Finalizing and Submitting the Essay: College Admissions Essay Help
Once you have a rough draft of your essay, you're ready to transform it into a polished piece of writing. The polishing process consists of three steps: revising, editing, and proofreading. Bring out the magnifying lens you used to narrow and focus your content; it's needed again.
Revision lets you look at your essay as a whole; pay attention to the main issues involved in its crafting. Have you addressed the topic? Is there a logical flow to your ideas or story? Is each paragraph necessary and properly placed?
Editing brings the magnifying lens closer, allowing you to look closely at words and sentences. Are your word choices appropriate and fresh? Are there any repetitive or awkward sentences or phrases?
Finally, the proofreading step magnifies even closer. You will check each word for errors in spelling, and also correct any other mechanics mistakes, such as grammar and punctuation.
Many writers are tempted to skip the revising, editing, and proofreading steps. They may feel intimidated by the thought of reworking their writing, and hope that their essays are good enough. But this process doesn't have to be difficult. This chapter includes many ideas that you can use to quickly improve the quality of your writing. The bottom line: there is no excuse for submitting a personal statement that is not the very best writing you are capable of.
Revision, meaning to visit or look at again, is the most general reexamination of your essay. The process can seem overwhelming—you need to look at your entire essay with fresh eyes and ears, check to see if you have achieved your goal, and decide if any sections of the essay need improving. There's no need to worry; breaking it down into four parts (one of which simply involves waiting) makes it more manageable:
- Put down your essay and don't look at it for at least one day before revising.
- Read it through once and imagine you're reading it for the first time.
- Note your reactions to the essay and answer the following:
- Does the content of your essay address or match the topic?
- What does your essay say about you? Does it tell the admissions committee something they couldn't have learned from the rest of your application?
- Will your essay help you stand out against those who have similar GPAs, class ranks, and test scores? Is it memorable and interesting?
- Would any reader(s) understand everything you've written, or are some points in need of clarification?
- Is your introduction a good hook that draws the reader into the essay, or should it be eliminated or rewritten?
- Does your writing flow? Does it follow a logical progression with each paragraph and point made in the right place?
- Is your writing personal? Does it sound like you, or could it have been written by someone else?
- Does your conclusion make sense? Does it make a lasting impact or is it just a wrap-up of what you've already said?
- Make any necessary changes, and be willing to add and/or remove writing that isn't working.
- Word processing makes revising easy; make changes, see if they improve the essay, and then save the changes or try again.
- Consider adding colorful anecdotes.
- Remove any unnecessary adjectives.
- Replace ambiguous language with more precise words and phrases.
- Delete anything that is not relevant to and distracts from your point.
- Move paragraphs, sentences, and words if they fit better somewhere else.
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