One of the most important phases in your life is the time when you’re applying to go to university or college. There are endless forms to fill in, references to be obtained and then, of course, the dreaded personal essay that you have to write.
The personal essay is a technique that selection committees use to choose the most suitable candidates for the programs offered. Very often it can be the difference between a well-written essay and a badly written essay that gets you the spot.
However, it is not always that easy to know whether you have written a good essay or a bad essay. Sometimes it is even necessary to employ a professional editor to look the essay over and to help you with some guidance on how to improve it. They may even suggest appropriate changes to sentences, words and perhaps even whole paragraphs. No matter what you do, this advice is critical to the success of your essay.
If you don’t have the resources to employ an editor, there are a few things that you need to look out for when you edit your essay yourself:
- The first thing that you have to be keenly aware of is the spelling. Misspelled words or even the incorrect usage of words can leave a very negative impression with the selectors. Don’t just rely on your software’s spell checker; use a reliable dictionary to look up words that you’re unsure of. If you can’t find a satisfactory answer, phone a teacher who is willing to help you. NEVER let an unchecked document go with a student application.
- Next, you need to make sure that your sentence constructions are correct. Each sentence should have a subject, verb and an object. If your sentence lacks one of these, you don’t have a complete or a correct sentence. This too will leave a bad impression with selectors. Once again, don’t be afraid of asking for help wherever you can find it.
- Your sentences should be ordered into logical paragraphs. The first line of a paragraph usually introduces the topic or thought that will be discussed in that paragraph and it is a good guideline to bear in mind. If you find that your paragraph is too long or wanders from one topic to the next, it is probably not well constructed. Re-read the paragraph and sort through the information that you’re trying to convey. You may find that you’re compressed several thoughts or ideas into one space. Write the new paragraphs – even if they’re short – and make sure that your thoughts are expressed clearly, yet concisely.
- The overall impression that your essay should convey is one of well-considered professionalism. You want to make the best possible impression on selectors and therefore you need to edit your application essay with strict attention to detail. Don’t be afraid to highlight your strengths, but make sure that each strength is showcased in its own paragraph with well-constructed sentences and correctly spelled words.
Applying for a spot at a college is probably one of the most daunting experiences that a person faces in life. You have a lot at stake and your future will be determined by the outcome of the application. Therefore your application should be read and re-read at least five times and then submitted to another two or three people to help you check for any spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. Your ‘editors’ should also be very critical of how you wrote your essay and the message that you’re trying to convey.
Once this has been done, you should feel confident that your student application essay is technically sound and ready to be submitted. You’ve done your best – the rest now lie in the hands of the selectors.