What Are the Best College Essays?

The

 best 
college

 essays 
are those that have a purpose. They are more than simply writing random thoughts on a paper or trying to fill a paper with words to get the appropriate number for a word count. Whether you are allowed to pick your own topic or you are given strict guidelines, the

 best 
college

 essays 
deliver in one of three areas.

  1. Instruct or teach the reader about something
  2. Give the reader something to enjoy
  3. Move or persuade the reader to feel something or take action

The

 best 
college

 essays 
accomplish one or more of these goals, along with following some other simple suggestions. Bad college

 essays 
do not accomplish any of these goals. An

 essay 
can have excellent structure, spelling and grammar, but if there is no purpose, the

 essay 
does not accomplish the most important goal there is.

Instruct or teach the reader

Admission

 essays 
, academic

 essays 
, and scholarship

 essays 
often have the purpose of teaching the reader something. Admission

 essays 
often teach the reader about the author. Academic

 essays 
often have assigned topics, and scholarship

 essays 
are the same way. Your reader may already know about what you are about to tell them, but if you write as though they don’t, you will have a great paper.

Give the reader something to enjoy

Whether it is an admissions

 essay 
explaining your great and unique qualities or an academic

 essay 
about an assigned topic, leave the reader with something that pleases them about what you have written. In academic and scholarship

 essays 
, it is especially important to make the reader appreciate you. You can do this by tailoring your

 essay 
to things the institution values, explicitly following the directions, and match yourself to the values stated in the

 essay 
. In academic , make the reader appreciate whatever topic it is you are writing about. You can do this by doing adequate research and using great detail in your descriptions.

Move or persuade the reader

Another important purpose in many of the

 best 
college

 essays 
is to move or persuade the reader to do or feel something. If they are supposed to feel an emotion, you can use descriptive language to draw the feelings out of your reader. If the purpose is more to persuade, think of your paper as a ‘call to action’ that will be so powerful it will get your readers off the couch to follow your cause.

Follow directions

Nothing irks a professor or admissions advisor more than reading a paper, only to find that the basic directions have not been followed. The

 best 
college

 essays 
follow the instructions perfectly. Many admissions officers will not even consider

 essays 
that have not followed all directions. You can do this by showing you did the reading, citing all of your resources appropriately, and cross-checking your finished product against the directions of the assignment to ensure you have completed the assignment accurately.

Don’t turn off the reader

Great! You have a finished product! Now, make sure that your paper does not do any of the following things which are sure to turn off the reader and either hurt your grade or your admissions chances.

  1. Unsupported claims – using words like, “always,” “never,” “every,” etc. is a sure way to make your paper more dramatic than it needs to be.
  2. Tone – don’t talk down to the reader
  3. Distractions – don’t use a lot of unnecessary punctuation like exclamation points, special fonts or smiley faces.
  4. Wordiness – don’t write exceptionally long sentences or paragraphs because it will be hard for the reader to dissect what you are saying.

 
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