One of the biggest challenges every high school senior will have to take on at the end of their high school education is writing their college application letter. The experience is incredibly stressful, because their entire future depends on a single letter that will be read by the application board members. And colleges aren’t helping either, because they tend to ask questions which range from generic to downright bizarre, of even humorous in some cases. So, while the way you will write your application letter depends on the college you want to go to, there are still some general guidelines which you can apply to every application letter.

We have selected the following 8:

  1. Brainstorm

    Running with the first idea that pops into your head when trying to write your college application letter is not the best way to approach things. We recommend having a brainstorming session during which you will focus on your biggest strengths and how to present yourself in the best possible light. After that, you will have plenty of different ideas to choose from.

  2. Don’t Try to Make Your First Draft Perfect

    Most students try to finish writing their application letter on their first attempt, but it’s not about getting there first, since this is not a race, but about getting it right and getting acceptedinto college of your choice. Just start writing, and don’t fret too much about if it’s not ideal or even good. The idea is to get your writing juices flowing, and then edit later.

  3. Make Them Realize How Smart You Are

    Even though attending college is about more than just studying and earning your degree, it is still the most important goal. Focus on showcasing your intellectual skills and your knowledge and use your application letter as a means of demonstrating that. After all, they accept candidates based on their intellectual capacities, not how much beer they can chug.

  4. Be Short and to the Point

    Although there is no upper limit in terms of word count for application letters, be mindful of the fact that admissions officers will often have to through hundreds of different letters during the application process. You want them to be able to read yours without getting bored and throwing it away, which is why you should aim to keep it under 700 words.

  5. Don’t Exaggerate

    Focusing on your strengths is great, but going over the top and exaggerating the truth should be avoided at all costs, because it only takes a few minutes for the admissions officer nowadays to check if everything what you’ve listed on your application letter is true. Be honest and make that work in your favor.

  6. Show Them You Are a Person

    Since your college application letter will be among hundreds of other letters, the key is to make yourself personable, and not just a another name. Most students, however, forget about the fact that they’re just teenagers, and start writing a letter which is safe, bland, and generic, and speaks very little about who they are as a person.

  7. Be Provocative

    One of the ways of standing out would be to tackle a sensitive subject, or approach something safe from a creative new angle. Of course, you should always provide arguments and facts to back up your claims, otherwise you will come off as arrogant and insensitive. That being said, college administrators like students which can think for themselves. Be one of them.

  8. Get Feedback on Your Letter

    Once you have went through several drafts and edits and are happy with your college application letter, have somebody else read it. It can a member of your family, a friend, or better yet, your teacher. Hear them out and make changes if they have good ideas.

Applying some of these tips can make the entire ordeal of writing your college application letter a lot less stressful. Don’t rush, and don’t pressure yourself into making it perfect right away. Be yourself and let your personality and talent shine through.