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How to Write a College Essay
Transcript of How to Write a College Essay
Fiction & poetry
Emails & texts
Analysis of literature
Notes in class
The College Essay
Why is a college essay so difficult (and scary)?
*Because your entire life depends on it!
*Strangers are going to be reading your work (Gasp)!
*You've never done anything like this before!
Do I really have to do this?
Tips on Writing the Perfect
Show your writing
skills and creativity.
from the crowd.
Tell your story
Pitt receives around 31,000 applications.
Many applications appear very similar.
Not all students submit an essay.
Shows that you are willing to go above the minimum requirements.
Make the readers cry, laugh, or feel some emotion.
Make the admissions committee care.
Show your skills, talents, passions, and interests.
A place to relay your accomplishments or the lessons you learned from your failures.
Tell us what you've
done and how it
has shaped you
as a person.
Show colleges you
are an achiever.
Are you answering the prompt?
Remember all of the things your English teacher taught you:
Well-defined thesis statement
Support related to thesis
Correct grammar, punctuation, tone, and sentence structure
Are you using proper format?
When is an essay not an essay?
Where do I start?
What are you being asked to do?
Is there a prompt or word limit?
Write about what
Stick to your topic.
The Writing Process
Let others read
and critique your work.
Time to Work!
require an essay,
others only suggest it.
Pitt Short Answer Prompts
How have you overcome failure and what did you learn from it?
How have you exhibited outstanding leadership?
Why is Pitt a good choice for you?
Things first-year students fear about college:
Am I smart enough?
Will my roommate be weird?
Where's my new best friend?
Will I be okay without my folks, my dog, and my car?
How will I deal with peer pressure (for just about everything from dating to practicing religion)?
Where's the money?
The biggest academic worries for first-year students:
#2 was math anxiety
#1 was writing college essays
We all know "college" has two L's in it....
But we receive essays every year with students excited to live in
Spotlight your qualities:
Are you a leader?
name & date of birth in header
page numbers in header
The most effective responses range from 250-500 words in total for all three prompts.