College Essay Writing 101—the Comprehensive Guide [2021]

So you’re excited to start college and join a fraternity, sorority, or student union. Well, we have some extremely useful tips and information for writing college admission essays!


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📃 Chapter 1: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Great College Essay

Assume you were a specialist of five-paragraph essays in high school.

However, college begins after that. Your brilliant writing has turned out to be distinctly average. There are some things you should know if you are confused about your custom essay writings.

A five-paragraph essay is a common type of writing assignment in any school. That is, you can fit all of your ideas into five paragraphs. And that three paragraphs on the main point are sufficient.

This type of custom essay paper also has an internal structure that leads you directly to the conclusion. College essays are much more difficult.

In what way?

There are a few reasons for this:

Increased Demand for Arguments

For starters, they give more credence to strong, rather than ambiguous, arguments. A college argument is a complex set of statements that are logically organized. A complex system is defined as a pair of claim and evidence. By the way, any claim in a college essay paper must be supported by more than one fact. Support your claims, whether they are in a reflective essay or a cause and effect essay!

In any type of custom essay paper, the argument must be more controversial. Readers must analyze it as well as obtain information. Persuade your audience that your statement contains more than 80% truth.



You must make your custom essay papers appear to your readers as a formal, well-organized conversation between you and them.

You will demonstrate to your professor that you are capable of handling the subject.

Getting your point across

Please keep the point you’re making in mind as you master the arguments. Here’s the second distinction between five-paragraph essays and college essays. A point in the first case is something that must be stated in a specific sentence. It must be clearly visible.

But here’s the catch:


What satisfies a high school teacher is insufficient for a professor. When the point is clear from the context, it demonstrates your skill in college essay papers. Make your readers understand the main idea hidden between the lines.

But don’t get too caught up in conspiracy theories. Many professors admit that they don’t like to take wild guesses and will simply lower the grade if they don’t understand the main idea. A little practice and drafting will be beneficial in this situation.

A More Complex Design

The third fundamental distinction is in structure. Typically, custom college essays are longer than five paragraphs. The paragraphs themselves can and must contain more than eight sentences.

Increased anticipation

College essays typically have more requirements and instructions to follow. There are no childish topics, such as “My Family and I.” Topics for college essays should be more in-depth.



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Essays are the most common type of academic paper, and they may appear to be simple to write. Our free essay tips will assist you in completing any type of essay. Still, if you get stuck while writing, you can always look for personal essay examples and contact us for assistance!

Remember that there is nothing wrong with seeking assistance with your academic writing.

Here’s an intriguing thought.

According to the Huffington Post, many students use such online services. That also applies to Ivy League students. That’s not even taking into account international students.

✍️ Chapter 2: Writing an Admissions Essay for College

The significance of the application essay

It goes without saying:

The quality of the essay you submit greatly influences your chances of admission to college. This is how you convince the committee that you are deserving of a place at their school!

Consider the following:

Working on admission essays is similar to selecting fortune cookies. This paper will determine your fate. However, if you want to, you have a good chance of succeeding in writing excellent admission essays. So, instead of panicking, let’s take a closer look at what admissions committees are looking for in your essays.

What You Can Discuss About

Your college application essay is a critical component of your admission. Your essay’s goal is to persuade the committee to select you. In order to accomplish this goal, you can use any of the following three options in your college application essays:

What tips can you take to create a unique college-level essay?

You could, for example, create an advertisement for yourself or a film script about your college. However, if you choose this option, proceed with caution. This approach is risky because some admissions committees may dislike excessive creativity. Apply common sense. Try not to be too out of the ordinary.

Let’s get into more detail now that you know what your basic options are:

A good common app essay, in general, says to the committee, “Hello! You’ve come to the right place.” Unfortunately, applicants must seek out indirect ways to convey this concept.

Here are some common application essay topic ideas:

  • a significant experience or ethical quandary that influenced you as a person;
  • a personal, local, or global issue and its role in your life;
  • an encounter with a person who had a significant influence on you;
  • the influence of a fictional character, a historical figure, or an artwork on you as a person;
  • an encounter with someone who is very different from you, demonstrating that you understand the value of diversity in the community;
  • your choice.

Topics not to Use

However, you should not consider these standard options to be limitations on your creativity. If your brilliant ideas do not fall into any of these categories, you can select the last option and claim that it was your choice. As a result, it is up to you to determine how to present yourself in the best possible means.

However, keep the following in mind:

Some topics will give any admissions committee a negative impression of your academic potential. To be more specific, admissions officers advise you to avoid the following topics:

  • Your pet’s demise

Even if you had a traumatic experience as a child, these essays are frequently too melodramatic. And the typical college application essay format is simply not appropriate for this type of topic.

  • Disagreements with others

The reason these ones are best avoided is simple: you might come across as petty, too focused on old quarrels, or bad at resolving conflicts in the right way, all of which pretty much make up the definition of “bad college applicant”. Generation gap in your family and criticism of your parents.
This topic is pretty similar to the previous one: you might come across as whiny, unreasonable, or ungrateful. Not the best approach for your college search, right?

  •  Something you’re unsure about

If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t write about Malevich’s Black Square. This is especially important if you intend to write an opinion essay on a sophisticated subject such as contemporary art. If an applicant appears overly pretentious, the committee will raise a red flag.

  • A global issue that you are unconcerned about

If you don’t care about AIDS and orphans in Africa, don’t write about it.

Remember that you don’t want to appear insincere. And if you insinuate to be more concerned about something than you are, your writing will reflect that.

Another thing:

Check the requirements of the specific college you want to apply to before selecting the best suitable option from those listed above. Visit their website or call their college admissions committee to find out which format is best for your college application essay. If they don’t have any specific requirements, you can use any of the above-mentioned formats.

🤔 How to Write a Successful Application Essay?

The following step is to review the tone of your writing.

Assume you’re writing an essay about the value of life or about life’s challenges.


Make sure it’s respectful and you don’t sound like a spoiled brat or a 60-year-old cynic.



You’re probably wondering:

How I can present myself as sincere and respectful?

Listen to your heart, be yourself, select the best topic, words, and tone, and review some useful examples (2016, 2017, 2018).

When you begin writing your college admission papers, keep one simple fact in mind: you deserve this spot in college. Don’t have any doubts about it while you’re writing, or your doubts will show in what you write.

Instead, exude confidence so that the admissions committee does not hesitate for a second.

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📑 Essay Criteria

When perusing college scholarship lists, keep the following in mind:


  • Your admissions essay is your first tentative step into the world of academic writing.


  • Even though you are not yet a student, the rules of academia already apply to you!


  • Do you want to learn how to write a good essay?


So here’s the deal:


If you want to succeed and impress the committee, you must adhere to certain criteria.

These are the primary criteria for assessing application essays:

  • Unique content. This is critical for demonstrating your college essay writing abilities. Put yourself in the shoes of the admissions committee, which must read thousands of essays. Every essay tells when the applicant was born, what school he/she attended, and what subjects he/she enjoyed the most. It has the potential to bore anyone to death. Try to be yourself and avoid wasting words on insignificant statistical data. Instead, express your emotions, motivations, and goals.
  • Enthusiasm. Demonstrate your strong desire to attend that college. Even if it is only partially true, it will boost your chances of success.
  • Tone. Respect your readers by refraining from shameless self-promotion. Feel free to use humor, but don’t overdo it. It will demonstrate to the committee that you have a lively mind but also know when to stop. Remember that if you want to find scholarships, you can’t rely on crude zingers—they won’t work.
  • Structure. When writing a short essay on life, for example, make sure to structure it logically and avoid making long lists. A college application essay is not the same as a resume or curriculum vitae, which are lists of your skills and experiences. The traditional essay format would be ideal. What’s the point of reinventing the wheel?


  • Style. Grammar and writing style are critical components of your college application essay.


The use of active verbs and relatively short sentences are two major recommendations. Some people believe that long sentences and sophisticated grammar constructions demonstrate their intelligence.

This is not right.

Long words and complex sentence structures can be vexing. Furthermore, it can make it difficult for committees to understand your brilliant ideas.

✍️ Essay Samples

Now that you’ve narrowed down the topics that will work in an application essay, it’s time to look at some examples!

To begin, let’s look at some prompts from the 2017-2018 admission cycle that can be used as templates for your writing.

Are you stuck in limbo with your creativity?

If you are still unsure how to begin writing your college application essays, the following prompts may inspire you, give you an idea of how to begin a college essay about yourself, and get your writing process started:

  • Write about your childhood experiences, such as creating a useful tool, playing computer games, or rescuing homeless kittens. These memories are always heartwarming and provide useful insights into your long-term preferences.
  • Describe the moment you realized nursing (engineering, design, etc.) was your calling. Perhaps you wanted to assist your grandmother when she was suffering from a severe headache. Or perhaps you had good ideas for improving the design of your favorite computer game but didn’t know how to implement them. If you can’t recall a specific moment, don’t make one up.
  • Explain how you learned about this college (a friend told you, you found it on the internet, or you saw an advertisement on TV) and why you did apply.
  • Discuss your goals that you hope to achieve after graduating from college (for example, working on the cutting edge, saving people’s lives, or developing new chemicals).

And here are some examples of college admission essays with comments to help you get started:

You will be able to fully appreciate the following examples of college admission essays if you keep these helpful points in mind:

A chance meeting with someone:

I never imagined that a single conversation could alter the course of my life. However, after meeting Mr. Brown while volunteering in the hospital last summer, my life perspectives will never be the same again. He told me that professional nursing is about healing people’s souls as well as their bodies.

Mr. Brown’s words and personality stayed with me and helped me understand the role of a nurse in society. When I was speaking with my patients, those memorable words rang in my ears. It was then that I realized Nursing was my calling, and Mr. Brown assisted me in making this critical life decision…

Comment:  The author discusses not only the encounter, but also its influence on his or her life perspectives. Furthermore, the author mentions volunteer work but does not insist on it for its own sake; rather, the volunteering is demonstrated through the benefits it provides.

Do not rush away from this page because another fantastic sample awaits you below:

A problem of global significance

I, like most of my peers, was unconcerned about rare species until I visited New York’s Bronx Zoo and Wildlife Conservation Park. When I looked into the sad eyes of lowland gorillas, I knew I had to do something to help their conservation. When I was looking for more information for the conference “Better Naked Than in Furs,” my decision to become a biologist became even more solid.

Comment:  The author explains why he/she is concerned about the global problem of rare species conservation. The phrase “decision became firmer” demonstrates the applicant’s eagerness to become a biologist.
If you need more illustrations for motivation (such as examples about yourself or personal statements), visit these websites, which contain a wealth of information on college writing:


These websites provide useful narrative essay topics, reflective essay topics, and much more!

So, you’re now prepared to write your own high-quality application essay. Choose the best approach for you, unleash your imagination, and write a winning college admission essay to help you have a better tomorrow.

❓ Chapter 3: How to Handle this Topics

If you want to be admitted and attend college, you must be familiar with the most common college application essay topics. Sure, each college has its own set of questions and topics, but the majority of them will most likely fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Personal Experience
    This is unsurprising: what could be more common to inquire about than the applicant’s personal life? Here are a few topics that cannot be avoided:
  • The Enlightenment Experience: What Is Your Main Experience?
  • The House That Jack Built: What Are Your Most Prominent Achievements?
  • The Biggest Dream of All: What Is Your Lifelong Goal?
  1. The Influence of Others on You
    Topics in this category are intended to allow you to demonstrate that you understand the world and the society in which you live. Keep in mind that this is essentially an essay contest for adults. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate that you’re aware of important issues and have interesting points of view on a variety of topics.
  • The People Around You and Their Influence on You
  • Your Worldview: The Point of View That Matters;
  • On Moral Issues: What Is Your Opinion of Commercials in Public Schools (/Abortions/Capital Punishment/…)?
  1. You and the University
    You must write about the importance of college in your life, why it means so much to you, and what it will provide you with.
  • What Are Your Expectations for College?
  • You and the College: Your Overall Impression;
  • You and the College: What Are Your Thoughts on Specific Changes?

🙋 How to Handle College Questions

Given the essay writing tips, recommendations, prompts, and sample papers provided above, this section is fairly brief and straightforward.

Keep in mind the following when dealing with college essay questions:

Half of the answer is already in an essay question.

The rest is up to your memory, thinking ability, and enthusiasm!

13 Out-of-the-Box College Essay Topics

A sample essay topic like the one below isn’t always enough. When faced with the task of writing college essays, you must be aware that you are in for a challenge.

Be careful:

Some of the topics listed below may appear unusual! These topics are unlikely to appear in common app essay examples for Harvard, Yale, or another Ivy League college, but they do provide a broader picture of what’s possible.

Check out the top 13 craziest essay topics in history:

  1. Write a short story on any topic that ends with the phrase “It was only tomorrow that mattered.”
  2. Write an essay in which you do not use the letter “V.” What could be better for an out-of-the-ordinary college admission letter?
  3. Describe a typical day in the life of a specific body part.
  4. Orwellian nightmares have returned: how do you see his dystopian world?
  5. What will life be like in the year 5000? In a 500-word essay, express your thoughts on the environment, people, and social life.
  6. If you resided in Carroll’s Wonderland, which of your family, friends, and enemies would impersonate which of the book’s characters?
  7. Try writing the worst English essay ever written (believe it or not, this is more difficult than it sounds!) Share your thoughts on this experience.
  8. Pretend you’re a cartoon character. What would you tell your screenwriter? (Something along the lines of “If you’re such a good writer, write me a decent academic essay!”)
  9. Consider the reasons why aliens have not yet contacted Earth.
  10. Assume you’ve been trapped in a dream. In a personal essay, describe the dream and your impressions.
  11. You’ve just witnessed what the world would be like in the year 4000. Describe your feelings.
  12. Assume you’ve just finished a 400-page autobiography. Please submit the 311th page. That’s a fresh take on the typical self-introduction essay! And the strangest college essay topic is…
  13. What would “reality” look like if the ordinary world was just a figment of your imagination? (That is not your typical common application topic.)

Do you want to see some more interesting and amusing essay topic suggestions? Look at these websites:

  1. Are you looking for topic ideas for a humorous essay? Take a look at these Amusing College Application Essay Prompts.
  2. Do you want your topic to be unconventional, surprising, and out of the ordinary? Then you will undoubtedly enjoy Creative Writing Prompts.
  3. Have you ever wanted to make an argument for a totally absurd idea? 200 Argumentative Essay Writing Prompts can help you get started.

⭐ Chapter 4: The Secret to Academic Writing Success

The Appropriate Essay Structure

Keep your essay’s structure in mind. There is a formula for all college application essay topics. If you adhere to it, the committee will be able to assess your abilities and academic potential.

The structure of the college application essay should be followed:

  • Essay introduction – the problem’s presentation and timeliness
  • Main body
  • Opinion 1, proofs
  • Contradictory ideas, evidences
  • Opinion 2, proofs
  • Contradictory concepts, facts
  • Opinion 3, proofs
  • Contradictory point of view, evidences
  • Conclusion. It is recommended that you express your personal viewpoint on the issue

Here’s something important to remember:


When we talk about “proof,” we mean the following:


“Because I said so” is never sufficient proof. Look for authoritative sources and subject matter experts.

Follow this link to find out more about the typical essay structure. Check out this page for more information on various types of essays (such as descriptive essays, narrative essays, and persuasive essays).

Essay Writing Strategies

A great essay does not have a template. However, there are methods that can assist you in writing your application.

Selecting a Topic

“Do I want to write a persuasive essay or an informative essay?” you should ask yourself. If you can’t decide, take out a piece of paper and make a table. Fill one column with topics that are more persuasive, and the second with topics that are more informative. Then cross out any topics that seem out of place.

Examining Essays Written by Others

This is not a recommendation to plagiarize other people’s work. However, their ideas will undoubtedly assist you with your own essay. And, if you require additional assistance, please contact us!

Writing the essay outline

Some people prefer to get right to work on their writing. However, if you do this, you may run out of creative energy halfway through and be unsure of where your essay is going. Writing an outline first, on the other hand, provides a strong plan to which you can adhere.

Put yourself in the reader’s shoes

When you’re totally immersed in your writing, it’s easy to lose sight of one simple fact: someone else will read the assignment. By changing your perspective to that of, say, a committee member, you will be able to see flaws that you previously did not notice.

Not everyone realizes that the college application essay is an opportunity to showcase your personality and inner world. It improves your creativity. Here are three steps to writing a successful essay:

  1. Brainstorming
    You may discover a previously unknown subject as a result of brainstorming. Before applying to colleges, make a list of your best qualities. Why are you such a strong individual? Have you ever attempted to improve the lives of those around you? How do people behave?
  2. Choosing a topic for your college application essay
    Consider all of the important elements you want to include in your analytical essay. Consider the following inquiries:
  • Is the topic chosen of genuine interest to you?
  • Have you ever encountered a problem like this before?
  • Can you make your essay come alive?
  1. Editing
    After you’ve finished writing, go over the text of your college application essay again. Correct any errors you discover, and don’t put it off until the last minute! When it comes to editing, many of us relax, convinced that the majority of the work has been completed. That, however, is a mistake. The committee may make a decision based on silly typos and poor grammar. They can be particularly picky about grammar. As a result, you may find yourself out of the running due to minor details. That would be a pity, wouldn’t it? Maintain your grammar vigilance and consult some resources to ensure that your grammar is flawless.

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Additional reading:

  • Tips, Topics, and Techniques for Writing a Creative Essay
  • Exercises in Descriptive Writing to Improve Your Imagination
  • Interesting Essay Topics for College Students
  • Fantastic Essay Tools for Quick and Easy Writing
  • • How to Use Gender-Neutral Pronouns Correctly?
  • • How to Write an Outline That Will Get You an A+?