Top 5 Tips to Write an Effective College Essay

A college essay is a unique statement that applicants submit as part of their college applications. It is an opportunity for students to showcase their unique personalities and provide admissions committees with insight into their interests, values, and goals. A well-crafted college essay can give applicants a significant advantage in the admissions process. Most colleges, like Harvard University, Duke University, and Stanford University, include writing essays as part of their application process.

What is a College Essay?


  • The college essay is an Individual's essay that conveys an engaging story in 650 words or fewer. 
  • This is similar to biography or creative nonfiction writing that relates to the author's personal experiences. 
  • This essay needs to be rich in introspection, reflection, and statements of self-awareness. 
  • College essays should always be well-written and error-free in grammar, punctuation, and plagiarism. 

Learn the Fundamentals of How Business Works

Executive Certificate In General ManagementExplore Program
Learn the Fundamentals of How Business Works

How to Start the College Essay?

  • The Starting of your essay should be an attention grabber.
  • The first sentence of your essay should be the "hook" or "grabber." 
  • The opening sentence is the one that most grabs the reader's attention, making them want to read more. 
  • It should be crisp, provide rich details, or engage a reader's curiosity.

Format of a College Essay 

The format of your college essay depends on you. A typical essay includes various information, often in specialized parts or sections. The default format of college essays consists of the following steps,

1. Think About an Appropriate and Relevant Title 

  • A title for your college essay is Optional, But including one can grab the attention of your essay.
  • You can also wait until you write your essay and decide on a title. 
  • Mentioning the title will give the admission officer an idea about what your essay is going to be about. 

2. Open With a Hook 

  • Your opening sentence is one of the essential parts of your essay. 
  • You'll use it to capture the reader's attention and give them a reason to read. 
  • The beginning of your essay is your opportunity to make an impactful first impression.

3. Continue With Your Introduction. 

  • Your hook will spark the reader's interest. 
  • The rest of your introduction should provide them with an idea of where you're going with your essay. 
  • Set up your story in four to five interesting sentences.

4. Include Your Story in the Body of Your Essay

  • If your introduction and conclusion are approximately 100 words each. 
  • Your body will end up being at least 450 words. 
  • Think of three to five constructive paragraphs that will tell the main idea of your story.

5. Wrap Up With a Conclusion 

  • Finish your story with a conclusion paragraph, and ensure to include the main idea you want the examiner to know about you through this story. 
  • Finally, conclude your essay with the personal statement you want to make about yourself.

Learn the Fundamentals of How Business Works

Executive Certificate In General ManagementExplore Program
Learn the Fundamentals of How Business Works

Top 5 Tips to Write an Effective College Essay

  1. Write About Something Important About You: Include some information about an adventure, a person, a book, or anything that has influenced your life, influencing the reader to read your essay. 
  2. Don't Just Recount or Reflect: Anyone can write about their big game victory or their monsoon season in Rome. Please describe what you learned from the experience and how it changed you.
  3. Be Funny and Strong: A student who can make an admissions authority laugh never gets lost in the shuffle. What you think is funny and what a grown-up working in a college thinks is funny are different. Make sure you refrain from offending the emotions of the reader.   
  4. Start Early and Write Several Drafts: After completing your essay. Place yourself in the shoes of an admissions authority and see Is the essay interesting? Do the ideas flow logically? Does it reveal something about the applicant? Is it written in the applicant's voice? Then make changes according to it. 
  5. No Repeats: What you write in your college essay statement should not oppose any other part of your application, nor should it repeat. 


In this tutorial, we saw the basic definition of a College essay, the format of a college essay, and the top 5 tips for writing a college essay. If you need clarification about writing a perfect email, this tutorial will help you. 

If you are looking to upskill yourself this year, we highly recommend you to check courses by Simplilearn, including the Executive Certificate Program In General Management, which will help you enhance your skills and make you job-ready in no time.

Do you have any questions for us? Please leave them in the comments section of this tutorial, and our experts will get back to you on it at the earliest.

Happy learning!

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

View More
  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.