Applying to private school means you need to think about writing your admission essay. Many students will spend time scouring the web looking for sample admission essays, but the truth is, you won’t find many. Why? This is one piece of writing that needs to be unique to you, your writing style, and your knowledge and interests. Check out these helpful tips on how to write the best possible admission essay to help you get accepted at private school.
Pick the writing prompt that interests you and invest in it.
Most private school applications include more than one essay topic choice. Here’s a pro-tip: don’t pick the one that you think you should write; instead, pick the one you want to write. What’s the difference? If you write about something you find boring, chance are, your reader will also be bored.
That means, don’t opt for a topic that seems like the “right choice” just because it’s the most proper or formal option, or because you think that’s what the admission office wants to read. The admission office likely receives hundreds of essays, and finding a way to stand out from the crowd is to write about something that you really find interesting. For example, if you're interested in science, you might choose a topic that lets you write about someone you admire or tells the story of how you came to be passionate about chemistry or engineering. Teach your reader something new, share a personal story, and paint a picture of why you’re passionate about the topic at hand.
Aim to be unique
Think about it, the admission application offers options for a reason: they want you to pick something that speaks to you so that it’s interesting for you to write, and therefore, interesting for them to read. They have to read hundreds of essays, and they want some variety. If you write yet another cookie-cutter essay that tackles the basics only, you haven’t set yourself apart from the pack. How can you make that topic your own?
If you’re not sure what you should write about, get some input from family and friends, or even your teacher. Find out what they think you should write and if your idea sounds like it fits you. You might also ask them if it also sounds interesting to read.
Tell a Story
The admission essay is your chance to tell a meaningful story. Especially when the writing prompt is personal, take advantage of the opportunity to make that story interesting and detailed. Paint a picture for your reader using interesting details that can bring your essay to life. If the prompt is something like, “Tell us about a significant day in your life” or “Describe a person you admire,” don’t just list a bunch of facts or chronological order of events. Take the time to explain what you’re writing about, its significance, and impact on you or someone else. For example, you may wish to write about a family member who keeps traditions alive within your family, and how that relates to your desire to find a school that reflects those same values. For many students at Milken, finding a Jewish school with strong values is important, and your essay might be an opportunity for you to explain why.
Take your time writing.
Don’t rush through the essay, hoping to just get it done. Take your time and reflect on the topic at hand. Why does this interest you? What is the story you can tell? Your readers want an essay that flows well, is exciting to read, and reflects you as both a writer and a person. Remember, if you don’t have fun writing it, your reader isn’t going to have fun reading it.
Also be sure that you write a complete essay. Don’t get sidetracked in your writing and never fully address the writing prompt. If you’re writing about someone you admire, you can’t just describe that person; you also have to talk about why you admire them.
You might start with an outline of the essay, before you even start writing. Think about how you break down an essay, into an introduction, the body of the piece, and the conclusion. What do you need to cover in each section? What’s the goal of the essay, and did you accomplish it? Use complete sentences and proper grammar, too. You are applying to school, and it’s important to show that you can write well.
Proofread your admission essay. Several times.
It’s important to make sure that you spell check, read the flow of words, and use proper grammar. Get a parent or teacher to help you proofread, too. But, before you do that, try this trick: read your story out loud. You can do this alone in your room if you want, or you can read it out loud to a friend, parent, or even your dog. The reason for doing this? Pay attention to the places in which you stumble on a word or phrase, or something feels like it doesn’t flow well. That’s a sign there’s room for improvement in what you wrote, and you can tackle that section again.