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The 10 Most Important Tips for Writing the Perfect Common App Essay

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REWRITE, REWRITE, REWRITE

Once you finish your first draft, start rewriting. Make sure your story has a beginning, middle, and ending. Check for conflict, obstacles, struggle, and resolution. Heighten the imagery, suspense, humor, and feeling throughout. Does your first sentence grab your reader’s attention? Have you written in your authentic, conversational voice. Most importantly, is your message clearly articulated at the end of your draft, revealing the unique quality that only you can bring to your college?

Polish, trim, proofread. Eliminate repetition and rambling. Say more with less. Get feedback from trusted readers. Never exceed the word limit. I repeat: never exceed the word limit! And click submit. Be proud of the journey you’ve taken. Though it’s been hard work, it is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure leading you to a pure expression of who you are in this pivotal moment in your life.

The MOST important tip for writing your essay? It's checking out Crushing the Common App Essay: A Foolproof Guide to Getting Into Your Top College by Julie Ferber Frank—pre-order your copy now on BN.com!

Topics: Life
Tags: personal statements, common app, applying to college, college admission essays, sparknotes college, college 101, crushing the common app, common app essay, common app essay prompts

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About the Author
Chelsea Dagger

Since 2010, Chelsea Dagger (known in real life as Chelsea Aaron) has been SparkLife's sweatiest editor. She's currently working on a how-to-kiss guide for teens, and when she's not conducting smooch-related research on her life-size Joseph Gordon-Levitt cardboard cutout, she's eating pancakes, stocking up on industrial-strength deodorant, and destroying everyone at Harry Potter trivia. (EXPECTO PATRONUM!)

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.