BK Writing Lab

Writing a College Application Essay
Val Doner & Paul DiGeorgio, Ph.D.


Use this handout to help you write a college application essay.

Reflecting Before You Write

1.  List 6 adjectives you think will best describe you.

2.  List at least 3 interests that you enjoy most.

3.  List at least 2 events that helped shape your perspective.

4. Name the person who has been the most instrumental in helping you become the person you are today.


Analyzing the Prompt:

1.  What verb is being used in the prompt?  

2.  What seems to be the most important point the prompt wants you to address?

3.  Are there any specific directions you must keep in mind while outlining the essay?

4.  What specific examples can you use to make your essay more compelling?


Noting Restrictions

1.  Is there a page restriction?

2.  Is there a specific word count that must not be exceeded?

3.  Can you include all your examples within the parameters of the page restriction or word count?

4.  Does the university/college have a unique focus that ought to be considered when answering the prompt?


Section 1

1.  This paragraph must catch the eye of the reader.

2.  You are creating a pithy pitch that will help to sell you to the university/college.

3.  Make certain you include a nod to the prompt and to the university/college.


Section 2

1.  You must introduce the experience, event, or person that you are using as the basis of the essay.

2.  Be sure that you are clear in your intent; the reader ought to understand the direction you are taking in answering the prompt.

3.  Make certain to include compelling examples.


Section 3

1.  Make certain to explain the impact the experience, event, or person had on you.

2.  Explain how this developmental change helps to make you uniquely qualified to be a student at the university/college.

3.  Tell them what impact you think you might have on the university/college. Don't be egotistical; this university/college has survived without you.


If you have any questions, send us an email at bkwritinglab@bishopkennyhs.org!


Image Credit: College by Barurezeki from the Noun Project

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