How to Write College Essay for International Students

How To Write College Essay for International Students

The dream of most international students is to study abroad. While some opt in for the master’s program, others opt-in for the undergraduate program. The undergraduate program is undertaken either at a university or college.

To gain admission into any college, one has to pass a series of exams successfully and submit some documents. Part of the documents required is the college essay. This essay plays a major role in your rejection or being offered admission. Hence, it is an important essay.

Being an important document, applicants have found themselves not knowing where to start and how to write it. This could particularly be worse for international students, hence, the reason for this article.

In this article, we will talk about what a college essay is, the difference between a college essay and a personal statement, and how to write a college essay for international students. Let’s get to it.

What is a College Essay?

A college essay is part of the requirements for college admission. It is an essay written by the applicant, to give the college admission board reasons to be granted an offer of admission.

A college essay focuses on the individual. It is a place where you write about yourself; beyond the transcripts and other certificates that show your academic prowess. It is a place where you let your reader in; into your lifestyle and possibly country. 

What Do You Write in a College Essay?

In your college essay, what you talk about is ‘YOU’. This is the only place where you have the opportunity to write about yourself aside from what your transcripts present you to be. It is a form of psychometric test because it gives the reader an insight into how your mind works and how you respond to situations.

Since it is of great importance in determining how you are perceived, it is then necessary to choose the story you want to talk about carefully.

Having understood the meaning of a college essay and what it’s all about, let’s compare it to a personal statement.

Is College Essay the Same as a Personal Statement?

Your Personal Statement is a document you include in your application, when applying to study a program or degree at a university or college. A college essay, as earlier stated, is an essay you write and include in your application when applying to a chosen college.

From their definitions, it is clear that these two are similar and do not have much difference between them. However, based on my opinion, I will outline 3 differences between them. They are:

Personal StatementCollege Essay
More formal approachLess formal approach
Focuses more on achievements and academic interests relevant to the programFocuses more on getting to know you beyond your achievements
Can be used for other applications; e.g, job applicationStrictly for college application

How to Write a College Essay for International Students

So far, we have explored the meaning of a college essay and have compared it to a personal statement. Now, we will look at how to write a college essay for international students.

Step 1: Make a list of the colleges you are interested in

Before making any application, you have to carry out research, after which you choose the colleges you are interested in. Make a list of them and their requirements. Also, note what attribute each college places priority on.

Step 2: Choose your story

Your college essay is all about your story. You have a lot of experience and being an international student, have a different background than the majority of the applicants. Therefore, choose a story that outlines your uniqueness while delivering information relevant to the essay.

As a form of a guide, you can make a list of the possible experiences that you would want to talk about. It will help you to streamline the options to the most desired one. Remember the priority of each college you are writing an essay for and tailor your story to it.

Step 3: Make an Outline

Outlining how you want your application to be structured helps to guide your writing. It helps you identify sections in the essay that require more information and sections that you need to remove. It helps to give structure to your essay and makes it easy to read and understand.

Step 4: Start Writing

Having gone through steps 1-3, you now have an idea of what you want to write. The next step is to start writing. Every piece of information you wish to include should be written down. At this point, you are not editing what you have written but putting down on paper all you can think of to write. This is your first draft.

Step 5: Re-write your Draft

There is a popular saying that the best form of writing is rewriting. You have written your first draft in step 4. Now, you have to rewrite your draft. Review what you have written. Rewrite some and remove some. Rewrite and re-write until it is clear, concise, and communicates your positive traits while meeting the expectations of the admissions board.

Step 6: Proofread your Essay

Proofreading is a crucial step in every piece of writing. It helps you identify typographical errors, wordy sentences, and unclear sentences. If you are an international student from a non-English speaking country, look for someone who speaks and writes English fluently to help you go through it. Your essay makes no sense to the reader if they can’t understand it. If they can’t understand it, then your efforts are wasted, and the result is no admission for you. 

Step 7: Submission

After writing your essay and going through it to ensure that it is ready, you can submit it. It is the last step, after which you wait to hear back from the school.

These steps will guide you when writing your college essay for your chosen college. We will now look at the tips for writing a college essay; that can captivate the attention of your reader and get you one step ahead to your dream college.

Tips for Writing College Essay for International Students

  1. Start with an attention-grabbing opening statement: a catchy opening statement gets your essay reader hooked, wanting to know more about your story.
  2. Write only the number of words required: the word limit is usually specified. Don’t write more than the word limit given.
  3. Make it unique: write a story that makes you stand out from the rest. You are not the only international student; this means that there are a lot of varying experiences for the admission board to review. Make your story unique and stand out.
  4. When writing your story, include also what the situation taught you. Also, ensure that it is relevant to the essay you are writing. The moral of the story helps your essay reviewer better relate your personality to their values.
  5. Do not write only your major achievements. Little achievements, with great relevance to the essay, can also be written.
  6. If you are an international student from a non-English speaking country; and cannot speak nor write English, look for an English speaker and writer who can help you write it.
  7. Do not write in your local dialect and transcribe. Transcription gives sentences different meanings.
  8. Start early to write your college essay. This gives you time to explore all possible experiences you could write about. It also gives you time to beat the deadline while submitting accurate work.
  9. Remember to show and then tell. You are writing a story, and stories require helping your reader feel how you felt. 
  10. Be specific. Assuming you want to write about a summer vacation you went for. Instead of writing about the whole experience, choose a specific part of it, and write about it. 
  11. After writing your essay, read it aloud to yourself, or have someone read it to you. Hearing what you wrote helps you identify some errors your inner voice wouldn’t have detected. 

For a sample of a college essay, you can visit here.

Conclusion: How to Write College Essay for International Students

Bear in mind that your college essay is about you. The admission board already has details about your academic prowess. I mean, that is what your transcripts and other grade documents are for. Focus on portraying the you that you want the admission board to meet.

In a situation where you feel you do not have the time to write your college essay, or need a professional to help you write it, then you can contact us here and a professional will attend to you.

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Igbojianya Oluchukwu

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