Your Grades & Your Scars: Creating An Effective College Entrance Essay

The discussion of whether Affirmative Action should or should not have been overturned is irrelevant. If your college application requires you to write an essay why you should be granted acceptance to the college you seek, the basic rules of essay writing are going to apply. (Add to this the fact that all essays that you will write in college still need to adhere to these basics.) Your essay needs to be cohesive, coherent, and on point. Creative writing (short stories, novellas, novels, and poetry) allows for artistic expression and the bending of grammatical conventions. This is not so with essay writing. Perhaps this should best be referred to as “academic writing.” Your college application essay needs to blend both academic and creative writing aspects. Besides being cohesive, coherent, and on point, add to this Engaging,

The basics of all essays (academic writing) comprise: (1) a thesis statement; (2) points you make that support your thesis statement; and (3) a conclusion. The thesis statement is simply, “What Are You Writing About?” Here, you are writing about yourself. You are writing about not simply your academic achievements, but the wholeness of yourself and your life story. What are or were the elements in your life that might have been challenges, and how did you get over those walls? Did racism stand in your way? These elements are the points you make that support your thesis. Finally, you reiterate your initial statement and how the points you displayed support it, and you might want to add a little something else. Maybe another element of proof. That is your conclusion. This is the basic roadmap for academic writing. Following it ensures cohesion. Everything pulls together to make a point. What is the point? You deserve to go to this college is the point.

All too often, students are given the advice to “just write the way you talk.” In reality, for academic writing, this advice is probably the absolute worst. Everyone has some degree of inserting “Um,” “Uh,” and the like in their speech. If you are one of those who say that everything is “like” this or that, and “you know,” that’s really something that is seriously going to make flawed academic writing. It can work in creative writing when that is the way a character speaks, but academically, it is death. When you speak that way, it can impede being coherent. “Um” and “uh” in speech, when not constant, is natural and aid in helping the speaker catch up with their own brain. When writing your essay, you must present yourself as a more formal person. When one speaks with full understanding and confidence, the “um” and “uh” stuff virtually vanish. Your writing must convey the full authority of the fact that you deserve admittance to this college. Who knows your story better than you? You are the authority. Be clear on that and do not waiver.

While it can be a bit off-putting to speak so glowingly about yourself, the point is about you. You are telling the college about you. You don’t want to sound conceited or arrogant, but you do want to discuss how you overcame obstacles that were trying to stand in the way of your dreams. This is the point. The point is that you deserve to be here. Everything you are sharing testifies to that point. Nobody better than you can attest to the wholeness of your life story. You don’t want to digress and go off on any tangents. That might be fine in an actual conversation, face-to-face. Your essay must stay focused. Laser beams need to learn from you.

With Affirmative Action struck down, the required college essay is even more important to show how you may have overcome possible race-related problems. Be certain to keep all your points directed towards the thesis that you deserve to attend this college. Make your life story clearly understood. Finally, and possibly most importantly, you need to engage the reader. You are telling the story of YOU. You are the hero. Don’t you want the reader to care about the protagonist? Bring the college admissions board along for the ride. Here is where academic writing can meet creative writing. You are not writing fiction, but you need to make others understand and genuinely care. You need to engage your reader. Using AI can create something that is grammatically perfect. It will be sterile, though. It will not have the depth and breadth of your actual experience. It won’t be YOU. Do not be abrasively manipulative, but reach into their soul to show that you, too, have soul and spirit and that you deserve to be here, no matter what others might have said or done to you. You are not a mere statistic. Everything that has happened to you has a part that makes the story of YOU. The academics matter. But so do the scars. AI won’t take any of that into account. Speak one human to another. In the end, your essay needs to embody all that is you – your grades as well as your scars.