I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

College Admissions

Our Counselors Answered:

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

you must practice and learn how to write in English

there are many stories about essay submitted by international students especially from China for college admissions. the main problem is the fact that international students normally allow the agencies to write the essay for them. essay is a great way for admissions office to learn something personal about the applicant, sometimes, first class essy wrote by someone else may not help the student at all. without practice and learning, it is hard for international students to write college admissions essay effectively and therefore, improve their applications.

js

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

etes

Francine SchwartzFounder/ PresidentPathfinder Counseling LLC

International Students and the College Essay

I think international students face the same issues as other applicants in constructing a solid and effective essay. They should strive to tell a story that no one else can tell, in their own voice and not repeat what is said elsewhere in the application. It is particularly important for them to have a qualified teacher or other person proof read for grammatical errors.

Steve PeiferDirector of College GuidanceRift Valley Academy

Be Careful and Make Sure to SHOW

The most important part of an essay is to show the college your life. US colleges value diversity; the more you can SHOW them the differences in your culture and the US culture, the better your chances of making a favorable impression. Be descreptive in your essay; the best essay I’ve read in the past few years was a student explaining the process of buying a pair of jeans in Congo. She is now in her second year at Harvard. Make sure you have someone whose first language is English to read over your essay. I’ve had international students with a perfect 800 CR SAT score who still had issues with tenses; if you have access to someone like that, it will be helpful in catching errors.

Laura O’Brien GatzionisFounderEducational Advisory Services

Effective Essays

The same way any other student needs to write–authentically. This is your chance to let your own voice shine through and to liven up your application. Those admissions officers want to feel that they are learning something about how you will contribute to the new freshman class at their school. Don’t forget to proofread your essays!

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

Write about yourself but remember the context of whom you are writing for.

International students are vastly different from American students and our universities approach academia within a different context. Make sure to write about something important from your personal experiences, but also make sure you put the school in context that you want to attend. For example, if coming from Korea, how do you see yourself fitting in both academically and socially to a school in the middle of California? Or, is this the reason you wish to attend University X because it is so different? Spell it out. It is important to make sure an Admissions Committee sees that you took the time to understand their university and how you will fit into the campus and academic culture. Ultimately answer this – why you are choosing that school?

Sarah ContomichalosManagerEducational Advisory Services, LLC

The Essay

The essay is the applicant’s opportunity to speak directly to the admissions committee. My advice does not differ for international students. On Common App. chose “topic of your choice” and then come up with a topic that is meaningful and unique to you. You are not expected to be a Nobel Prize winner as senior in high school. Rather, admissions officers are looking into how you think and your character. At a conference, I heard the Admissions Director of Swarthmore say that the best essay she received was about baking a cake. Use specific examples to illustrate your points and use active rather than passive verbs. Each student has a story to tell and this is the time and place.

Dr. Stabile

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

The college essay is very important and provides you with an opportunity to persuade the admissions officer you are worthy of admission. I recommend the following steps to assist you in writing a persuasive essay. First of all, you must answer the question posed by the university. Be original, and be yourself. Write a strong introduction, and transition to the body of your essay and explain in more detail and make sure the paragraphs are related. Finally, your conclusion should not be a summary since the essay is rather short (usually 500 words), but linking your conclusion to the introduction. Most importantly, be natural in your expression. In the process of reviewing your essay revise and delete what is not related to your main argument.

Darla Andrews

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

Write an essay that will portray a “picture” of you and will make you stand out from other applicants. Be sure to have a teacher, preferably an English teacher, proofread the essay before you submit it.

Jean Marie Buckley, M.Ed, MPA, CEPPresidentBuckley Educational Group, LLC

Composing and ethical and authentic college admission essay

Applying to college and integrating into university life is daunting for any individual. The college essay provides the reader with the context of the application. As an application reader for the University of California at Berkeley, I have had the firsthand knowledge of the power of the essay. The voice of the student, the authenticity of their experiences, the innocence and excitement of the unknown are all facets of a strong essay. The essay must convey a supportive voice for the components of the application and must support the choices a student has made throughout their high school life. Admission decisions are made based on the human element. This human element is conveyed through academic, objective data, activities and then culminating in the writing. The college essay brings life and breath to the application. My advice? Write a tremendous amount, edit and redraft. Great writing comes with time and slowly synthesizing the information.

Jonathan DunnDirectorCreative College Counseling, LLC

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

International students should follow the same guidelines as domestic students when writing college essays. The essay is the one part of an application that is not data driven. It is an opportunity for students to show who they are and what they stand for. Admisssions offices want to hear a story, they want to know about you as an individual. What attributes do you bring to a college coommunity? What are those great traits you have? Why should a college want to choose YOU over someone else with your same grades, courses and SAT scores? Don’t just say that you have certain attributes, tell stores about yourself that demonstrate these attributes.

Saroj Jagernauth

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

Essays to a selection panel will reflect your passion, mission, vision, and goals for your education. Your essay needs to be very clear, and very informative. In addition, I would urge the candidate to give specifics that demonstrate your ability, ability to overcome challenges, problem solve- and survive away from home.

Anne RichardsonDirector of College Counseling, International & ESL ProgramsKents Hill School

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

The most important part of the essay is that it is a window into who you are. The essay has to be authentically you – about you and written by you. Many international students are prompted to write about why they want to study in America; that is not always the best idea. What is better is to write about something that really interests you, that you are passionate about, that shows a piece of you that is not apparent anywhere else in the application. So write about yourself – and remember that college admissions officers want an essay written by and about you!

Lisa BlakeHead School CounselorPhoenix Christian Unified Sch

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

The key for any student, especially an International student, is allowing your unique “voice” to permeate the essay. Yes, make sure your grammar is accurate and your sentence structure is appropriate BUT more importantly, is revealing your uniqueness as a student. If you’re crazy about shoes and want to be a designer, write about it! If you have an incredible love for food and travel, write about your experiences. What did it look like? How did the food taste? How did it make you feel? Are you passionate about the environment? Give examples of how you’ve tried to influence your family, school, community. Have you overcome any life obstacles? The loss of a parent, a hearing impairment, a learning disability, ect…

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

be yourself and write your own essay

How to write essay for college admissions if you are a student from China? It is no secret that the majority of Chinese students did not write their essay for college admissions. They are either write by professionals employed by Chinese agencies or copied and pasted from the internet. A lot of college admissions actually discounted college essays for Chinese students. That is the law for both parties. For one thing, there are many Chinese students perfectly capable of writing their own essays. On the other hand, college admissions for not taking advantage of getting to get to know the student personally in addition to the academic records. Not until recently I had opportunity to browse around some of the social networks in china. I got to see a lot of students posted comments and opinions specifically regarding the most recent train crash accident in china. Those comments and opinions are highly thoughtful, logic, and has very good foundations. I can see them using the same approach for their essay and I’m pretty sure they can write a first-class essay to impress the college admissions. The challenges and difficulties that Chinese students write their own essay is not just limited to how and what materials to use but also related to the traditional way of thinking for a typical Chinese students. They were told to keep their opinions to themselves, that were not allowed to free and express their opinions in the classroom, they knew that their parents were not allowed to express their opinions to the Chinese society. Therefore it is hard for them to gain perspectives and learn how to take a position from an academic environment to the Chinese society as a whole. Another challenge for the Chinese students is the difference in expressions between western culture and eastern culture since they never had the opportunity to write essays as part of their academic requirements in school with the same type of format that are required for college essay. Chinese students are totally rely on the Chinese agencies to do it for them. If the students have received appropriate training and instructions it can become an experience for them to write a first-class essay. For example, there is nothing wrong for them to write their essay in Chinese first and then translate it into English. And if they have a tutor to work with them throughout the process, the students may actually learn how to write in English as the first lesson before they come to the United States for college. It is a great opportunity for the Chinese students not only to introduce themselves appropriately to the college admissions but also produce additional information that are important for the college to consider. Ivy counselors network provide Apply Direct services plus optional services so if the Chinese students decide to apply directly to US colleges and universities, they can use our tools to help them as guidance and therefore submit a first class essay as needed. College essay is considered a very considered piece for highly selective colleges as part of the requirement for college admissions. Chinese students should take advantage of such opportunity to promote themselves, to introduce themselves and to persuade colleges that they are the right students applying to the right school. It is also a great learning experience for the Chinese students because once they are accepted into US colleges they are going to find out writing is a major component for them to get their college degrees, not the multiple choice questions that they expect. By submitting a first class essay that gain attention from the college admissions office, we set the Chinese students applications apart from the rest of them that used agency services with a fraudulent college essay. How to write essay for college admissions if you are a student from China? It is no secret that the majority of Chinese students do not write their own essay for college admissions. The essays are either written by professionals employed by Chinese agencies or copied and pasted from the internet. A lot of college admissions actually discount college essays for Chinese students. That is the law for both parties. For one thing, there are many Chinese students perfectly capable of writing their own essays. On the other hand, college admissions are at a disadvantage for not taking advantage of getting to know the student personally in addition to the academic records. Not until recently I had the opportunity to browse around some of the social networks in China. I got to see a lot of students posting comments and opinions specifically regarding the most recent train crash accident in China. Those comments and opinions were highly thoughtful, logical, and had very good foundations. I can see them using the same approach for their essay and I’m pretty sure they can write a first-class essay to impress the college admissions. The challenges and difficulties that Chinese students write their own essay is not just limited to how and what materials to use but also related to the traditional way of thinking for a typical Chinese students. They were told to keep their opinions to themselves, that they were not allowed to freely express their opinions in the classroom, and they knew that their parents were not allowed to express their opinions to the Chinese society as well. Therefore it is hard for them to gain perspectives and learn how to take a position from an academic environment to the Chinese society as a whole. Another challenge for the Chinese students is the difference in expressions between Western and Eastern culture since they never had the opportunity to write essays as part of their academic requirements in school with the same type of format required for college essays. Chinese students are totally relying on the Chinese agencies to do it for them. If the students have received appropriate training and instructions, it can become an experience for them to write a first-class essay. For example, there is nothing wrong for them to write their essay in Chinese first and then translate it into English. If they have a tutor to work with them throughout the process, the students may actually learn how to write in English as their first lesson before they come to the United States for college. It is a great opportunity for the Chinese students not only to introduce themselves appropriately to the college admissions but also produce additional information that are important for the college to consider. Ivy counselors network provide Apply Direct services plus optional services so if the Chinese students decide to apply directly to US colleges and universities, they can use our tools to help them as guidance and therefore submit a first-class essay as needed. College essays are a very considered piece for highly selective colleges as part of the requirement for college admissions. Chinese students should take advantage of such opportunity to promote themselves, to introduce themselves and to persuade colleges that they are the right students applying to the right school. It is also a great learning experience for the Chinese students because once they are accepted into US colleges, they are going to find out that writing is a major component for them to get their college degrees, not the multiple choice questions that they expect. By submitting a first class essay that gains attention from the college admissions office, we set the Chinese students applications apart from the rest of them that used agency services with a fraudulent college essay.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

be yourself and write your own essay

The biggest non-secret in college admissions for Chinese students is that they did not author their admissions essay. Instead, professionals employed by Chinese agencies often write these for their student clients or students copy and paste essays from samples they find on the internet. As a result, many colleges discounts the college essays received from Chinese students. This is problematic for two reasons. The act of writing an essay for admissions can help students organize their thoughts, spark introspection and focus their attention correctly on college fit. For colleges, admissions essays can provide a valuable glimpse into the student’s psyche and fit to the school. I recently had an opportunity to browse some of the social networks in China and was impressed by the thoughtful, logical and on-point comments posted by students on a train crash in China. I wonder what would happen if these students put as much thought and efforts into writing their college admissions essay? The challenges and difficulties that Chinese students write their own essay is not just limited to how and what materials to use but also related to the traditional way of thinking for a typical Chinese students. They were told to keep their opinions to themselves, that were not allowed to free and express their opinions in the classroom, they knew that their parents were not allowed to express their opinions to the Chinese society. Therefore it is hard for them to gain perspectives and learn how to take a position from an academic environment to the Chinese society as a whole. Another challenge for the Chinese students is the difference in expressions between western culture and eastern culture since they lack opportunities to write essays as part of their academic requirements in a format similar to what is required in a college admissions essay. Instead, Chinese students rely on the Chinese agencies to do it for them. If s students receive appropriate training and opportunities to write their own essays, it would provide another valuable tool to determine college fit. For example, there is nothing wrong for them to write their essay in Chinese first and then translate it into English. And if they have a tutor to work with them throughout the process, the students may actually learn how to write in English as the first lesson before they come to the United States for college. It is a great opportunity for the Chinese students not only to introduce themselves appropriately to the college admissions but also produce additional information that are important for the college to consider. This is the reason why Ivy counselors network provide Apply Direct services plus optional services so if the Chinese students decide to apply directly to US colleges and universities, including essay writing coaching services. Students can use our tools to help them as guidance and therefore submit a first class essay as needed. College essay is considered a very considered piece for highly selective colleges as part of the requirement for college admissions. Chinese students should take advantage of such opportunity to promote themselves, to introduce themselves and to persuade colleges that they are the right students applying to the right school. It is also a great learning experience for the Chinese students because once they are accepted into US colleges they are going to find out writing is a major component for them to get their college degrees, not the multiple choice questions that they expect. By submitting a first class essay that gain attention from the college admissions office, we set the Chinese students applications apart from the rest of them that used agency services with a fraudulent college essay. How to write essay for college admissions if you are a student from China? It is no secret that the majority of Chinese students do not write their own essay for college admissions. The essays are either written by professionals employed by Chinese agencies or copied and pasted from the internet. A lot of college admissions actually discount college essays for Chinese students. That is the law for both parties. For one thing, there are many Chinese students perfectly capable of writing their own essays. On the other hand, college admissions are at a disadvantage for not taking advantage of getting to know the student personally in addition to the academic records. Not until recently I had the opportunity to browse around some of the social networks in China. I got to see a lot of students posting comments and opinions specifically regarding the most recent train crash accident in China. Those comments and opinions were highly thoughtful, logical, and had very good foundations. I can see them using the same approach for their essay and I’m pretty sure they can write a first-class essay to impress the college admissions. The challenges and difficulties that Chinese students write their own essay is not just limited to how and what materials to use but also related to the traditional way of thinking for a typical Chinese students. They were told to keep their opinions to themselves, that they were not allowed to freely express their opinions in the classroom, and they knew that their parents were not allowed to express their opinions to the Chinese society as well. Therefore it is hard for them to gain perspectives and learn how to take a position from an academic environment to the Chinese society as a whole. Another challenge for the Chinese students is the difference in expressions between Western and Eastern culture since they never had the opportunity to write essays as part of their academic requirements in school with the same type of format required for college essays. Chinese students are totally relying on the Chinese agencies to do it for them. If the students have received appropriate training and instructions, it can become an experience for them to write a first-class essay. For example, there is nothing wrong for them to write their essay in Chinese first and then translate it into English. If they have a tutor to work with them throughout the process, the students may actually learn how to write in English as their first lesson before they come to the United States for college. It is a great opportunity for the Chinese students not only to introduce themselves appropriately to the college admissions but also produce additional information that are important for the college to consider. Ivy counselors network provide Apply Direct services plus optional services so if the Chinese students decide to apply directly to US colleges and universities, they can use our tools to help them as guidance and therefore submit a first-class essay as needed. College essays are a very considered piece for highly selective colleges as part of the requirement for college admissions. Chinese students should take advantage of such opportunity to promote themselves, to introduce themselves and to persuade colleges that they are the right students applying to the right school. It is also a great learning experience for the Chinese students because once they are accepted into US colleges, they are going to find out that writing is a major component for them to get their college degrees, not the multiple choice questions that they expect. By submitting a first class essay that gains attention from the college admissions office, we set the Chinese students applications apart from the rest of them that used agency .

Eileen Ed.D.Associate DirectorEducational Directions, Inc.

Who are you?

The college application essay is all about you. It opens a window into you as a person, and helps admissions folks get to know you. After all, many applicants to their school have similar grades, extra curricular activities, and so on. The essay says “Here I am!” and fills in some needed gaps, especially for international students who may not be able to come to the U.S. to interview. To write an effective interview, think of something you want the admissions folks to know about you. It is not the topic that matters as much as it is the manner in which you convey your ideas. Some essays are serious, some humorous;, some tell about family histories, some about a teacher; some tell about a hobby or area of interest; some tell about a life changing event. You decide first what it is you want the admissions folks to know, and that will drive your topic. And stay focused! Don’t stray into other areas once you make your decision about your topic. After writing your essay, you will want someone to read it over to check for errors, but also for consistency.

Dalia Singleton Wimberly, M.Ed.Owner/Educational ConsultantRaeBrown Consulting

College Essays for Internationals

Writing a college essay as an international student is very similar to the process a US student would have. Regardless of you citizenship, colleges are looking for essays that show who you are, tell about what’s important to you and what makes you unique. In many ways, international students may have an advantage in this category of the admissions process since your experiences will likely be very different from many US students. The most important thing is to allow plenty of time for writing and re-writing and to get feedback from a trusted friend, teacher or parent. Outstanding essays take months, not days!

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

be yourself and write your own essay

The biggest non-secret in college admissions for Chinese students is that they did not author their admissions essay. Instead, professionals employed by Chinese agencies often write these for their student clients or students copy and paste essays from samples they find on the internet. As a result, many colleges discounts the college essays received from Chinese students. This is problematic for two reasons. The act of writing an essay for admissions can help students organize their thoughts, spark introspection and focus their attention correctly on college fit. For colleges, admissions essays can provide a valuable glimpse into the student’s psyche and fit to the school. I recently had an opportunity to browse some of the social networks in China and was impressed by the thoughtful, logical and on-point comments posted by students on a train crash in China. I wonder what would happen if these students put as much thought and efforts into writing their college admissions essay? The challenges and difficulties that Chinese students write their own essay is not just limited to how and what materials to use but also related to the traditional way of thinking for a typical Chinese students. They were told to keep their opinions to themselves, that were not allowed to free and express their opinions in the classroom, they knew that their parents were not allowed to express their opinions to the Chinese society. Therefore it is hard for them to gain perspectives and learn how to take a position from an academic environment to the Chinese society as a whole. Another challenge for the Chinese students is the difference in expressions between western culture and eastern culture since they lack opportunities to write essays as part of their academic requirements in a format similar to what is required in a college admissions essay. Instead, Chinese students rely on the Chinese agencies to do it for them. If s students receive appropriate training and opportunities to write their own essays, it would provide another valuable tool to determine college fit. For example, there is nothing wrong for them to write their essay in Chinese first and then translate it into English. And if they have a tutor to work with them throughout the process, the students may actually learn how to write in English as the first lesson before they come to the United States for college. It is a great opportunity for the Chinese students not only to introduce themselves appropriately to the college admissions but also produce additional information that are important for the college to consider. This is the reason why Ivy counselors network provide Apply Direct services plus optional services so if the Chinese students decide to apply directly to US colleges and universities, including essay writing coaching services. Students can use our tools to help them as guidance and therefore submit a first class essay as needed. College essay is considered a very considered piece for highly selective colleges as part of the requirement for college admissions. Chinese students should take advantage of such opportunity to promote themselves, to introduce themselves and to persuade colleges that they are the right students applying to the right school. It is also a great learning experience for the Chinese students because once they are accepted into US colleges they are going to find out writing is a major component for them to get their college degrees, not the multiple choice questions that they expect. By submitting a first class essay that gain attention from the college admissions office, we set the Chinese students applications apart from the rest of them that used agency services with a fraudulent college essay.

Pamela Hampton-GarlandOwnerScholar Bound

College Admission Essays

Remember that colleges do not read your essays based on your nationality; they read them to get a written picture of you. I do mean a picture in words. Therefore use the approach in your essay known as “show don’t tell” rather than telling them the answer to the question which often times can be a simple one liner and leave you feeling like you have to feel the rest of the essay with “fluff”, answer the questions using images of what you see or saw and help them to see the same thing. Remember after thousands of essays it is nice to read a compelling decription of unknown exploits and adventures or ideas. Capture their attention, don’t merely answer the question.

Shawna MyersCounselorHigh School, Portland , OR

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

When writing a college admission essay, make sure to have someone proofread your essay before turning it in. Be sure to speak clearly, be concise, no spelling or grammatical errors, and be honest.

Woodrow DunnAcademic CounselorFreedom High School

Effective college admissions essay

1. Allow plenty of time 2. Make yourself appear to be a likeable person. 3. Demonstrate the story within you! 4. Make sure your essay demonstrates some conflict and is actually coming from your life! 5. Proofread it at least three times.

Rebecca JosephExecutive Director & Foundergetmetocollege.org

Tell a powerful story, a true, self-written powerful story

Many international students hire people to write their essays. That is a major mistake as colleges can smell adult written essays. So international students need to write an essay that matches their English writing skills as revealed by the TOEFL or SAT. These essays serve to show your writing and your life experiences. More importantly, international students need to reveal some core qualities that will show admissions officers how you will contribute to campuses. So focus on an activity or an experience that enables you to demonstrate your leadership and initiative. Please talk about recent experiences and please tell only stories that are true. Follow our into, through, and beyond approach and tell a story that makes you pop off the page.

Kristin

Essay for International Students

Write the essay following the prompt and have family members, teachers, or counselors proofread it for you to ensure you’re answering the question correctly and that it is written gramatically correct.

Ted SkowronCounselorBrophy College Preparatory

be honest

The goal is writing an effective admission essay is to represent yourself in writing and highlight your interests, talents, drives/ambitions; therefore “be yourself”. The essay should tell the reader information about yourself that makes you stand out from the crowd so consider choosing those things that make you unique. Put attention to detail as well, meaning that the essay should be well structured with theme and topic sentences.

Annie ReznikCounselor/CEOCollege Guidance Coach

Recommended, Not Required

First, check with individual colleges for requirements regarding interviews. If interviews are optional, it is a great idea for international students to connect directly and personally with a representative from the institution. Most colleges and universities will accommodate students for interviews through web-based video chat or through phone appointments. While, I highly recommend an interview, do not worry that you will negatively impact the likelihood of by passing on the option.

Jill RaySchool Counselor

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

College essay writing is simple – be honest, engaging, set the tone and proofread! Don’t let someone else write your essay for you – this is the best way get your personality across to the admissions counselors. As long as it’s from the heart and sincere. you shouldn’t have a problem.

Susan KarasekGuidance CounselorEstrella Foothills High School

How do I write an effective college admissions essay?

Writing an effective admissions essay is an important step in the college application process and allows the colleges to get to know you as a student. Websites such as CollegeBoard.org are a free useful resource for students. Make sure to read the prompt to know what the college is wanting to know about you. Stay focused on the question, prove what you have done with details about specific events, and be specific. The colleges can use your essay to determine admissions, honors colleges, and private scholarships. Ask those who know you to proof-read your essay.

Tara Brown

Getting to know YOU

A student’s college essay is really an opportunity to let colleges know a bit more about that student personally. Thus, students should take great care when drafting their essays to highlight what they will add to a college and its community. It is a chance to set a student apart from his/her peers. For international students, that level of importance is even higher, as the essay may be the only chance for a student to demonstrate the positive attributes that they will bring to the table.

Mark GathercoleUniversity AdvisorIndependent University Advising

Be yourself, not who you think they want you to be.

The guidelines for writing the essay are no different for international students than for anyone else: Be genuine, write from your own experience, and use your own words. An effective essay is one that allows an admissions person to get to know you better. You don’t have to write an “important” essay – just one that offers a glimpse of who you are.

Connie Boger

College Admissions Essay

The essays are designed as a way for the admissions committee to get to know your personality apart from your numbers. Just be yourself, write about what you know and make sure someone proofreads it before you submit it.

Kristina DooleyIndependent Educational ConsultantEstrela Consulting

Think, Be Yourself, Proof…and Proof Again

Writing an effective college admissions essay is one of the most difficult tasks an international students faces when completing their college applications. Not only are you required to write something in your second language (or maybe your third or fourth!), but you also have to do this within character or word-count limitations. These two things often make it difficult for an international student to effectively get their message across in an essay. The important thing to remember is that the purpose of an essay, in most cases, is for the admission committee to get to know you, to hear your voice. Because of this your essay should sound like YOU, not like your English teacher or your parents. Keep in mind that admission committees have many applications to review and limited amounts of time (hence the word-count limits) so you should be concise and to the point in your writing. Finally, make sure you proofread your essay for grammatical errors and also for content. It’s alright to have a teacher, parent, or college counselor review your work but keep in mind that they should not make major changes or write any part of your essay.

David AllenManaging DirectorGlobal College Counselors Ltd

Big Question

This is a HUGE question. Many applications have specific questions they want answered, choose the one you think you can answer best. It is best here to focus in on a specific thing/event/person in your own life and go into details about how that/they has/have affected your life/character/academics. Write from the heart and make sure that the way you are writing makes the essay sound like you talking- get a friend to read it, not for content but for voice. Never, never, get anything from the net – everyone has similarity detection software nowadays!

Nina BerlerFounderunCommon Apps

Effective Essays: A Challenge for All Students

Some students are natural writers and welcome the challenge of the college admissions essay. For so many, however, the process can be filled with uncertainty or even anxiety. International students have the benefit of some very interesting experiences and motivation that can add spark to their essays; however, they also face some of the same challenges as writers from any location. Here’s what I advise students as they develop their essays. First of all, be yourself. Don’t try to write in any type of tone that could be a turnoff to the reader. If you have a topic or experience that is uniquely yours, you have the potential for an interesting and memorable essay. Use active rather than passive language. Grab the reader’s interest in the beginning, and leave him or her thinking about you at the close. During your school years, you may have had teachers who discouraged you from writing in the first person; this essay is the absolute exception. As an international students may have had powerful influences and role models in your life who drove you to apply to college in the United States. However, the college essay, known as the Personal Essay on the Common Application, is about you. Colleges don’t need to hear too much about someone or something else; what they want to know is the effect on you. One thing I always tell students is that there is no need to have a serious essay; in fact, many admissions officers say how much they welcome something light and fun. If you are are a very strong student, stay away from writing about school.

Tyler BurtonPresident Burton College Tours

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

Admissions officers would like to learn about you as a person. Craft an essay that does not brag. Tell a story about yourself that is personal and descriptive. What do you like to do on a Saturday or how did you learn a great lesson in life when you helped your young neighbor learn how to tie her show? Do not write about your list of accomplishments, you have already made a list on another part of your application. The most important aspect of your personal essay is that it needs to be written by you. If you have someone help you too much with your essay then the admissions officers will know that you did not write the essay. They are experts at spotting essays that are untrue.

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

Writing a compelling and memorable college admissions essay is no different for an international student than it is for a U.S. student. Be yourself and tell us a story that only you can tell. While you don’t need to reveal any deep, dark secrets, you do need to show admissions officers the human being behind the GPA and the test scores. Basically — write about the topic in which you are the expert — that is, YOU! You don’t need to search high and low for a totally unique topic — just tell us something about your feelings, perspectives, and observations in your experience. Use lots of details to draw the reader into your story, and don’t worry about using “big” and “fancy” words. A compelling essay that is genuinely from the heart doesn’t need to rely on SAT-type vocabulary.

Don Tamminga

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

That is a pretty broad question…write it like you would any essay. Use an outline, have an intorductory paragraph and a concluding paragraph and orgainze your thoughts well before composing.

Nicholas Umphrey

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

This is where you have a distinct advantage when applying to colleges in the United States. Most colleges and universities look for diversity on their campus. Any student from any part of the world applying to colleges must approach the essay with one purpose in mind. To show the admissions committee what makes you unique. Tell them in 250-500 words what unique traits you will bring to their student body as a student and as a person. As a student, they have hard data (grades, test scores, recommendations, etc) to size you up. As a person, talk about your hobbies, your passions, and how this could apply to their school.

Helen Cella

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

Tell your story from your heart

Claire Law

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

You would write the same way a US student does. Tell the reader something interesting about yourself that isn’t already reflected on your application. International students have the advantage of bringing new and different experiences to the college community. I used to read essays from international students and found that when they wrote about themselves and their country they made a compelling statement. Write about something small, something that you would want someone to know about you.

Annie ReznikCounselor/CEOCollege Guidance Coach

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

For US institutions, content is more important than grammar proficiency in a personal statement. College admission offices seek a unique, authentic perspective of a student. If you would like specific advice for writing your essay, I recommend that you visit the Purdue Online Writing Lab which has a host of resources for brainstorming, writing and revising a personal statement.

Mr C CoakleyPresidentAcademic Coaching Services

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

First, write the essay yourself. US colleges and universities and experienced a rash of “generic” essays during the past few years. To write a strong essay, write clearly about…yourself. When seeking to admit any student, including students from abroad, American universities seek interesting and vibrant applicants. Basically, I want to know, from your essay, if I would want to hang out with you outside of the classroom as well as work with you within one. Discuss your passions, intellectual interests, hobbies, creative abilities, or any other subject that describes more of your own motivations, dreams, or personality. Tell us stories. This is not a research paper, so don’t make your essay sound like one! Sometimes, I tell my students to write the essay as a blog or journal entry to their friends; then clean it up to make it something adults will want to read, too! Have fun and enjoy!

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

Your numbers are your numbers, but you’re a unique individual. Write about your life experiences, travel, etc., and especially how a 4-year education at XYZ will benefit you. Be specific in naming names, and you’re sure to enhance your chances of getting in.

Kathleen HarringtonOwnerNew Jersey College Consulting

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

It is imperative that an applicants essay answers the question that is being asked of him/her in the most authentic way possible. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, many applicants approach the essay thinking more about what they believe admissions counselors want to hear than the actual question itself. This is the one part of the application that will tell your story. A high school transcript and standardized test scores tell one story. You took these courses, you got these grades. You took this test, you got this score. The essay is your opportunity to share your voice, your vision, your potential. Some things to keep in mind… 1. Follow directions. 500 words means 500 words. 2. Proofread, Proofread, and then when you have time Proofread again 3. Share you essay with a friend and/or teacher and ask for feedback 4. Answer the question thoroughly. For example, ff the essay asks you to write about a person in your life who influenced you and how they did, make sure at the end of the essay, an admissions representative knows more about you than the person you chose to write about. Remember this is YOUR application, not the person who has influenced you. 5. Be sure you type your essay and include any application number that you may have received 6. Keep in mind that your short answer questions(if applicable) are also important components to your application. The short answer questions should be given the same amount of time and attention as your essay. Remember, all parts of your application count!

adam baerWriter and Editor for Top National Magazines, Websites, and Newspapers

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

Hire tutors and/or teachers with specific experience writing and assessing these essays in English. This is crucial if you’re concerned about your writing ability.

Dr. Bruce NeimeyerCEO/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

Your application essay would be assess no differently than a nationals application essay. However, there would probably be more attention given to your grammar skills than a US student whether the admissions office cares to admit it or not. To write effectively, you should first consider the essay question. Make sure you understand all the parts of the question to that each may be addressed in the essay. Decide on the order in which they should appear or if some of the parts could be combined in your answer. Write an effective paragraph for each part of the essay. Then go back and create an introductory paragraph which introduces your essay and gives a brief scenario of what is to come in the following essay paragraphs. In the final paragraph you would want to conclude with a statement that ties all the pieces of your answer together. Those are the basic steps that I lead students through and it helps to make for a more effective essay.

Karen Ekman-BaurDirector of College CounselingLeysin American School

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

Tips for writing an effective college admissions essay are essentially the same for all students. You will want to reveal to the admissions officers more about yourself, your interests, your values, and what is important to you than what they can find in the numbers and statistics that make up most of the rest of the application. Remember that admissions officers will be reading large numbers of essays, and you will want to create an essay that will stand out in the interesting way it is formulated, as well as in its unique subject matter. You definitely don’t want to put the readers to sleep! As an international student, you will surely have had certain life experiences which will provide interesting material for your essay(s) – even things which you yourself take for granted. Consider how the story you have to tell would be perceived by someone from a different culture or with different life experiences. Write analytically, rather than merely descriptively. Descriptive writing is a factual account of a topic or event, simply telling what happened. Analytical writing will pose or answer questions, make comparisons, or present and defend viewpoints. Rather than just state what happened, an analytical approach will explain and interpret events. Why did they take place? What were their consequences? How did they relate to other developments? What is your interpretation of what transpired? How do/did you feel about the topic about which you are writing? Finally, make sure that the essay does not have glaring errors in spelling, sentence structure, and paragraph formulation. In fact, try to make it as correct as possible. Besides appearing very careless, these kinds of errors can actually interfere with the ability of the reader to understand your point. It will be helpful if you have other people whose opinion you value read the essay to give you feedback on areas that might not be clear or which require further explanation, but make sure that the essay remains in your own “voice”.

Ryan JohnSchool CounselorBethlehem High School

I am an international student applicant, how do I write an effective college admissions essay?

You will want to make sure you have it proofread by several sources (i.e. a language teacher, counselor etc.) to ensure you are using the correct punctuation and usage of the language. Your essay should be an interesting read, as you experience as an international student is unique and should naturally offer great depth and intrigue for the admissions staff. If you write about your international experience, carefully plan out which facet of this experience you want to detail (i.e. the cultural adjustments, the language barrier etc.) and make sure you go into great detail so as to best allow the admissions staff visualize your day-to-day experiences.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Pay Attention to What they Ask For in an Essay

Short Answer: The same way an American student should write an effective college admissions essay: Pay attention to what the college or university wants to see in your essay…and don’t submit one if they don’t want one. Detailed Answer: Here’s some background before I get to the answer you are looking for… They are looking at your grades and your language skills. The essay tells them nothing about your language skills, because any student — international or American — can have someone else write their essay, or they can purchase it from someone off the Internet, so they know that the essay may not be a very good means of learning about your ability to perform academically. The essay is important only if the institution stresses the importance of it. The fact is, if your grades and board scores are excellent, they probably won’t even look at your essay or letters of recommendation. As a result of this fact and because of financial pressure, many institutions are moving toward automatic “review” of applications. In other words, there is an algorithm on the backend (the same data that enabled the college to automatically begin communicating with you as soon as your PSAT scores became available) that crunches your numbers – SAT/ACT, GPA, RIC) and decides whether you are in or out. This means that your entire relationship with a college has been via a machine; no one knows who you are or that you even exist – except as a number the institution can manipulate to its advantage. Now, if the machine says you are “out,” the admissions staff will begin to look more closely at the eliminated applications and admit/deny these students until the admissions department reaches its enrollment goals. At that point, the admissions officers may be searching for more information about you, such as explanations of grade anomalies. They may find this information in your essay or in your letters or recommendation, or in a letter that you include with your application. The most important point to remember is this: If the institution stresses an essay or a personal statement, pay VERY CLOSE ATTENTION to what they request of that essay or personal statement. In other words, if you write a generic essay to send to all your college search choices, and it is clear to the admissions officer reading your essay that you have not paid attention to what they wanted to see in the essay (subject, length, structure, etc.), your application will be denied simply because it is clear that 1) you cannot follow instructions or 2) you didn’t care enough about applying to their institution to follow their instructions. And they will be right on both counts. For example, if you look at the Purdue application this year, they offer three choices of essay topics, each one carefully considered to allow different types of students to write something that matters to them. This presentation of their essay request shows that they DO value the essay, and if you want to get into Purdue – and especially if your grades and board scores aren’t stellar – then you’d better pay attention to this part of the application. Other institutions, such as Indiana University-Bloomington (which has one of the largest international student bodies in the U.S.), specifically state that they do not want to receive essays – so if you submit an essay, this also shows that you cannot follow directions. The major reason for an institution to not request an essay is that essay-reading slows down the application review process. They don’t want admissions officers reading essays when those officers can simply be crunching through the numbers on applications and making their decisions based solely on a student’s past successes or challenges – which is why it’s so important to do well in high school from 9th grade through 11th grade. The fact is that most admissions decisions are based on 8th-11th grade trends; they only look to senior grades at the end to ensure that you continued strongly and didn’t get “senioritis.” One more point about essays: A seasoned admissions officer can tell if you’ve written the essay yourself; if your Mom or Dad wrote it; or if you bought it off the Internet. We’d rather see errors in the writing of a wonderful and unique essay than perfect writing in a boring, uninformative essay (or in an essay that does not pertain to what has been requested.) But you would be wise to have whatever you’ve written be proofread: Spell check won’t cut it; it has to be a human being.