Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

We bet that you have written dozens of academic essay at high school. You know how to deal with those: start with an introduction, add a punchy thesis, develop your thought in body paragraphs and sum everything up. However, applying for college, you need to compose an absolutely different type of paper – an application essay. The purpose of such a paper is to add life to your application. This is where you present your unique personality and worldview.

Your task is to make the admission committee interested in you as an individual. What would you tell them to convey your background, values, life experiences, and lessons learned? As you understand, the committee expects a story that stands behind your activities. They are looking for an application that stands out and you must create one. Let’s discuss some tips on how to do that.

Understand the prompt

First of all, you need to know what the committee is expecting from you. Ask yourself if you understand the requirements before you start writing. You need to follow them from the very first sentence to the end of your paper.

As a rule, prompts reveal the main idea or topic you need to keep in mind. They might be personal, professional, and even abstract. However, all of them are aimed at boosting your creativity.

  • Read the prompt carefully for a couple of times
  • Think about the prompt and understand what exactly you need to do
  • Grasp the purpose of the prompt – is it informational, defending, argumentative, or creative?
  • Think about how the prompt applies to your life

Pay special attention to this starting point. If you won’t, you risk failing your paper. In case you have no idea how to showcase yourself basing on the provided prompt, you might need some samples for inspiration. Before getting one from professional writers, check essay writing service (Australia) reviews. It doesn’t make sense to use existing papers to create yours – they won’t help you reveal your personality. However, individual consultation and help from experts might spark an idea in your head.

Outlines are crucial

Don’t neglect outlines! They help you break your paper into sections and follow the plan to keep everything structured and clear. Outlines allow writers to shape their papers and follow the logical progression.

  • Overall strategy

What kind of story are you going to tell? Is it a question, conversation, or anecdote? Decide which writing voice fits your choice.

  • Style

Write in a style that seems comfortable to you. Your tone should be natural to reveal to you as a person as well. Not only the content but also the form of your paper matters.

Writing process

When you are done with an outline, you can start writing. After planning your entire paper, you will have an idea about it as a whole, so you will start working easily.

  • Create a rough draft first and don’t try to make it perfect – you will have a chance to revise and rewrite it later.
  • Make your writing personal to identify with the reader. When revealing a story, tell about your thoughts, feelings, and reasons why this experience was important.
  • Don’t use empty clichés and predictable phrases. Try to provide facts, reasons, examples, and results of your reflection.
  • Use jokes and witty expressions only when they are appropriate.
  • Don’t try to show off – be yourself and stay honest.
  • Keep your essay clear and concise. If you can tell your story in 100 words without losing the essence, there is no need to squeeze more.

Don’t be lazy and proofread your paper

You are already tired of your writing, but now you need to polish your paper, eliminate mistakes, and make everything look good and professional. You don’t want the admission officers to notice typos and think that you are that careless type, do you?

  • Put your paper aside and come back to it later. Time will allow you to take a fresh look at it and see the weak parts.
  • Microsoft Word grammar checker is never enough, so use more advanced tools and review your paper carefully.
  • Ask your relatives, friends, and teachers for feedback. They will help you understand if your message is clear and engaging enough.
  • Read your paper out loud. Doing so, you will detect missing commas and weird constructions.


Application essay takes time because everyone finds it challenging to write about themselves. When writing one, think about the other applicants. What are the most obvious stories, phrases, and approaches they will use? Try to figure out the most obvious things other students will write about and avoid doing the same. Your aim is to stand out of a crowd, so make sure to neglect everything that seems too common. Write in your own voice, tell stories that are valuable for you, and be honest to yourself and the admission committee. Don’t forget to revise and edit your paper a couple of times before you submit it. We hope that this guide will help you create a winning application letter!

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