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?

Shawna Myers
Counselor High 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.

Jill Ray
School 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 Karasek
Guidance Counselor Estrella 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.

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.

Sarah Contomichalos
Manager Educational 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.

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.

Lisa Blake
Head School Counselor Phoenix 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...

Anne Richardson
Director of College Counseling, International & ESL Programs Kents 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!

Dalia Singleton Wimberly, M.Ed.
Owner/Educational Consultant RaeBrown 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!