6 College Essay Tips to Help You Find the Perfect Idea

By Kim Lifton
Wow Writing Workshop

College essay tipsBefore you decide what to write about in your college application essay, first consider two things: 1) What does the prompt mean? and 2) What do you want colleges to know about you beyond grades, test scores and extracurricular activities? Once you have answers to those two questions, you’re ready to brainstorm ideas! Here are some great brainstorming tips from our FREE eBook, Write Your Way Into College.

(To get your copy, join WowWritingWorkshop.com!)

  1. Talk to yourself. Your story is inside your head, waiting to come out. Start by asking yourself a series of questions to get those ideas flowing. What did you learn while fishing with your grandpa? Describe your study plan for final exams. What is your favorite subject? Follow up every question with WHY?
  2. Keep a journal. Journaling is like talking to yourself on paper. Think of your journal entries as though they were quick snapshots from your cell phone. Their purpose is to jog your memory and remind you of an experience, not to capture it in spectacular detail.
  3. Focus on YOU! Whether you write about shopping for sneakers with your little brother or building houses for disadvantaged residents of rural Arkansas, the topic is secondary. You are the subject of your essay. Choose a topic that will allow you to share something genuine about yourself.
  4. Start with a cliché. When in doubt, go for the obvious. It’s okay to start brainstorming with a cliché, like I play to win or I give 110%. Think of examples that exemplify that characteristic. Jot down notes. Talk it through with a friend, parent, coach or counselor. You never know where or when the story will emerge. Be patient. Trust yourself.
  5. Don’t let anyone tell you what to write. To be genuine, your essay has to start with an original idea – not an idea from a blog or a book, not your mom’s idea, not something your tutor thinks you should write. Admissions officers want to know what you think about yourself, what you learned, how you got to be the person you are.
  6. Get FREE tips. Join WowWritingWorkshop.com and get the eBook, Write Your Way Into College for free. Lots of companies will tell you WHAT to do. Wow can show you HOW. Make your ideas sizzle so your application can make it to the top of the pile. Our students get into their top choice schools. You can too!