So how long does it take to write a college essay? It depends on you as an individual, but it is safe to say that the average time is about 6-8 hours. Before we look into how long it takes to write a college essay, we can define a college essay.
A college essay is non-fiction you write to convince the admissions counselor that you deserve a position in their school.
You must get your college application process right because it will determine whether or not you will join the college of your choice.
How long does it take to write a college essay?
With that aside, to answer your question on how long does it take to write a college essay, it takes an average student approximately six to eight hours to do the actual writing. That is if you do the following:
- plan out a good topic
- Think of a good thesis
- Layout an outline for your essay.
This article will look into what it takes to write a perfect college essay.
Tips for Writing an Effective College Essay
If you do not want to take long when writing your college essay, following some guidelines is imperative. They will help you write a good essay, stand out from the many students applying and impress your admissions counselors. Here are the tips:
Structure Your Essay
One of the most common mistakes students make when writing a college essay is to include a lot of unnecessary information. An effective college essay should always have a clear structure and be well-structured to flow logically from beginning to end.
A structure will see to it that your ideas are flowing.
Use “I” and Other Personal Language
It’s important to keep in mind that the entire premise of a college essay is for you to share something about yourself with the admissions committee. Your essay should be as personal as possible, so use words like “I,” “me,” in fact, even academic language should take a backseat to make your essay more relatable.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with mentioning what you’ve learned from an experience or how it shaped who you are today, but try not to get carried away and find yourself in a maze of lengthy paragraphs. Simple statements will suffice. You also don’t have to go deeply personal.
You need to keep in mind that you need to add some oomph by being creative for it to be a strong college essay. You can display creativity by writing about yourself and sharing some of your life experiences. Here, you can include some of the people who have impacted your life.
Avoid Common Mistakes
When developing an idea for a college essay, it can be complex to think of something original. For many ideas, there’s already been someone else that has written on the topic before, so brainstorming might take a little bit longer than you think.
One of the most common mistakes students make is using cliches, so try to avoid those whenever possible. To ensure that you avoid mistakes, have a draft. A first draft, a rough draft and then you can write the final word.
Set a Timer and Stick With It
I know that some students might feel pressured about writing a college essay because there’s a sense of urgency. Some students start this process on their own, and others have a guidance counselor that ends up helping them out along the way, which can be great if they offer more advice.
Either way, it’s important to set yourself a deadline for completing your essay. In addition, it’s equally important to stick with your timeline and not procrastinate. Working on your college essays for the last few hours may not work well for you. You might end up making a lot of mistakes.
Proofreading is one of the most important steps when writing your college essay. You want to deliver polished essays. When an admissions officer identifies a mistake on your paper, it might not augur well with you.
Also, try to have someone else proofread your work. Commonly, you might ignore some of your mistakes. Many students use professional proofreading services. However, you can also use a family member or a friend whose writing skills are the best.
Things to Do apart From Good Writing When Submitting Your Essay
- Get the best SAT score. Your test scores will be a great boost to your acceptance into college.
- Make sure You are applying early. If possible, ensure that your essay is with the admissions officers a few days earlier.
- Apply to Different Schools. Who wants to put all their eggs in one basket?
- Research from other students who have already been accepted in the school, maybe someone in their senior year
- Look at a college essay example and have an idea of what you should write
- Always have two drafts
- Do not compare yourself to other students, although healthy competition is important. It may not always be beneficial.
- Make an early decision about the university you want to go to. You can do that week or a couple of months before you sit for your exams.
How to Write an Outline for College Essay?
To write an outline for your college essay, you should follow a five-paragraph model:
Include the thesis statement and explain why you chose this topic (for example, explain what inspired and influenced your decision and discuss how it relates to your overall future goals).
2. Body paragraphs:
There should be three or four body paragraphs that expand on different aspects of your essay’s topic. Each paragraph should cover one idea in-depth.
Restate the thesis statement briefly before closing your essay with a final thought (i.e., if you’re writing about an influential person in history, consider mentioning where they are now).
How to start Your college essays
The beginning of your essay should be catchy. Many students are applying to these colleges, thousands even. How much time and energy do you think the admissions officer has to fumble through your essay to get the idea? They have other essays to read. For that reason, your introduction should stand out.
Your reader should understand your view and stand in your shoes to feel the same emotion. The most important thing is not to start with an ordinary sentence. If you’re passionate about being a doctor, open up your essay with how you’ve wanted to be a doctor since childhood or something like that.
You can start with humor, an anecdote (relevant to your essay’s subject), a question, or a short sentence. The structure of the beginning paragraph depends on what you choose and how you develop it.
So, stop worrying about the question ” how long does it take to write a college essay” and start worrying about how to stand out in your essays.
3 Ways to Approach Common College Essay Questions
If you want to ace your college essay, there are three approaches that you can go with, they are:
The Personal Narrative
With the personal narrative, you tell a story that has shaped your life or personality. It can be about moments like getting lost in New York City, witnessing people rising against the government abroad, and finding out your parents were divorcing.
The Helping Others Approach
This approach looks at public service and volunteering instead of taking part in self-serving activities like winning competitions or receiving awards. You’ll write about how something has changed someone’s life overall or even just one specific moment. With this approach, it’s important not to talk about yourself too much unless you describe how participating helped form your character.
The Original Question Approach
For this approach, you take an essay question they give you and answer it as asked. Most students write the complete opposite of what they have been instructed to write. Following instructions is very imperative to the success of your essay writing.
What is a good common app essay prompt?
Have you ever heard of an essay prompt app? Well, an essay app prompt helps you make your common app essay stand out.
4 Tips for Writing a Good Common App Essay Prompt
1.) No Out of the Box Topics or Question Prompts Allowed!
First off, let me say that no college wants their students writing about wanting “to help others’ or ‘that they want to be president one day.” Those are absolutely cliche and boring topics that never go anywhere with admissions committees.
Schools generally consider these topics as something everyone writes about, so they are less likely to read through them thoroughly. If you’re going to write an essay like this, you’d better add in some other elements that will spice it up a bit.
2.) Take a Unique Approach
Don’t just write a fact or a statistic. Write the story behind the fact. Do not shy off to show your writing skills. If you have a unique way to showcase your gift or skill, go ahead and do it.
3.)Start and End on a Strong Note
They say that the beginning of an essay is like a first impression. That is true just as it is true that the conclusion impacts the essay. Ending with a strong sentence can help your essay. You want to leave your admissions officer with the desire to want to read more or to be impressed. The goal is to leave them with a feeling they cannot shake off.
4.) Avoid Passive Voice
The passive voice sounds clunky and awkward when you read it, so avoid passive verbs at all costs! You can use a parent, friend or tools to check out whether your paper has any passive voice in it. Before you submit your papers ensure that they are free from such mistakes.
How to Stand Out in Your College Application
If you want to stand out in your college essay, you will need to make your goal writing to impress. Thousand of students apply to at least seven schools, meaning that colleges receive dozens of essays. You will need to write very impressively as the average school receives! If you want to stand out and get into the best possible school, it takes a lot more work on your part.
Start with these first three steps:
Write Compelling Essays: Your essays are where you can meet and exceed them on their terms. They’re not just focused on grades and test scores; they give equal importance to your non-academic achievements and personal qualities. Your essay is your chance to show those qualities off in an exciting way.
Craft Your College List: Your college list should include your top 8-10 choices, ranked in order of preference. But don’t just start with the 10 schools everyone else is applying to! Make a list of the colleges you desire to go to and make sure that you single out those where your chances are higher.
Choose Your Essay Topics Wisely: The topic is the foundation of your essay. If you want your essay to be great, you need to choose a great topic. It should be unique, interesting, creative and relevant.
There’s a lot you can do with your essay topics. You’re limited only by your imagination!
Show Your Personality: As stated earlier before in this article, the admissions officer is not out to look at your academic excellence. No, they want to see more of you outside the class. The question is, will you be a liability to the college or an Asset.
For example, if you are actively involved in a sport like basketball or football, you are more likely to do better than someone who has no co-curricular involvement.
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