If done poorly a good student might be denied admission; if done well marginal students might just get into the college of their dreams.
So says Allen Grove, English professor, instructor of “first year experience” courses, and an author who focuses on student success.
Below are 4 tips that Grove offers to help your student get that most important essay right.
1. Tell a Story. To make the essay engaging tell a story rather than list a list. In other words, listing all of your accomplishments and activities is dry reading. The last thing you want to do is bore the reader. Instead, keep interest high by exposing your personality. As Grove points out – your grades show you’re smart. Use the essay to show that you’re also passionate and thoughtful.
2. Lighten Up. You need to be thoughtful, but not too heavy. Use a sense of humor (but just a touch, says Grove). You can do this by using a clever metaphor or a well-placed witticism. Humor isn’t a substitute for substance, but bringing a smile to your reader’s face helps.
3. Reveal Your Character. Your character shows up in several places on the college application, and the essay is the most immediate and illuminating to the admissions board as they read through thousands of applications. Remember, besides good grades colleges are looking for good citizens for their campus communities.
4. Mechanics Matter. Grammatical problems, punctuation errors, and spelling mistakes can hurt your chance of being accepted. They show a lack of care and quality control in your written work, and your success in college partly depends upon strong writing skills. If English isn’t your greatest strength, seek help. Ask a favorite teacher to go over the essay with you, or find a friend with strong editorial skills.
Undoubtedly your student’s high school and college career will involve a lot of writing. Much of this will be done on the computer, but it’s also unavoidable that they will be handwriting such things as class notes and research notes. Jotting down ideas to use in their college application essay is another example.
To prevent cramping of the hands, and stress on the tendons of the fingers, an ergonomic pen such as the UGLee Pen should be a part of their school experience.