How to Write Your College Admission Essay

College admission essays can both be a fun and stressful part of the admission process at any university.

Even if you love to write, it can seem overwhelming to write the perfect essay when there are a million other loose ends to wrap up before graduation. Luckily, writing your essay isn’t as hard as it may seem. These four easy steps will not only lead to a successful college entrance essay that uniquely tells your story, but also will express why you are a qualified candidate for admission to the university of your choice (like SEU!).

Step 1: Share what you love about the college.

What do you like about the school and why does it matter to you? For example, Southeastern University’s Christ-centered focus on academics is perfect for students that are looking for a quality education that has a Christian foundation. There are a number of things that you could love about the school you’re applying for. It could be an incredible program of study for the major of your choice, quality athletic teams, or even community-oriented campus life.

Step 2: Identify why your college’s values matter to you.

Why is it important to you that your professors are personable and care about you and your future? Or that your school has a focus on community and diversity? Highlight these things in your essay. Picking a college is one of the biggest commitments that you’ll make in your life, and it’s important that the one you pick aligns with who you are and what you believe.

A good way to tie this into your essay is to focus on your school’s motto. Southeastern University’s motto is “Transforming minds. Engaging culture.” This means that our focus is on educating students to become influential, active members of society and giving them a Christ-centered foundation. Having a Christian college education is important to many students not just because of their personal faith, but can also be an important basis for their future career. Students who felt that there was a lack of a Christian presence in their high school might also be looking for a more faith-based environment.

Whatever the reason, students can mention that these values align with their personal values. This is the heart of a good college essay. It’s also a good idea to tie in your own experience with your college. What experiences have you had so far with the college that have moved you? This could include a positive story from a campus visit or phone conversation with a university staff member.

Step 3: Identify how you would be a good addition to the college.

This is your golden opportunity to “brag” about yourself in the most socially acceptable way possible. Seize the opportunity. Share your high school leadership positions, the non-profit you started, your awesome GPA, etc. The sky’s the limit as long as you follow one simple rule: make sure that what you share about yourself lines up with what you’ve already shared about your school’s values and your own. If you mention that you were student body president, also share your excitement about the opportunity to lead at your school. If you were musically-inclined in high school, tie in your experience with the musical opportunities at your college. The key to a good conclusion is to tie everything together with your main idea: that you are passionate about your intended school, have the experience and skills to excel, and deserve the opportunity to attend such an institution.

Step 4: Pay attention to the details.

Make sure to follow any instructions given in terms of length, word count, etc. Grammar, spelling, and format should be accurate. Read articles (like this one) to gain knowledge of what you should write about. It’s a great idea to share your essay with friends and family before you submit it. Every person that reads your essay will be able to notice different qualities that you can expound on, or that you’ve expressed well. Also, make sure your essay answers the question(s) posed. For example, SEU’s essay requirement asks “Describe the beginning and present growth of your relationship with God and how you see yourself as a good match for Southeastern’s academic and spiritual environment.”

Essays can be overwhelming when you look at the big picture. Break your college essay down into sections with clear points to make the writing process easier for yourself. Following these four steps will give you the framework to write a compelling essay that aligns your academic goals with the college of your choice. You’re going to own it!


Article by Kerryn MacMichael, who was a member of the SEU chapter of Enactus during her time as a student at SEU.

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