Summary: 3 Steps to a great essay
1. Prewriting: Collect and organize potential ideas for your essay's focus.
Your Strengths: Make a list of your best traits. Focus on
characteristics rather than accomplishments: instead of listing "Eagle
Scout," list "responsible," instead of "basketball player," say
"committed." Save your accomplishments for your Academic Resume. Ask
parents, friends and teachers what they consider your best
characteristics.2. Drafting: Similar to an essay for school, there are three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion.
List the Evidence: For each trait, list five or six experiences from your life that prove each of your strengths.
& Connect: Are there threads that run through several of your
strengths and experiences? Is your creativity the driving force behind
your participating in the annual art show and your summer job teaching
crafts at camp? Is your curiosity what made being a member of the
Forensics team and traveling to another place so meaningful to you? Did
you learn more than skills playing volleyball or volunteering at soccer
Grab the reader's attention before giving the reader a concise overview
of your essay. Something unexpected or vivid like "My favorite science
project was a complete disaster" will capture the evaluator's interest.3.
Editing: Check spelling and grammar. Read your essay aloud to see if
it flows comfortably.
Body: Present the evidence supporting your main idea. Use narration and incident to show rather than tell. Avoid listing.
Conclusion: This can be brief, just a few sentences to sum up the meaning of the experiences you've described.
Once you have a draft that you're pleased with,
let it rest for a few days. Come back to it to confirm you've made your
point in a compelling and concise way.
Get Feedback: Have someone
you respect read your essay and give you constructive criticism. Ask
the person to tell you what they think you are trying to convey.
Down: Your language should be simple, direct, and clear. Make every
word count, e.g., if you wrote "in society today," consider changing it
Proofread: Proofread, proofread, proofread. Careless
spelling or grammatical errors, awkward language, or fuzzy logic will
make your essay memorable-- in a bad way.