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How to Write a Foolproof College Application Essay

Most college essays are so full of crap you could plant a forest in them. Don’t be a forest-enabling loser; write an essay that reads right and rings true.


  • Step 1: What makes you unique Think about what makes you unique. You want to pick a subject that no other applicant could possibly write about.
  • TIP: It could be your background—maybe you grew up as the only child of two acrobats. Or it could be a personal experience, the more unusual the better.
  • Step 2: Ask friends & relatives Ask friends and relatives what makes you special. This could be embarrassing, especially if they don’t respond, but it could also help you identify something you hadn’t considered.
  • Step 3: Write first draft Once you’ve picked a subject, write a first draft of your essay. Don’t worry about making it perfect—just get your thoughts on paper.
  • TIP: Avoid gimmicks—admissions officers have seen them all. For example, don’t write your essay from the perspective of your dog.
  • Step 4: Read over essay Read over your essay. Then read it again aloud—does it sound like you? Cut out any unnecessary paragraphs, sentences, and adverbs.
  • Step 5: Find editors Find a couple good editors. English teachers, relatives—anyone whose opinion you trust and who will be honest about what does and does not work.
  • Step 6: Make revisions Make the revisions you agree with and, when you’re done, review your essay carefully for spelling and grammar mistakes. An otherwise perfect essay can be ruined by sloppy typos.Now send it off and relax… nobody will be planting a forest in your crap.
  • FACT: The athletic teams of the North Carolina School for the Arts are known as The Fighting Pickles.

You Will Need

  • Time to think and write
  • Pen and paper
  • or a computer
  • Somebody you trust

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