Writing a College Essay According to the Requirements

how to write a college application essay

The purpose of this article is to help you develop or improve the skill of writing an essay in accordance with the requirements for the application. We suggest first to familiarize yourself with these requirements, and then with the structure of the essay and the technology of its writing. You will be given a plan on how to write a college application essay that you need to follow to get the highest possible score.

The task is finished completely if you have shown excellent command of written English for the following five criteria:

  • The solution of the communicative problem is demonstrated. The content reflects all aspects specified in the assignment; the style of writing a college essay is chosen correctly (a neutral style is observed).
  • The text is organized as correctly as possible. The statement is logical and the structure of the text corresponds to the proposed plan; logical communication facilities are used correctly; the text is divided into paragraphs.
  • Excellent vocabulary is demonstrated. The vocabulary used corresponds to the communicative task; there are practically no violations in the use of vocabulary.
  • The correct grammar is used. Grammatical structures are used in accordance with the set communicative task. There are no errors.
  • Excellent knowledge of spelling and punctuation is demonstrated. Spelling errors are absent; the text is divided into sentences with the correct punctuation.

The essay should consist of a minimum of 500 and a maximum of 650 words. It is important to learn how to write a college application essay within the right number of words! If you write less than 500 words, then the task will not get a high grade. If you write more than 650 words, only the part of the work that corresponds to the required volume is subject to verification. In other words, all the excess will be separated by a line and will not be checked. And if there is not completeness in the first 500 words, then the communicative problem will not be solved and the maximum score will not be given to you by this criterion. Organization of the text will also not be quite correct, which will also lead to a decrease in scores in the second evaluation criteria.

How to count words? When determining the compliance of the volume of the submitted work with the above requirements, all words are counted, from the first word to the last, including auxiliary verbs, prepositions, articles, and participles. In a personal letter, the address, date, and signature are also subject to calculation. Wherein:

  • Tight (short) forms “can’t,” “didn’t,” “isn’t,” “I’m,” etc. are considered as one word;
  • Numerals expressed in figures, i.e. 1, 25, 2009, 126, 204, etc., are considered as one word;
  • Numerals, expressed in figures, together with the symbol of percentages, i.е. 25%,
  • 100%, etc., are considered as one word;
  • Numerals expressed in words are considered as words;
  • Complex words such as good-looking, well-bred, English-speaking, and twenty-five are considered as one word;
  • Abbreviations (for example: USA, email, TV, CD-ROM) are considered as one word.

Well, now let’s talk about the structure of the essay. You will be offered the following plan for writing a college essay:

  • Write an introduction.
  • Present a few reasons for your opinion.
  • Present a few reasons for the opposing opinion.
  • Explain why you don’t agree with that opinion.
  • Write a conclusion.

Thus, we see that this is the so-called essay opinion. It involves the author’s statement of some idea and upholding it. You can defend your opinion:

  • By argumentation – but this is usually not enough for an application essay.
  • By reasoning and refuting the views of opponents, which is required in paragraphs three and four of the essay plan.

In other words, for refuting the opponents’ opinion, it is first necessary to be able to explain why they think so. Let us take a closer look at each point of the essay plan. Each paragraph is equal to one paragraph.

  • For the first paragraph, write an introduction. Two sentences are enough here, as the body of the essay will be voluminous. You can refer to the reader, inviting him or her to think about the problem of the essay. Or you can simply indicate the problem.
  • For the second paragraph, provide reasons for your opinion. Here, in the first paragraph of the main part, you first need to state your opinion and give its justification. It is advisable to give at least two arguments with supporting sentences. Altogether, ideally, there will be four proposals for two arguments with their support or six sentences for three arguments and complementary proposals.
  • For the third paragraph, provide reasons for the opposing opinion. In the next paragraph of the body of the essay you need to give the opponents’ opinion and explain why they think so. It is enough to use two arguments, each of which is expressed by two to three sentences.
  • For the fourth paragraph, write why you don’t agree with the opponents’ opinion. The next paragraph of the main part should refute the belief of opponents. This is the most difficult part of the essay. Because it is always easier to come up with arguments “for” or “against,” but to find in them incorrectness, irrelevance, or inconsistency is another effort of your logic. In some cases, one should try to be tactful, recognizing the relevance or regularity of the opposition’s opinion. But at the same time one must be able to find the weak points of the point of view in question and give additional information that makes up for the gaps in their logical sufficiency.
  • For the last paragraph, write a conclusion. Here you need to give your opinion, but in other words, in this way, by stating it again. It is more professional to state a generalization in a conclusion or to make an additional observation. It is necessary to try to avoid repeating already written phrases.

If you like this post, check out also Be Bright: How to Make a College Essay Stand Out. On our blog, you can find tips for writing different types of essays that can help you to deal with writing assignments while studying in college or university.