On Deadline for College Application Essays? Online Tips from College Leaders

PurdueLogoHigh school seniors writing college application essays can visit a Purdue University online writing resource for tips and guidelines.

"Students invest a lot of time and worry about how to complete this part of their application, and a good personal statement can make a difference in being accepted," says Linda Bergmann, director of Purdue's Online Writing Lab, which is known as OWL. "The tips here can help students better understand what admissions representatives want to learn about the applicants in these essays."

These suggestions, as well as more insight on what college admissions officers are looking for in personal essays, are available at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/966/01/

The tips include:

  • Go beyond information on the transcript, such as test scores and grades. Capture your experiences.
  • Regardless of the essay topic, highlight personal choices that have led to personal growth, involvement, and success or failure as a result.
  • Don't Google the question to see what others have written. Colleges want something unique from you, so no matter the topic or question, tie the essay back to yourself.
  • Know your audience. Admissions representatives from diverse backgrounds of all ages will read your statement.
  • You should try to have fun with your essays. Exercise your sense of humor, write about something you're passionate about and write in a way you find inspiring.

In addition to application essay advice written by six admissions officers at various U.S. universities, this online writing resource also offers tips on grammar and writing structure at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/

Users also can email specific writing questions to online writing tutors.

Purdue's Online Writing Lab provides information on many aspects of writing, including grammar and mechanics, punctuation, writer's block, citation styles, and plagiarism. It served more than 231 million page views last year. The site also features topical vidcasts, which are available at http://www.youtube.com/user/OWLPurdue/videos