Art of Craftsmanship

Academic writing tips and guidelines

A Short Guide To College Essay Writing

This is your opportunity to persuade the college that they need you as a student. Your task is to: present an accurate pen picture/showcase of yourself

  • tell them what interests you
  • tell them what you are good at
  • Tell them why you want study at that college

Start by:

Carefully reading any instructions that you have been given about the essay. Read the instructions again.

Give yourself plenty of time to plan, draft and redraft your essay. Allow thinking time. Plan a realistic schedule. Keep in mind that this is one of the most important pieces of written work that you have ever planned.

Make a schedule, but make your deadline a week prior to the deadline date. This gives you time to make any alterations.

Read through the instructions again.


This essay needs to follow the same rules as other essays, it needs an Introduction; Body and Conclusion.

Remember that each paragraph in the Body should only have one focus/theme .

Pick a topic to write about. Think outside the box. Make your essay memorable for the right reasons. Think what other prospective students may write about and avoid those topics because the people who read your essay will be looking for individual expression.

Organize your thoughts and make a rough plan of your essay. Do the ideas flow or are they unrelated?

Make any revisions as you go along, as you may forget later.


Your strengths and weaknesses.

Your interests.

What motivates you.


You have a word limit. Try not to use 20 words when 5 will do. This is where the power of re-reading, drafts and editing come in.

Once you have written a draft, leave it for a day or so and then go back to it. You will not only spot any inconsistencies, but you may change you mind about some of the things you have written.

Don’t try to use vocabulary that you don’t normally use - be yourself.

Don’t use street language, as this gives a poor impression.


Get someone to read through your work and get feedback from them. Be open to the suggestions made.

Read through the instructions again, just to make sure that you have done everything asked of you.

If you use humor in your essay make sure its humor that the person reading it will find amusing and not offensive.