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I really need help writing college essays

  1. Oct 12, 2012 #1
    It is about that time in senior year where all my biggest decisions are about to be made. Yea, I'm filling out college applications. Here are my current MAIN choices in ranking of how badly I want to attend:

    EDIT: I'm majoring in Physics if that matters

    1. University of Washington in Seattle
    2. Purdue University
    3. New York University
    4. University of Pennsylvania
    5. Georgia Tech
    6. University of Pittsburg

    and these are backup schools - the ones I'll apply to just in case ALL of the above deny me. No particular ranking here, because all of them are schools that I rrreeeaallllyyy don't want to go to:

    1. University of Tennessee Knoxville
    2. Tennessee Tech University
    3. Pace University

    All of the above had 80+ percent acceptance ratings.

    Now, I have not had ANY help with college essays. My counselors say they'll go around classrooms and help students out in January, but I think that's arbitrary and stupid, because most of my college applications are due months before then.

    So - could I get any advice?

    What do these college essays look for, what can I do to not be generic, etc?

    Please and thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2012 #2
    If it sounds cliche, it probably is.

    Using an abundance of big words makes you sound insincere and coached.

    Grammar is very important. Nail it; sound professional, but not stuffy.

    A little wry humor doesn't hurt, but don't overdo it.

    Everyone has an inspiring story, or a sob story. Use anecdotes sparingly and don't rely on them, unless you're prompted.

    Don't drone. If you have a point to make, it can probably be said in fewer, more concise words. These people read dozens of essays during admissions season, and if you put them to sleep with unnecessary verbage, that can have an adverse effect.

    Don't mention politics or religion unless prompted. If you're a conservative, you're guaranteed to have your essay read by liberals, and vice versa (it is a fact). If you're religious, Richard Dawkins himself will hold the gavel (or Dinesh D'Souza for the opposite case). This can, but might not, have dire consequences. It's really not worth the risk.

    Pretty much just read what everyone else writes, then do the exact opposite.
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