Inspirational College Application Essay Decoded!


If you are applying to a college that requires a college application essay, you will undoubtedly want your college essay to leave a lasting impression on its readers. 


Many colleges request a college application essay; some colleges will provide prospective students with the topic they want you to write about, while others will leave the choice up to you.  


So, how do you write an inspirational essay? There’s no single right way to source college essay inspiration, but there are some recommendations that we’ve compiled here to help you along with your process. 



Source: Unsplash



What is a Personal Statement?


A personal statement, or college application essay, is an opportunity to share something about yourself through writing that the college admissions team won’t necessarily glean from your resume, transcript, or letters of recommendation. 


It provides applicants with the space to share more about their personality and complement the other pieces of your application to offer a well-rounded picture of who you are. 



Things to Note 


Before you get started on your college essay, there are some important things to keep in mind. You’ll likely have been spending a lot of time compiling all the other components for your application, which may include transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and more. 


When it comes time to write your personal statement, be sure to:



Read the Directions Closely


Many prospective students and enrolled students will note that their college essay was the most challenging aspect of completing their college application. This is because it requires the most thought, time, and can also be somewhat open-ended. As such, it’s vital that students read the college essay guidelines and directions closely. In itself, the college essay is like a test for college admissions committees to see how well you can follow directions. 



Avoid Clichés 


There are many inspirational essay examples you can choose from to find ideas, but when using inspiration, avoid using clichés. While clichés exist for a reason because they are based in truth, many students will likely use them. To prevent your essay from getting overlooked, use your own words and voice to describe what you write about so that you can stand apart. 





Once you have your essay drafted, be sure to plan enough time to proofread and edit your work. Even if you feel unsure of putting words on the page, write them down. You can spend time making it better with a second, third, and fourth look. The proofreading stage should also include an objective set of eyes (someone you trust) who can give you their honest opinion about your essay. 



A Step-by-Step Guide 


Your college essay isn’t going to write itself. You have to put in the work, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start. 


Here’s a step-by-step guide that should help you start and finish your inspirational college essay. 



Organize and Brainstorm 


Before you get started on drafting your college essay, organize your thoughts. If you’ve been given essay prompts, dedicate at least 5-10 minutes to each prompt to think about what you may write about.  



Choose Your Topic 


Based on how much you come up with for each prompt, you can choose which prompt will suit your story the best. If you have an open-ended prompt, think about defining moments in your life, your passions, inspirations, achievements, and the like to come up with some ideas of what you can share. 



Create an Outline 


There will be a lot of details that you’ll want to add to your essay to convey your point(s). To keep the flow organized, begin by outlining what you will talk about. A clear starting point is a brief introduction with a hook sentence to grab the reader’s attention. Then, list where you will go next with main points and supporting evidence (anecdotes from your past, examples of your point, etc.). Finish up with a conclusion that reiterates your main point (topic/gist), and close out with something that leaves the reader thinking or feeling something strongly so that your essay lingers in their mind. 





Once you have your outline sorted, you can get to drafting up your inspirational essay. While it’s difficult not to edit as you write, try to let everything out. You’ll have time to clean it up after, but allowing your train of thought to appear on the page may lead to something brilliant. 





Many college essays will provide you with a maximum word count. Remain aware of this word count as you write. 


Pro Tip: If you use Google Docs, go to Tools> Word Count> Select “Display Word Count While Typing.”


The chances are, you’ll probably find it easier to write more than less. To cut down your word count, read each sentence and ask yourself if that sentence or word is necessary to convey your point. Keep an eye on grammar and spelling. Even though you will use the word processor’s spelling and grammar review upon completion, it doesn’t always catch everything. 





After you’ve edited down your college essay, read it over a few times, and entrust someone (or multiple people) to give you some feedback. Try not to take the feedback personally, as the people you allow to read your essay will likely have your best interest in mind, and they are just trying to help you write a better final product. 



College Essay Inspiration 


You’ll want your personal statement to be considered an inspirational college essay. To make this vision a reality, remember to: 


  • Be passionate 
  • Be specific 
  • Be honest 
  • Be yourself 


Some topics that make for inspirational college essays include stories about:


  • Overcoming a challenge 
  • Learning something new 
  • Making a significant life change 
  • Sharing an epiphany 
  • Expressing your interests and reasoning 



Source: Unsplash 



Your Story is Important 


Whether you believe it or not, your personal statement and story is important. No two people have the same life circumstance or outlook as another, so sharing your truth with a college admissions team can be the root of inspiration, and ultimately, admission. 


Believe in yourself and your words, and take the necessary time to prepare, edit, and write your very own inspirational essay for college. The truth is that it can be all the difference to granting your acceptance into the college of your dreams. 


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