In the writing process, three elements must be considered: style, substance and proofreading.
The style of any college application essay must be formal and concise. The writing should not include any slang or colloquialisms -- unless used for effect. Avoid the passive voice as well. The writing should be an easy read, but display a strong knowledge of grammar and complex constructions of sentences. For example, think about reading Harry Potter, how J.K. Rowling constructs her sentences sharply, concisely and every word has meaning. It's the same with a college essay, only on a smaller scale. Overall, you must demonstrate a strong command of the English language.
For substance, The College Board reports that Yale admissions says this, "In the past, candidates have used this space in great variety of ways.... There is no 'correct' way to respond to this essay request...." (collegeboard.com). Throw out the notion that the admissions officers are looking for one answer in particular. Instead, they look for well-written answers that show depth. You can show humor and wit too, if done tastefully. This is your opportunity to persuade the reader and show your creativity, interests and thought process. When the reader finishes your essay, s/he should be persuaded to accept you into her/his college.
Lastly, proofreading is essential. It's not good enough to simply spell and grammar check. Instead, start writing the essay well ahead of time and enlist honest proofreaders such as friends, family members and teachers. Ask them:
- If your essay is persuasive, boring, lacking in depth, etc.
- If the writing is clear and understandable.
- Do the sentences flow?
- Does the proofreader gain a general knowledge of who you are by the end of the essay?
- If s/he were a college admissions officer, would s/he accept you based on this essay?
- How can you make the essay better?
Remember to be open to criticism.
Take all the aforementioned college essay help and apply it to your college applications. Make sure to write to the best of your ability, adhere to formal style guidelines and enlist proofreaders to help. Gaining acceptance into college takes a lot of hard work and energy, but it's worth it in the end.