How to write a college application essay

When it comes to applying for college, the college application essay is often the most daunting task for students. It’s a chance to showcase your unique personality and experiences, but also a way to demonstrate your writing skills and ability to articulate your goals and ambitions.

In this blog post, we’ll provide some tips and guidance on how to write a compelling college application essay that stands out from the crowd.

Getting ready for college application essay

Writing a college application essay is somewhat different than writing an academic essay.

Things to avoid

Things to do

When writing an college application essay,

You don't need to analyze other people’s opinions or compose yours, and you’re not supposed to use references here.

Understanding the instructions

Be careful about the instructions of your application. Make sure to check if you’re given any prompt and/or a set of questions to be answered. Also, check if you are supposed to write in a particularly given format (APA, MLA, etc.).

If you are not given a specific format, the following is generally preferred as default:

College application essay best practices

Once again, you don’t need to use any references. Simply focus on the best practices above.

Step 1: Create a flow and tell a story

Designing a storyline for your essay is always a good idea. Reading a paper that mentions random parts of a story might be hard to understand. So it’s always better to follow an outline or flow. 


Therefore, make sure to structure your essay,  from “specific to general” or “general to specific”. This way, it will be much easier for readers to understand.

Below, you’ll see some paragraph examples for each part of your college application essay, don’t forget to have a look at them before writing.

Step 2: Introduction

The first paragraph of your essay is always the introduction. In this part, you are expected to introduce yourself, your educational background and professional experiences.

You can start with a specific example from your past and open up the story. Below, you’ll see a short example.

As a mechanical engineering student candidate, other than my time in class, I had my most productive hours during my extracurricular work in the school’s mechanical laboratory. Introduction: Introduce yourself in a subtle way by talking about your potential major etc. After my junior year, I participated in extracurricular activities for three years until I was graduated and mostly practiced 3D design by CAD. Background: State your educational background. Honestly, I owe a good part of my good grades in mathematics and physics classes to my 3D design practices. Experiences: Lastly, state your professional experiences related to your field.

Or start in a general manner and then narrow your story down

Engineering is a concept that covers a quite wide range of topics such as chemistry, mechanical, electric, and nano-technology. Hook: Intrigue the reader with a general concept without giving personal information. Being an engineer does not only mean successfully completing a set of courses. Instead, an engineer should be passionate about science, mathematics, optimization, and so on. Personal opinion: Present your insight about the field which is you are also related. In my case, I have always liked to design and build basic machinery out of different parts that were available to me. Personal experience: Talk about your experiences in the field.

These two examples of an introduction explain the reader the structure of your story. As you see, it is either from general to specific or specific to general.

Step 3: Body paragraphs

In the body paragraph, you’re expected to open your story up and give some details such as your educational background and/or professional experiences.

As a result of my interest in design and inventions, I discovered my engineering interest while I was in high school. Topic sentence: This will define the topic of your paragraph. I had extensive engineering research and actually completed a term-project on engineering branches. At the same time, I was a freshman in high school. After I researched engineering branches, I decided to become a mechanical engineer and started to concentrate on science classes. Experiences: You state your academic and professional experiences and continue further.

Above is an example of a paragraph opening in the body. After such openings, you’re expected to detail your story in your studies and how you succeeded.

Step 4: Conclusion

As you see, the conclusion is the part where you wrap up your story. The most important thing to keep in mind here is not to fall into repetition.

After all, by studying mechanical engineering, I have accomplished one of the goals in my life. I discovered my talent and interest early, which helped me create a dream and pursue it. My hard work brought success, and I studied in the top-ranking college of the state. Details of my success in my college studies could be found in my attached transcript. Summary: Summarize the main points of your application essay, emphasize your success once again. I believe that my success distinguishes me from other applicants and makes me a strong candidate for the applied position. I look forward to studying in your college in the mechanical engineering department and further proving myself and providing benefit for the future of the earth. Final sentences:Finish the conclusion by stating your motivation and with a memorable line.

Step 5: Proofread and revise

The last step is proofreading and revising if needed. This part is generally underestimated. However, it might be the most crucial part of a successful college application essay.

A typo or a grammatical mistake like wrong tenses, capitalization, heading structure, English consistency, etc. would not be wanted after all this effort, right?

Don’t hesitate to use simple language. As long as you aren’t applying to a Ph.D. program in literature or linguistics, your main concern should be a smooth and understandable essay.

Lastly, follow these steps above to make sure you did a decent proofread and keep revising if necessary. 

5-Paragraph College Application Essay

Here’s a 5-paragraph perfect college application essay example. Simply hover over the essay with your mouse to see which sentence stand for what in the academic context. 

From Childhood Fascination to Career Aspiration


As a child, I was fascinated by the intricate workings of the human body. My mother would often find me buried in medical textbooks, marveling at the complexities of our anatomy.Background info on the applicant This curiosity drove me to pursue a career in medicine and become a doctor, and I believe that your university will provide me with the education and experience necessary to achieve this goal. Thesis statement outlining the desire of application

Body paragraphs

Throughout high school, I have challenged myself academically, taking rigorous courses such as Advanced Placement Biology and Chemistry.Discussion of academic coursework Additionally, I have taken part in multiple extracurricular activities that have further developed my interest in medicine, such as volunteering at a local hospital and participating in a medical research internship.Applicant's experiences These experiences have allowed me to see firsthand the impact that medicine can have on people's lives and have further cemented my desire to pursue a career in the field. Analysis of these experiences

At your university, I am excited to continue exploring my passion for medicine through your renowned pre-med program. Stating the universty The opportunity to work alongside esteemed professors and researchers in the field would be invaluable in helping me achieve my dream of becoming a doctor. I am also excited to take part in the various extracurricular opportunities offered, such as the student-run clinic, which would allow me to gain hands-on experience in the field. Researched opportunities in the college

In addition to my passion for medicine, I have a strong commitment to serving my community. Throughout high school, I have volunteered at local food banks and homeless shelters, as well as organized fundraisers for various non-profit organizations. Discussion on your volunteer activities I believe that being a doctor goes beyond simply treating patients but also involves actively working towards improving the health and wellbeing of the community as a whole. Your university's emphasis on community service aligns with my values and further motivates me to become a student at your institution.Highlight how your ideals align with university's goals.


After all, I believe that your university would be the perfect fit for me to achieve my academic and career goals. State you're a good fit With a strong passion for medicine and a commitment to serving my community, I am confident that I would thrive in your pre-med program and contribute positively to the campus community.Highlight on your fit and how you'll contribute Thank you for considering my application. Gratitudes and closing

Key takeaways

Picture of Ibrahim Akturk
Ibrahim Akturk
Content editor at Tamara Research. Translation major, huge coffee and baking nerd. Addicted to good music and great articles.