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 1.  Get to know the college/university.

    If you don't already know enough about the university to which you are applying, call or write for an information packet, visit the campus, discuss the university with an admissions representative at a college fair/career night, or schedule an office appointment with an admissions counselor.

    2.  Get to know yourself.

    To get to know yourself better, take some time to create a personal inventory, listing your likes and dislikes, hobbies, academic strengths and weaknesses, or anything thing you want so you can get a clear picture of who you are.  You might also gather any articles or awards you have won over the years to learn what others have thought or said about you. In addition, excellent resources for information about you are your family and friends.  Sit down with them and ask them to provide some ideas about your personality and talents.

    3.  Follow the essay directions.

    Be sure you understand what is expected of you for the college admission essay.  Is the essay to be typed?  double spaced?  Is there a maximum word limit?  Should your social security number appear on the essay?

    4.  Find a good topic, if one hasn't already been assigned, by brainstorming.

    You'll be surprised by how many ideas you can come up with by jotting down topics at random.  Once you have a few ideas, pick one that you like and write down the first ideas that come to you about that particular subject.  Continue this process until you are satisfied with a main topic and supporting ideas.

    5.  Outline your ideas.

    Organize you ideas from the brainstorming activity into an outline, carefully identifying the main topic and its supporting ideas, which will become paragraphs, making up the body of the essay.

    6.  Write a practice essay.

Draft a rough copy of your admission essay.  Don't be too concerned about spelling, punctuation, or grammar at this stage.  Simply write down your thoughts about your main topic.  Your essay may not appear good at first, but it may surprise you!

    7.  Avoid super sensitive and private matters; avoid being overly clever and foolhardy.

    The college admission essay is not an appropriate place to reveal your deepest secrets about yourself or anything else. Try to avoid flowery language when writing your essay.  In an attempt to impress the admissions committee, you may only succeed in embarrassing yourself by using words out of context.

    8.  Show, don't tell.

    When writing your essay, use adjectives and adverbs effectively to paint a picture for the reader.  Descriptors make for a much more interesting read.

    9.  Be concise.

    Always stick to the point of the essay.  Be cautious not to stray from your main topic.

    10.  PROOFREAD!

    Simply stated:  leave no room for error.  When your essay is completed, read it aloud, listening for inconsistencies and problems with tense and usage.

    As a safety measure, have a friend or family member read the essay and provide you with constructive feedback and make any necessary adjustments in a final draft.