With social networks like Twitter and Facebook all the rage, more and more colleges are going to the ‘short but sweet’ college essay application. Offbeat questions allow colleges to get to know students in a different way. More colleges are steering away from the standard essay about, “why do you want to go to our school” and going toward short-answer questions of no more than 25 words. Who can blame them, with over 30,000 applications a year to inspect?
Today’s high school seniors have enough to worry about with the pressures of having wit and flair on platforms like Twitter, and now college essay applications require Tweet-like answers (25 words or less) to questions like University of North Carolina’s “Most overrated and underrated superheroes?”
Here are more tips for writing a college essay that is of the shorter variety:
Is my image accurately portrayed? Remember that just because the style of question is similar to a Facebook status update or a Tweet that does not mean you can be as informal. Remember your purpose and audience and you will do fine. This is one of the most important tips for writing a college essay. If you seem juvenile in your questions, they may deem you not ready for a college experience at their school.
Are any of my words redundant? In short essays, this is an important point to remember. It is easy to over-write because of a fear you will not get the question answered, but remember, in these questions short is better. Take out extra words and make sure you are clear and to the point.
Are my main points clear? As hard as it can be to get your point across in a few short words, it can be done. You have to get out of the mindset of the long essay, find out what you really want to convey, and go from there.
Is a consistent voice used throughout the essay(s)? If there are multiple questions, it is important to use the same voice throughout each essay. Be careful not to contradict yourself anywhere, and make sure the questions seem like they are written by the same person.
Is the impression set forth in the rest of the application supported? This is important because you want to make sure that your style, personality and academic prowess are included in your application. When it comes to the essay, if you are very dry and cutting, but in the application you portray yourself as a sweet and simple member of society, this can show up as a conflict to admissions advisors.
Many of the countries’ top schools are switching to the short essay format because they are very competitive and have a large number of applications. Admissions officers are tired of reading the same old essays year-after-year. Schools such as Duke, Yale, Georgetown, University of North Carolina, Dartmouth and Harvard have switched up their applications to include either a series of short essays or a single question of 25-30 words or less. Make sure you use these tips for writing a college essay to get your point across without being wordy.