn new things and gain new skills.

Nobody is perfect, everyone can improve, and they want to see your thirst and hunger for new information and opportunities. Explain how you would like to go in-depth on a certain subject and how you would like to use that knowledge to help the school or community.

Colleges and universities are learning and teaching opportunities, so also mention any research the school has done and how you would like to be a part of contributing and creating research at their institution. Look up certain projects or programs you admire about the school and explain how you would like to be part of it and what you would like to gain from it and how you would use those new found skills.

Example: Through your amazing activities and outstanding organizations, I believe I can expand on my Violin musical talents with the remarkable and award-winning Music Society Club at your university. I aspire to win and participate in their events, and to represent the musical talent at your university.



Lastly, show them what you are capable of.

Paint them a mental picture of you attending the school. Show how you would mix into the student body with the clubs, activities, and academics.

Do research on their website and find specific points where you think you might fit in and write how you would like to learn and contribute to it. Definitely, include if a club or organization has inspired you in high school and how you would like to bring that sprit to the school and continue your contribution. In your essay, you also want to talk about your personality. Describe the qualities and recognition you would add to the school made if you were accepted.

Example: From my attendance at the Women of Tomorrow club at my high school, I would also like to bring my spirit and passion of empowering and motivating women in today's society to the campus. This college is so mature and modernize, and I would like to continue that by joining other clubs that empower women to strive for their place in the business world.

Those are some help tips and subjects to include in your college essay.

Recall that it is your responsibility to represent yourself. Be confident in your abilities and also include any hardships you have been through that you think has made you who you are. As a hard working student, you owe it to yourself to trust in your abilities and be confident in your skills.

Write in your essay how valuable you will be to the world and their school. As your number one supporter, give yourself a good spotlight in that essay.



How to Avoid Cliche College Admission Essay Topics


          The mandatory essay of the Common App and other college-specific streamlined applications are one of the few opportunities given to showcase the student’s individualized character separate from academic statistics and achievements.  While every part of the Common Application is to be taken seriously and concisely, the personal essay equally requires a mindful ease and authenticity. Students are constantly asking how to “stand out from other applicants.” The more appropriate and less overbearing question to pose to oneself is: How can I present my unique character in the most authentic way possible?  The goal in mind should be to pose a well-written personal narrative distinctive to you; originality can often be lost if you are extraneous in your efforts to differentiate yourself from others.


Most Commonly Used Essay Prompt

According to the Common App’s 2015-2016 selected essay topics, 47 percent of the 800,000+ applicant pool chose to write about their background, identity, interest, or talent.  It was the most frequently selected prompt of the time.  Out of the five essay prompts offered by the Common App, why was this prompt the most commonly used?  Perhaps the reasoning could lead to the prompt’s broadness in scope in comparison to the other essay topics.  If you are looking to highly distinguish yourself from other applicants, I would suggest to test the other given prompts.  However, if you strongly feel that your topic of interest does not best fit in the more narrowly-posed questions, do not feel pressured to constrict yourself to another topic just to be “different.”

Once you have reviewed the question(s) being asked of you, you may start to think of the content of your essay.  Here are some things to avoid, and to keep in mind.


Write About a Fact Already Stated Elsewhere in the Application

It is important to take note of which accomplishments, interests, etc. are already noted in other parts of your application.  Your essay should reflect a facet of yourself not already known to the admissions counselor.  For example, if you have participated in a varsity sport in your high school career, and have indicated as so in the “Activities” portion of the application, do not focus your essay around that point.  It has already been made obvious to the admissions counselor and would therefore make for a less interesting read.

Select A Crazy Format

I have seen unique formatting choices made by previously admitted students; however, the format of your essay should not be so pretentious that it distracts the application reviewer from the factual content of the piece.  Stick to a standard paragraph format, or review any unique formatting choices with a trusted English teacher.


Read Other Students’ Essays

Find inspiration and ideas from other essays that have been successfully admitted into prospective colleges and universities.  You can either read an essay from a close family member or friend, or do an online search.  A personal preference of mine is: Grade Saver: Admitted Application Essays

Write a List of Things Significant to You

A moment, accomplishment, or failure of any significance to you, whether big or small, can make a great essay.  Start with a brainstormed list of any instance of significance to yourself, big or small.  Then, narrow the list down to topics that you feel have the potential to be expanded into a greater essay.  From there, assign the smaller list of ideas to a prospective question, or questions.


Review Your Essay, and Review It Again

Your first draft should never be your final draft.  Once you feel that you have laid a foundation for your essay, leave it alone for a few days.  Revise your essay with a fresh insight.  Then, ask for secondary audiences to review your essay.

*TIP: Create a list of questions to ask of your reviewers once they have read your essay.  Questions such as: What was the mood of the essay?  In your opinion, does the essay most accurately reflect my everyday demeanor?  If your reader believes your essay not to be the most precise reflection of yourself, ask for an explanation and personally review the essay once again and make any further revisions.

Remember that colleges want to read about the interesting quirks and experiences that have shaped your persona.  Your voice is the most valuable tool that you possess, use it to your advantage. Get to writing.  Good luck!




5 Effective Steps to Brainstorm the Perfect College Essay


Believe it or not, the time for submitting college essays is just around the corner. If you’re anything like me, summer break has given you major writer's block. I’ve compiled a list of ways top stay motivated and dig you out of that creative funk!


1. Ditch the Computer and Stop Erasing Your Ideas

Researchers, like Claire Bustarret, a specialist from ‘the Maurice Halbwachs research Centre’ in Paris, suggests that writing by hand allows the creator to visually see the creative process, thus allowing for growth and greater ideas to come up, as you’re writing.

Adding to that, when you’re writing on paper, don’t erase your ideas—allow your writing to grow from those ideas you didn’t like so much and let new, better ideas rise from them. I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment researching this because it’s happened often where I have an idea but I can’t word it right, so I scrap it. DO NOT do this. Get all of your first draft, non-sense, messy ideas out on paper, and then organize.

2. Talk to People and Get Their Opinions

Talk to your friends about your ideas and their ideas. Let them read your work and critique it. You never know, someone could say something that sparks a brilliant idea. Human interaction and feeding off of others opinions and thoughts help us grow as learners and writers.

3. Get Into Your Flow and Out of Your Head

This is the simplest tip. Just start writing. No matter how bad you think it is, just write. If I ever get into those awful writer’s blocks I just start writing—get out of the mindset that everything you write isn’t ‘perfect.’ Just be patient, and the ideas will come.

Get into your flow. I know that’s easier said than done, but getting into a good head space for writing isn’t all that difficult. The main aspect of this is to know what you’re writing about and what needs to get done. This can help focus your mind and get your ideas flowing. Make a list of the things you want to say, and do your research. Then take a break. I find that if I soak up all the information and ideas  and then let that settle, the inspiration and words flow out of me.


4. Drink More Tea and Take More Naps

This is my favorite tip, for obvious reasons, but it’s actually more helpful than it seems. Drinking warm green tea with lemon has helped me get an incredible amount of work done. It is an excellent source of caffeine and the lemon helps restore your mind—and all around the tea helps you relax.

Napping is going to let all those ideas settle—I’m not sure if there is some science to this or if it’s just me, but I write best when I first wake up or when I’m super tired.

5. Listen to Music

I’ve found that this actually doesn't help everyone, and some people prefer silence when they’re creating. But I get a lot of inspiration from listening to music—make a playlist of your favorite songs for writing time. If music is too distracting, put on a podcast; listening to people speak is very relaxing and gives me tons of inspiration.

Bonus: Get Rid of Self-Doubt

Whether you’re writing a college essay or making an application for a job/internship, the most important, and sort of clichéd tip, I can give is to not doubt yourself.  If I erased everything I didn’t like in a piece of work, I’d never finish anything. Colleges and potential employers are looking to see your personality and your best work—so if you do that, there’s a huge chance for success!

For more tips on staying creative check out this YouTube video: ‘40 Ways to Boost Your Creativity’