Tips to get started with your personal essay
While in the rest of your college application you simply need to fill in the boxes with standard information, the personal essay gives you the liberty to essentially write about anything under the sun. Although, there could be several prompts that you can choose from to develop your essay, this is the best chance to showcase your other special talents to admission officers that you couldn’t fit in the boxes. Nevertheless, the golden rule to follow while you craft your essay is “Start early and be yourself”. Remember your essay says a great deal about who you are as it discloses your other side that your grades and test scores can possibly never suggest. It gives admission officers a snapshot of your personality, besides what is unique about you as an individual.
Brainstorm to generate ideas
Getting started with the essay can be the toughest part of the whole writing process because you may not know what to write about. So, take the plunge by brainstorming to get fresh ideas that holds the key to a good essay. Especially, analyzing your inherent tendencies to react in different situations and identifying your strengths during such times can be a great way to generate ideas and kick start the brainstorming process. After all your personality traits define you as an individual, so why not consider viewing them from multiple angles.
Organize ideas to get the first draft
Phew! You’ve thought a lot, noted all substantial points and compiled a long list of ideas, so what’s next? You now need to create an outline to give your ideas a concrete shape and finalize the sequence in which you’d like them to appear. Make sure the outline essentially consists of an introduction, body and conclusion, and you’re all set to start writing the first draft of your essay. Remember first drafts don’t need to be a masterpiece, they must be written, and you can always perfect them later. A good essay begins to emerge after three or more drafts so don’t lose heart while you’ve just got started.
Look for a creative angle
Finding a creative angle to build your essay is important or else you could run the risk of pouring your heart into the write-up only to realize that it has grown like a weed and you’ve ended up going off track. Of course, you don’t need to be a journalist to be creative; you simply need to consider the things that can spark your reader’s curiosity and trigger the interest to know you more. Loopholes or angles that other students tend to overlook in their essays could actually serve as your source of inspiration. But, on the flipside, keep in mind that not every reader would be able to comprehend your acronyms, academic references or highbrow puns.
Show honesty in your writing
An essay prompt might require you to elaborate about your best qualities, an experience that has molded your personality, or an incident that taught you a valuable lesson. Nevertheless, under any circumstances, it is essential to answer the question honestly and be yourself instead of giving in to the temptation to write what you think could impress the admission officers. Cultivating the ability to introspect, evaluate and reflect on your experiences is the key to bring honesty in your writing. Without knowing yourself, you can never be honest while writing your personal essay.
Seek feedback to make corrections
Make sure when you read your essay, it conveys what you want to say about yourself and not the opposite of what you mean. Also, after you compose the initial draft there is absolutely no harm in seeking feedback from someone knowledgeable. Remember grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and typos are a big NO! NO! and should be avoided at all costs. Most people avoid seeking feedback, fearing negative comments; however, keep in mind, constructive criticism from the right people can help you immensely. Moreover, only if you start the writing process early, you will have sufficient time to seek feedback.