The college application process can be frantic. But even if you’re short on time, it’s still possible to write a great college admissions essay. Whether you have a week, a few days, or just a few hours until the deadline, follow these steps to get it done.
A good diversity essay shows how you will add a unique perspective, identity, or experience to your prospective campus community. You should share stories that demonstrate how your lived experience has shaped your actions, worldview, and goals.
While admissions officers are interested in hearing about your experiences, they’re also interested in how you present them. An exceptionally written essay will stand out from the crowd, meaning that admissions officers will spend more time reading it.
To write a standout essay, you can use literary devices to pull the reader in and catch their attention. Literary devices often complement each other and can be woven together to craft an original, vivid, and creative personal essay. However, don’t overdo it; focus on using just a few devices well, rather than trying to use as many as possible.
Most US college application deadlines for undergraduate programs are between late November and mid-March, and you should start thinking about applying for college the summer before junior year. Your application should typically include the following:
Personal information, extracurriculars, and awards
Standardized test scores
In this comprehensive guide, we show you how to organize deadlines and stay on track throughout your college application process.
We’ve also created a free Google Sheets template that you can use to organize and track your college applications.
A good scholarship essay demonstrates the scholarship organization’s values while directly addressing the prompt. If you plan ahead, you can save time by writing one essay for multiple prompts with similar questions.
You should apply for a variety of scholarships that match your background, values, and interests. Local scholarships with small dollar amounts may be less competitive and more relevant than larger national ones. It’s easier to write an authentic essay if the scholarship topic is meaningful to you.
Most college application portals specify a word count range for your essay, and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit. If no word count is specified, we advise keeping your essay between 400 and 600 words.
You should aim to stay under the specified limit to show you can follow directions and write concisely. However, if you write too little, it may seem like you are unwilling or unable to write a thoughtful and developed essay.
Revision and editing are essential to make your college essay the best it can be.
When you’ve finished your draft, first focus on big-picture issues like the overall narrative and clarity of your essay. Then, check your style and tone. Finally, when you’re happy with your essay, polish up the details of grammar and punctuation, and don’t forget to check that it’s within the word count limit.
Remember to take a break after you finish writing and after each stage of revision. You should go through several rounds of revisions and ask for feedback on your drafts from a teacher, friend or family member, or professional essay coach. If you don’t have much time, focus on clarity and grammar.
You can also check out our college essay examples to get an idea of how to turn a weak essay into a strong one.