How (Not) to Make Your College Application Essay Stand Out: Top 10 Essay- Killing First Lines
When excellence has become standard, you need to show that you are outstanding right from the start of your essay.
In fact, UCAS, a UK-based company that provides information and admissions services, recently analyzed over 700,000 college application essays to come up with a list of the 10 deadliest first lines.
The most lethal are:
- From a young age I have (always) been (interested in/fascinated by)…
- For as long as I can remember I have (wanted to/wished to be) …
- I am applying to college because … (followed by some cliched form of “I want to make a difference”).
- I have always been interested in… (fill in an academic subject of your choice).
- Throughout my life, I have always enjoyed…(fill in academic subject of your choice).
- Reflecting on my educational experiences, I find that (subject) has always interested me…
- (Nursing/engineering/business/etc.) is a very challenging and demanding (career/course)…
- Academically, I have always been…(strong/eager/passionate)…about (fill in academic subject of your choice).
- I have always wanted to pursue a career in…(fill in the blank).
- I have always been passionate about…(fill in the blank).
BTW, if you’re wondering, number 11 on the list is Nelson Mandela’s shopworn: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
What’s the takeaway here? Your college application essay gives you a chance to show admissions officers how you are different from all the other applicants whose grades and test scores are equally impressive. In fact, your college application essay is the only place in your application where you can show that you are more than all the other SPs and SSs.
And the work of showing how you stand out starts with the very first line of your essay.
Need help writing an outstanding application essay? Call me.
Dr. Osborn works with students from all over the world to help them reach their independent, college, and graduate school goals. Through a personal, one-on-one approach, Dr. Osborn creates an individualized plan for each student based on the student’s strengths, passions, and career aspirations. Her holistic approach helps families of middle school, high school, and college-aged students alleviate stress, avoid confusion, and succeed.