From the First Word to the Seventh Page: How to Write an Effective College Essay

Right after you have left high school, you are jumping into the unknown and going to college. You are excited and enthusiastic and you believe that it cannot be that hard, that you will make new friends, have a high GPA, travel, explore, and learn and so on, all in the same time. But this belief is something like butterflies and unicorns for the college life. It is hard to accomplish and so, so rare. And right in that moment, when your enthusiasm is higher than Everest, you are going into English 101 class and you think that this should be an easy-peasy task. However, only after you get the syllabus and notice the three huge essays you are supposed to write, you are shocked. And with the time, nothing gets better. The teacher starts presenting them one by one and you start getting more and more anxious. Not only that these texts you will have to craft have nothing in common with those you have been writing for years, but their length is also astonishing. The moment you get that first 5-page long graded draft, you prefer climbing Everest than writing another essay like that. But the reality is harsh, life is hard and there is no one that will come and save you. Just you. Just work.


Creating something new, unique, starting from nothing and writing a text that is fascinating and inspiring requires a lot of skills. But first of all it requires ideas. So get a blank piece of paper and a pen, sit on the couch with a cup of coffee and write all the things that come to your mind. Map them well. Everything you will write in this essay should be there for a reason. Empty words that will fill the pages and say nothing are not welcome, so think well, write ideas and be creative.



Then write a first draft. Though you may not be sure how exactly your essay has to look like, you should know that without writing it out, without completing this first draft, you cannot find out what fails. In this first draft the grammar, the punctuation, the spelling doesn’t matter. Here what matters are the ideas and how they are arranged. So write as much as you can, include details and be specific.


When you have already written that first draft, leave it. Don’t start proofreading it then, because it won’t be successful at all. After a while read it and think of the things that could be improved. Maybe you can add something more in the content or maybe you could use stronger words, that will make it more effective, maybe you can rely on some constructions that will make this essay an outstanding one. This proofreading part is the most important one, because right here you are turning your draft in a complete essay. Be careful, be specific, be creative. Writing an essay is an art.